Diets Don’t Work Therefore You Must Diet

This cartoon, drawn by Becky Hawkins, is a straightforward adaptation of a Michael Hobbes tweet (with Michael’s kind permission).

Michael, for those who don’t know, is a popular podcaster, whose three podcasts (past and present) are You’re Wrong About (a history podcast), If Books Could Kill (about “The airport bestsellers that captured our hearts and ruined our minds”), and Maintenance Phase, a really fun fat acceptance podcast that focuses on debunking anti-fat nonsense. He also writes a great Twitter feed that drives a certain brand of centrist absolutely batshit.

I pretty much imagined panel two as just the doctor talking at the reader. Becky, understandably, thought that would be a bit boring to draw and so decided to do a collage instead. The guiding principle of this collage isn’t “what possible causes of weight gain do Barry and Becky think are the most important” so much as it is “what possible causes of weight gain can Barry and Becky even think of a visual icon for.”

For instance, I personally have doubts about if “food deserts” actually have any connection to weight gain (although they’re still bad for other reasons). But a lot of credentialed experts think there might be something there, so it’s in character for our doctor character to say that, and most importantly, we were able to think of a visual gag for it

I also had fun thinking about what makes a caricature of Freud read as Freud. So away went a sofa and a notepad, and in came a cigar and a triangle beard.

The pamphlet in panel three is 100% Becky, but I really enjoy it.

My favorite art in this cartoon is probably panel four, just because that domestic scene Becky drew is so wholesome and cute. I suspect it’s inspired by Becky’s own life; I know that Becky and her extremely cute partner Naomi really love cooking together.

Becky writes:

This is the first cartoon I’ve drawn entirely in Clip Studio Paint! It’s a big step for me. I don’t like learning new computer programs, but this one has too many comics-specific time-saving art-improving features for me to continue sleeping on it. How much do I dislike learning new computer programs? I once tried a free 90-day Clip Studio Paint trial, couldn’t figure out how to log into the program, and let the entire 90 days run out without opening the dang thing. I finally took an 8-week Zoom class where local cartoonist Jonathan Hill talked a bunch of students through all the basic features of Clip Studio Paint verrry slowly. It was exactly what I needed. I’m excited for one of my ongoing comics gigs to be all-digital!

Barry offered this script to me because he knows I’m a fan of Michael Hobbes. I actually did fanart when he was on You’re Wrong About:


This cartoon has six panels.

Panel 1

A doctor (surgical scrubs, white lab coat, standing in a standard doctor’s examination room and holding a manila folder filled with papers) talks directly to us. He is neatly groomed and very likable and trustworthy looking, with a very friendly expression.

DOCTOR: The way public health experts think about weight is changing! Here’s some things we now all accept:


Although the doctor’s monologue continues, we don’t see him in this panel; instead we see a collage. There’s a desert with a road sign saying “Next Food 1200 Miles”; a DNA helix; a prescription pill bottle with “side effects may include weight gain” on the label; Sigmund Freud, reading a notepad and holding a cigar; and a cupcake.

DOCTOR: People are fat for a wide variety of reasons.


The doctor is holding a pamphlet out to us (which due to foreshortening takes up most of the panel). The pamphlet cover says “BMI: How do YOU compare to a small group of white male Europeans 200 years ago?”

DOCTOR: BMI is an imperfect measure of health.


A couple of happy-looking fat people are cooking; in the foreground, a woman chops onions, while in the background we can see a man flipping the stir-fry in a frying pan like a pancake. In the background, we can see the Doctor on a tablet screen on a shelf.

DOCTOR: Health markers like blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol can be improved without weight loss.


A close-up of the tablet, with the Doctor talking on the screen, now with a concerned expression.

DOCTOR: The vast majority of diets fail because people regain weight. Losing and regaining over and over can harm your health.

DOCTOR: And most importantly…


In a contrast to how calm the Doctor has been up to now, he’s now screaming in panic and waving his hands like Kermit the Frog.


Diets Don’t Work Therefore You Must Diet | Patreon

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