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I’ve been overweight on a BMI scale for as long as remember, even as a child. So, when I say that I’ve had a lot of words like chubby, fat, and plus size used to describe me over the years, know that it has happened a LOT.
The good news is that whether you use the term “chubby”, “fat”, or something else to describe yourself, the body positivity movement has helped plus-size ladies (and big guys, too!) take back these terms and use them as descriptors, rather than thinking of them in a negative light.
So, when it comes to chubby vs. fat, what’s the difference?
The major difference between being chubby and being fat is basically which body parts have fat on them. People who are chubby have fat around the midsection and may be slim otherwise, while people who are described as fat generally have fat everywhere- their arms, belly, thighs, face, butt, and other areas.
Below, I’ll talk a little more about the difference between being chubby and being fat. I’ll also provide some pictures that show the difference between these body types and talk about why it matters.
What’s the Difference Between Chubby vs Fat?
Often, the word “chubby” is used to describe someone who is round in the tummy area. Kids are often referred to as chubby because there’s some (inaccurate) idea that it is a more polite way to point out that a kid is rounder than their peers.
However, adults may also be referred to as chubby if they are leaner in other areas, with more fat accumulated in the stomach. Sometimes chubby is also used to describe someone who is just a little fat, without actually being overweight. Here’s an example.
By contrast, the word “fat” refers to being rounder all over your body. Someone who is fat has accumulated it in areas like their thighs, stomach, butt, arms, face- pretty much everywhere. Here’s an example of fat (but gorgeous) Instagram influencer, voluptuousleah.
Sometimes, fat is also used to describe someone who is overweight or obese. In this sense, it’s more of a term used to describe weight rather than describing a body type.
There are also a number of other terms used to describe bodies, including curvy and full-figured. Someone who is curvy is often said to have an hourglass figure because they have fat in areas like their bust and hips, but not their waist, while someone who is full-figured is shapely, but still has fat everywhere.
What Does It Mean to Be Fat?
Generally, fat is a word used to describe people who are rounder everywhere. People who are fat usually have it pretty evenly distributed all over their bodies. They have round hips, big arms, fat around the midsection, and bigger butts and thighs.
Of course, there can be variations of this body type, too. Some people have fat in most of these areas, but maybe not all of them. When a person is bigger in areas like their hips and bust, but not their waist, they are often referred to as curvy or plus size instead.
What Does a Fat Body Type Look Like?
There isn’t any one-size-fits-all blueprint when it comes to what a fat body should look like. People are of different heights with different bone structures, plus, even factors like the foods you eat, how active you are or aren’t, and even the amount of sleep you’re getting can change how and where your body stores fat.
With that being said, as a general rule, a fat body type is one that is rounder all over the place. For example, Jack Black’s body type has fluctuated over the many years he’s been in Hollywood. While he looks quite distinguished here, it could also be said that he has a fat body type because of the roundness all over his body.
Do Fat and Full-Figured Mean the Same Thing?
Fat and full-figured can mean the same thing, however, they only mean the same thing if fat is being used to describe a person’s body type. Additionally, full-figured is more likely to describe a woman, while fat is gender-neutral and can describe men or women.
Lizzo, for example, is one of those iconic figures in the plus-size community. She has her own fashion line selling things like high-quality shapewear and sweatsuits. While her body could be described as fat because she has it distributed everywhere, I would also consider her a full-figured woman.
Sometimes, fat is used as a way to describe someone as being overweight or obese. When fat is used to describe a person’s weight rather than their body type, it doesn’t mean the same thing as full-figured.
What Does a Chubby Body Type Look Like?
When it comes to the term “chubby”, it’s often used to describe someone who is just a little bit overweight. Often, people who are chubby are rounder in the tummy area without it being distributed everywhere. However, it can also mean that someone looks a little bit bigger than they usually do.
As an actor, Chris Pratt often gains or loses weight to better fit different roles. Here’s an example of him looking chubby, especially compared to the muscular physique in the first picture.
Here’s another example. While I wouldn’t consider Charlotte Crosby overweight in the slightest (I honestly don’t see anything wrong with the first pic) just because she has some tummy showing at the beach, she does look much more trimmed and toned on the red carpet.
Are Chubby People Considered Plus Size?
Being chubby doesn’t necessarily equate to being plus size. If we’re being honest, the size of the human body fluctuates. Having a little bit of extra tummy fat doesn’t even mean you’re getting chubby- it could just be from normal bloating and weight fluctuation.
That being said, plus size is also a clothing size rather than a specific body type. This means that being a little chubby probably doesn’t mean you are plus size unless you wear sizes 12-14 or bigger in women’s clothing.
Are Chubby People Overweight?
Chubby people can be overweight, however, they aren’t always. Yes, their BMI might be a little higher than the standard for their body, but that doesn’t mean that they are overweight.
As I’ve mentioned in other articles, your BMI isn’t always an accurate reflection of your weight and especially your overall health. There are people who are skinny but still unhealthy. People can also be “skinny fat”, which means that they are thin but don’t have a whole lot of muscle mass.
Chubby Vs Pudgy
Chubby and pudgy are similar in the sense that they both refer to a person who is a little overweight. However, you’re much more likely to hear chubby used in reference to an adult, or someone who is a little overweight.
By contrast, pudgy is often a word used to describe something that we’d normally find cute and fat, like babies or piglets. You don’t often hear adults referred to as pudgy in any type of positive sense of the word.
Additionally, while chubby describes a person’s entire body, pudgy is sometimes used to describe only a body part. For example, it’s often used to describe a child’s cheeks or a baby’s hands. That being said, chubby can also be used in this sense.
Why Does Knowing Your Body Type Matter?
Being aware of your body type really only matters when it comes down to how you feel about your body and how you want to describe it, if you want to put a label on it at all. There is nothing wrong with loving whatever the shape of your body is right at this minute, label or not.
That being said, knowing your body type can be useful for a few reasons. If you’re shopping for plus size clothing online, then knowing how women describe their body types can help when checking out clothing reviews to see how it will fit your body. It also helps with knowing your body shape and what you should wear to look great, too.
For the men and women out there on dating websites, it also might make you feel more confident to describe your body type in your bio. However, there’s also nothing wrong with not labeling it and just putting up a few full body pictures that show all you have to offer.
That aside, some people just label their body because it helps them with their identity and how they feel about themselves. Giving yourself a label as chubby, fat, or plus size doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It can help you learn more about your body type and identify with some of the beautiful/handsome chubby or fat celebrities out there, too.
So, when it comes to chubby vs. fat, what’s the difference? Someone who is chubby might have a little bit of a tummy or be just a little bit heavier than what you’d consider slim. By contrast, someone who has fat likely has it distributed all over their body.
Additionally, chubby is a word only used to describe someone’s body type. Fat, on the other hand, can be used to describe a person’s body type or it can be used as a descriptor word for their actual weight.
Whether you are fat, chubby, plus size, or something else really only matters if it matters to you. Otherwise, there’s nothing wrong with avoiding the label and just being whatever version of yourself that you’re happiest with.