Friends. They're great, aren't they? Whenever you've got a problem, they're (usually) going to help you, because that's what friends are for.
Remember those 80s movies where a young group of friends would go on an adventure? Those were great fun. You've got classics like Stand By Me and The Goonies which showed everyone that friends were fantastic. And to rub it in, you had token characters that fit obvious stereotypes.
"That's only in fiction," you say. "Nobody seriously expects this."
I was (and still sort of am) that token fat guy.
Whenever I'd go around with my group of friends, self-deprecation or fat jokes were expected of me, as if some arbitrary quota loomed over my head, demanding to be filled before I'd be recognized as a human being.
I'd go through it; they're my friends, right? I've got thick skin (and with how overweight I was, thick flab! Wait, that's self-deprecation... old habits die hard?) and though I could tolerate it, it got old after a point.
The same jokes. Day after day. Hanging out with friends had become an exercise of tedium. We'd do our routine and then we'd be able to actually do other things.
I'm sad to say that I miss these jokes. As the pounds shed throughout the year, some friends grew uncomfortable around me.
Using my weight as a source of jokes was something which bonded them to me, the fact they couldn't target my weight because I wasn't the biggest among them anymore led to them having no idea how to interact with me.
It's like finding out a terrible secret about someone and feeling awkward around them, the difference being that my "secret" was eating less. Without the token fat guy in the group, they moved the fat jokes onto my other friend who weighs more than I do now, though his skin isn't nearly as thick and it hurt the entire group dynamic.
I'm not condemning my friends; they were living with an expectation that I had set. If I hadn't tolerated it, if I hadn't been self-deprecating, perhaps they'd have broken away from the idea that everyone must abide by 1980 pre-teen token characters.
We're all human beings and people change, you can't expect to make a puzzle with pieces that constantly change shape (quite literally in my case!)
For those who'd like references to stereotypical "fat kid" stereotypes, I'd recommend the following movies: The Goonies, a classic which helped propagate the belief that every "fat kid" must truffle shuffle. Heavy Weights, a movie built entirely from the premise that everyone is the "fat kid". Finally, I'd recommend The Monster Squad which has a character who's simply known as "fat kid".