5 Tips for the ‘Fat Backpacker’

Published by Scout on

Being fat is never a comfortable situation. If you say you’re trying to lose weight, you’re judged every time you eat more than a meager salad. If you say you’re wholly confident in your weight, you’re judged for being careless about your body.

So what do you do?

Firstly, I don’t skirt around my words when talking about stuff like this. I don’t use the words curvy, plus-sized, ample-bodied. Fat, I say fat. Currently, I am fat. If you’re reading this, you may well also be fat. It’s okay, no judgement. So this advice is as much for me as it is for anyone else.

1. Lose weight

Sorry. I’m not about to recommend that you embrace your unhealthy body on purpose because it’s easier than being a little thinner!

If you’re truly happy in your body and have absolutely no confidence or health issues whatsoever, then… well, you wouldn’t be reading this article. So I am going to assume you’re secretly a bit conscious about it. I won’t tell anyone, don’t worry.

Losing weight benefits your mental health, body and even your budget. It’s not about simply eating less, it’s about eating right. People lose weight when they travel because they eat way less carbohydrates, grain-based foods and general sugary/savory snacks. They also tend to drink more plain water, which is the key ingredient to weight loss, hands down.

It’s simply easier, and every time I travel I lose weight, every time I am home for years at a time it piles on, because I eat from boredom.

Losing weight before you go will help you feel better, especially if you’re going to a hot, humid country. Chub-rub is real, and if your skin is anything like mine, it hurts a lot. It’s hard, but it’s possible. I am in this process myself right now, and it’s nice to see some weight loss in my face, if nowhere else.

2. Expect comments. A lot of comments.

If you’re going to places like Eastern Europe or South East Asia, where the populous is typically thin, you’re going to be quite the commodity.

A friend of mine – a six foot three, 364lb hulk of a man was once approached by a group of Japanese tourists. They wanted a photo with him because he was so hilariously gargantuan to them, they just had to show everyone at home.

It really upset him, and worse, he had to shout and shove his hand right in their faces to stop before they got the message.

If you’re wondering how to deal with this, see tip number 1: lose weight.

3. Prepare for the chub-rub before you go

Even if you’re not fat, you might experience chub-rub. Chafing. Sweat rash. Swamp-ass. Whatever you choose to call it in whatever part of your body you find it. It happens to us all.

In massively humid countries, you’re going to step off that air-conditioned plane, and feel like you’re turning into Slimer from Ghostbusters. Using a good deodorant stick or something like Body Glide is a must for those of us not blessed with a thigh gap you can park a bus in.

(By the way, Body Glide do a ‘For Her’ version that’s almost £5 more expensive. Just get the unisex one they’re almost exactly the same.)

4. Pick your bras carefully

This one goes alongside the chub-rub. Underboob sweat is only perpetuated by a bad bra, and can leave you feeling nothing short of itchy and in agony, not to mention you’ll have a nasty thick rash for days on end.

Opting for a non-underwire bra, compression bra or even a sports bra made of good materials is a great way to feel supported whilst also not sweating yourself to an early grave. And for the love of god do not sleep in your bra in hot countries!

By all means, reserve that sexy push up for your nights out, but in the day, function over fashion prevails!

Sweat rash can actually bleed if it gets bad enough, and boob skin is very thin, so take care of yourselves! The last thing you want is to get an infection.

5. At some point you have to face your flab

Even if you’re planning on losing weight, you may not be able to lose it all before you go, and at some point – especially in hot climates – trying to cover up every inch that you’re embarrassed about is going to become a chore.

Eventually, you’re going to need a bathing suit, or at least a tank top and shorts. You’re going to have to show those wobbly bits that you obsessively hide back home.

Whilst I’m not suggesting you put on a string bikini and frolic down the beach, take off that t-shirt. Opt for the shorter skirt on hotter days. You can always wear a kaftan (a wonderful way to wear baggy clothing whilst still looking fabulous) if you want to cover without the heat build-up.


Scout is a writer, artist and traveler hailing from the West Midlands in the UK. She runs this blog, a webcomic and a Twitch stream. She also likes bad shark movies and salted caramel.

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