Nobody really wants to be fat. Not really.

Sure, ideas of beauty change, are constructed by society, and even the biggest supermodel will go mad if she compares herself to others in order to assess her professional worth. But you know in your gut if you’re just – I’ll say it – fat. Yes, you do. Oh, yes you do.

This is good to bear in mind. The so called hot people are freaks of nature. Most of us are just beautiful in our own ways.

This is good to bear in mind. The so called hot people are freaks of nature. Most of us are just beautiful in our own ways.

I find it very hard to believe people who tell me they “love” their bodies just the way they are three times a day while hiding them under great big T-Shirts and refusing to go to the beach for shame. I also think we give ourselves a hard time about how we look for all the wrong reasons sometimes. I have no doubt that ideas of beauty are constructed. Yes, they’ve definitely changed. Allow me to illustrate:

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Beautiful. These days she couldn’t get a modeling job – not even as a plus sizer.

Pierre-Auguste_Renoir_072

Beautiful. But today she’d spend her life thinking she had “fat arms”. Which is bull.

blackvenus

Beautiful. In some times, places and cultures, some people still can’t see that. Like John Mayer for instance.

meryl-streep_0

Beautiful. But when you google Meryl Streep the most suggested (i.e. poplular) search phrases are “Meryl Streep Young” and “Meryl Streep hot”.

But the fact that what’s considered “beautiful” in magazines changes doesn’t mean that doesn’t mean being so fat that you can’t walk to your car, or so fat that your knees are caving in, or so fat that you have veins in your ankles by the age of 25, is something anyone chooses.

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There’s a fetish for everything, including dandruff. But I struggle to believe that the woman suffering from obesity pictured here actually wants to look like that, but more importantly it’s hard to believe that she wants to FEEL like that.

This isn't beautiful either.

This isn’t beautiful either.

It’s become fashionable to cater for obesity, to treat it as if it is not a problem, the same way we cater to anorexia as if it isn’t a problem. Now, I know being mean to fat people wouldn’t help at all. But overeating is an addiction. So I’d vote for being nice to people who eat too much, just as I’d vote for being nice to heroin addicts. But I’m not going to pretend I think a giant camel-toe is attractive.

Fact is, getting fat happens slowly. I learned this recently, over the two and a half years I’ve lived in the USA. I arrived here at a healthy weight, initially lost a few kilos because I didn’t have a car, and then slowly but surely went from lean, to padded, to plump, to actually, very nearly medically overweight. I noticed when I went to the clinic for a checkup here in California. The doctor said nothing about my weight gain. I was relieved, until I realised he was just scared of offending me.

What was next? I wondered. Full-on obesity? Fuck that for a joke.

So at the risk of being politically incorrect, I’ve downloaded a calorie counting application for my cell phone and started exercising, eating healthily, and… yes it’s working. In about five weeks, I’ll be able to look at myself in the mirror without wincing. In two months, I should be able to stand how I look in set photographs. The best thing about it actually is that it provides an outlet for my competitive, OCD nature, a focus for my stress about other things. Instead of wondering if I’ll ever make a truly great film, I just get to feel good that I had strawberries and yogurt for breakfast and it only cost me 200 calories. Silly? Yes. Shallow? Oh, most definitely. But sometimes it’s important to be shallow, like when you break your leg, or get maleria, or gain 8 kilograms your body really, really doesn’t need.

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2 Responses to “Nobody really wants to be fat. Not really.”

  1. Tania Says:

    I gained 25 during the course of having 3 children, changing jobs and being very depressed and am now 20 down, 5 ish to go. I still flinch a little when I look in the mirror, but my body and I are coming to terms with each other. Slowly but surely.

  2. shans99 Says:

    I think one of the odd, schizophrenic things about life in the US is that side by side with an increasingly obese population is the absolute terror of being fat. I feel it, and I’m not particularly at risk: a combination of lean genes and a general apathy towards eating mean I’ve never weighed more than 125 pounds. But I’m still terrified of the stories of women who around menopause begin inexorably gaining weight.

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