Colombian Proverb: “That Which Doesn’t Kill You, Makes You Fat”


original language: “lo que no mata, en gorda.”

direct translation: That which no kills you, fattens

smooth translation: “That which doesn’t kill you, will make you fatter.”


“So kids can be messy. This is the equivalent of the five second rule when you’d drop food on the floor. Grandma would say, ‘lo que no mata, en gorda.’ She would say that to us anytime we dropped food on the floor.”

Informant Background:

My informant is 58, from Medellin, Colombia. He now resides in San Diego. His first language is Spanish.

My Analysis:

In Colombian culture, there is a strange paradox for women in particular regarding family and eating habits. My grandmas and aunts and mother will cook food and pressure my sisters and I to eat it all, but we can’t eat too much because they don’t want us to get fat. In Spanish, it is also common to nickname children based off their physical appearance. For example, I have always been called “flaca”, but have cousins who are still called “gordita” despite them dropping childhood weight. This funny proverb nods to the relationship between Colombian people (mainly women) and food.