"Hi, I'm Jared Fogel, and this is the pant size I used to wear before I went on my all-Subway sandwiches diet."
A character that used to be fat, but now isn't.
I owe it to my high school self. I never let her eat.
Sometimes, part of a character's personality is driven by the fact that they were once overweight. Having a thin character revealed to have once been fat can tell you plenty about them. It can tell you that they have a past they aren't proud of and that they care enough about their health and appearance to do something about it. It also shows that the character has the strength and will power to take control of their life and get what they want, that they have self-discipline and motivation.
Be that as it may, a formerly fat background is not always all sunshine and rainbows. It can also imply a lot of self loathing and damaged self esteem, too. Many times, their slim-down can be a symptom of a desperate need to be accepted by society and an unhealthy dependence on what others think of them. The positive and negative attitudes are not mutually exclusive either, leading to many Formerly Fat individuals to have complicated self-images.
Whenever a celebrity loses weight, expect an Internet Backdraft
over whether they looked better before or after, with plenty of size-shaming getting tossed in both directions.
For the inverse of this trope, see Formerly Fit
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Anime & Manga
- Fatman's teenaged little sister in the Ratman manga is conventionally slender now, thanks to years of dieting. She does not like it when her big brother shows people pictures of her as a chubby child. (Fatman is the "jolly" type who doesn't understand why she's so ashamed of her past.)
- Overweight Reika from Ginga E Kickoff is accepted in a soccer team mainly because they need one more player to be legal for an upcoming tournament. She eventually becomes more fit.
- Mizuki Himeji from Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu.
- Haruka Nishiharu from Girls Saurus.
- Hinata Shintani from Maid-Sama! was really fat when he was a kid and was bullied because of that. His feelings for Misaki stems from her protecting him from these bullies and he moved to his grandparents' in the country and he slims down by eating their vegetables.
- Otohime Ryugu in Okami-San was called "turtle girl" in her youth due to her chubbiness until Taro encouraged her to slim down.
- In Fairy Tail, Reedus Jonah after the time skip (and likely before Makarov expanded his belly to aid in his magic) is quite slender. In contrast, Droy gets much fatter.
- Alvida in One Piece. Sometime between losing to Luffy and joining Buggy's crew, she ate the Slip-Slip Fruit and slimmed down considerably.
- The male protagonist of Masamune Kun No Revenge was once mocked and nicknamed "Piggy" for his weight by the girl he confessed to. Out of revenge, he eventually got himself thinner, a new surname and, taking advantage of the fact she doesn't recognize him, tried to get her to fall in love with him just to dump her.
- Takefumi Tonami from Kare Kano was this as a child and was heavily bullied, and was somehow protected by Tsubaki, who in turn would bully him, and he gets VERY annoyed at her because she was asked to by the teachers, as he thought she did it willingly. Years later, he comes back as a slimmer, more handsome boy to use his charms against her, but she doesn't recognize it at first. They fall for real later in the series.
- In Get Smart, during the flight to Russia, Smart proudly shows an old picture of himself to Agent 99, wherein he weighs much, much more than he does at the time. In fact, when speaking to the Chief, earlier we see a Flashback Cut wherein he exercises rigorously so he can have the proper shape to be a CONTROL employee. In return for Smart showing his photo, 99 produces a photo showing her Magic Plastic Surgery.
- In Drag Me to Hell, Christine was an overweight, poor country girl in her youth. She's dropped the weight, lost her accent, and is dedicated to climbing the social ladder. Her boyfriend is from an elite, wealthy family that still makes her feel inadequate. This is what motivates her to jockey for a promotion by refusing the gypsy woman's loan extension.
- Matilda from Zoolander has a grudge against models because her obsession with body image made her bulimic, and A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read.
- The Eddie Murphy version of The Nutty Professor turns into a thin Buddy Love.
- At the end of Austin Powers in Goldmember, Fat Bastard isn't fat anymore, because he went on the Subway diet. However he doesn't look that much better since he now has a lot of loose hanging skin.
- Ryan Reynolds' character in the film Just Friends was really obese in high school.
- Debbie Salt in Scream 2 used to weigh 60 more pounds. Back when she was Mrs. Loomis. That's how Gale didn't recognize her.
- Joan Cusack's character in In & Out is stated to have lost a ton of weight before the movie started.
- Alyson Hannigan in Date Movie.
- Han Solo Berger (Andy Samberg) in That's My Boy. He still has to take insulin to treat his diabetes though (since his dad let him eat cake and lollipops for breakfast as a kid).
- Ira in Funny People has recently dropped a lot of weight. His roommates mention it a few times and say he's less funny and looks weird because of it. This is some Reality Subtext, as Seth Rogen had lost weight to play The Green Hornet.
- Ben Stiller's character in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. He reverts back at the end of the movie.
- Matt in 13 Going on 30. We meet the chubby version first in A Minor Kidroduction. It's lampshaded when he's reunited with the high school Alpha Bitch, "wow, you lost all that baby fat".
- Alluded to in 2012. Adrian says that every time he finished a book, his father would give him an ice cream cone. Then adds "I was a fat kid".
- Anita from Anita Blake Vampire Hunter mentions having been fat in middle school.
- Ben Hanscom of Stephen King's IT was fat as a kid, but ended up slimming down as an adult by the time that he and the Loser's Club meet up again to battle It.
- Robin Wilson of Sweet Valley High, always referred to as "formerly fat Robin" in the livejournal snark community 1bruce1.
- Fat Charlie Nancy of Anansi Boys, who was only fat for just long enough to acquire the nickname. It stuck. According to himself, he wasn't particularly fat either, he just had a few years where he ate a bit too much and didn't get quite enough exercise.
- Marcy Lewis is the protagonist of There's a Bat in Bunk Five, by Paula Danziger. It's the sequel to The Cat Ate My Gymsuit. In the first novel, Marcy is overweight (and hates gym) but she slims down and finds a boyfriend in the second novel.
- Martha Abbott in Zilpha Keatley Snyder's The Changeling begins as "a little fat for a seven-year-old" and is labeled "the quiet fat one" by her classmates. By the time she enters high school, she's slimmed down and turned into Everyone Loves Blondes (intelligent edition) and is referred to as "the cool blonde who's in all the school plays."
Live Action TV
- This happens to the male supporting actors during the course of the music video for Olivia Newton-John's "Physical".
- Late in ECW's lifespan, Brian Heffron, better known as The Blue Meanie, lost over 100 lbs and obtained porn star Jasmine St. Claire as a valet. Of course, he also became a heel who looked down on the audience for staying fat instead of losing weight and hooking up with a porn star like he did.
- During her days as a wrestler, Bull Nakano followed the same diet that sumo wrestlers do and sported a very stout physique. Around the turn of the century she retired, switched over to golf, lost a lot of weight and turned out to be very pretty underneath Bull Nakano's punk-inspired outfit and hairstyle.
- If pressed on the issue, Jessie Kaye will tell you this is one of the reasons she hates girly girls and divas, she still resents everything "they" got that she did not when she was fat.
- Betsy Ruth debuted in TNA as Big Beautiful Woman Rosie Lotta Love but was quickly released. In 2014 she revealed her massive weight loss as a result of training in Japan.
- In Persona 4, Ai Ebihara, the Moon Social Link. Excessive bullying and a sudden upgrade in her family's wealth led her to shed all of it in an effort to abandon her past life.
- Persona 2: Innocent Sin reveals this to the be past of Eikichi Mishina, who completely changed his image after frequent bullying culminated in a thug pulling his pants down in front of the girl he liked. He is now extremely attractive and popular and nobody at his current school realizes his past.
- Hanae of Red String started with a formerly fat background. As the story has progressed, she's put a lot of the weight back on. She puts a lot of her self worth on being pretty in other people's opinions. Her mother's vision of her as a girlie princess takes a huge toll on her.
- Raven of Questionable Content was mentioned to have been a bit on the heavy side before the comic started. She's a bit sensitive about it, so no one brings it up.
- Sharon of General Protection Fault used to be much heavier than she is. Some harsh comments made to the obese Dexter regarding his weight cause him to nearly turn down a full-time position at GPF, but Sharon was motivated by concern for him and apologizes.
- Ritz of Boxer Hockey.
- The Nostalgia Chick was once a fat, wangsty Emo Teen who listened to The Phantom of the Opera because he knew her pain.
- Now Lean and Mean, Ask That Guy with the Glasses used to be the size of a bulldozer and felt dead inside.
- One of the 4-koma comics on Gaia Online has Liam blackmailing athletic Valley Girl Sasha with high-school yearbook photos of her as an obese, terribly-dressed teenager.
- Danny from Bravest Warriors. It was a very, very large contributing factor to his extremely terrible (and hilarious) childhood.
- Discussed and deconstructed mercilessly in the We Hate Movies review of Madhouse, where the hosts all denounce the cruelty of casting a fat child actor just to be a subject of mockery in a flashback sequence.
Andrew Jupin: "Oh, great! What am I doing?" "You're being made fun of by an entire neighborhood of children for being overweight." "...What?"
Chris Cabin: "We're going to pretend that you're a float. In a parade."
Eric Szyszka: "And you, uh... you get paid in food, right?"
Chris Cabin: Cake. Paid in cake.
Andrew Jupin: "Patrick, you're okay with getting paid in cake, right, honey?"
Eric Szyszka: "Don't worry, Patrick - 3 slices of cake, SAG minimum."
Andrew Jupin: "Patrick, we're going to need you to take off that baggy button-down shirt and put on this skin-tight polo."
Eric Szyszka: With horizontal stripes?
He - he looks like Jerry O'Connell in Stand by Me
Chris Cabin: "The bottom of your stomach has to be in 85% of this footage."
Andrew Jupin: (Laughing) That poor fucking kid!
- Amy Wong from Futurama was very fat as a child; even her parents tease her mercilessly about it. In one episode, the main characters all revert to their childhood forms, and Amy, again overweight, becomes the butt of all her parents' childish jokes.
- Heather from Total Drama Island has been stated to have been a fat, unpopular, brace-faced dork in middle school. It's possible that her experiences with bullying contributed to her cutthroat personality.
- Connie Benge on Doug used to be chubby, but in later seasons it's revealed she lost a lot of weight at summer camp.
- Unussually, the character started out chubby, but was retooled to have lost it in the Disney spin-off.
- Nazz from Ed, Edd n Eddy, who's the resident hottie, was revealed to be quite◊ heavy when she was younger.
- In Producing Parker, various Flashbacks and Embarrassing Old Photos show Parker as fat from infancy to her teens.
- In Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm, Jax reveals to Sonya that he used to be the fattest kid in his school.
- Marsh Merriweather from High School USA!.
- On The Cleveland Show, Cleveland feels unappreciated by Donna, and winds up reconnecting to an old high school friend who used to have a crush on him. Donna is more amused than threatened, until she meets old "Fatty Patty" and realizes she now looks like a supermodel. Unfortunately for Cleveland, though, Patty turns out to be a Stalker with a Test Tube; Donna eventually gets Patty to relent by convincing her to "stop thinking like a fat girl" and realize she could get a better man for real. (Yeah, Donna isn't very nice in this episode.)
- Minnie Mouse, of all people, was revealed to be formerly overweight in the Paul Rudish Mickey Mouse short Doggone Biscuits, when she attempts to slim down an accidentally fattened Pluto by locking him in the steam room, stating that it worked for her while the camera pans out to show a picture of Minnie being morbidly obese.