That fury has nothing to do with the fact that I am potentially making damaging decisions to my health. I could try to say it is by remarking that I “try to eat healthy.” I certainly say that, and when I say that I mean “No, I cannot have dinner, I am counting out precisely 1,200 calories each day.”
Because I do plenty of things that are not necessarily great for my body. I drink. I wear high heels. I drink a ton of caffeine (really, I could have an IV of Zero Calorie Monster plugged directly into my veins). I don’t get enough sleep. I am unlikely to change any of these things. No one ever points out to me that these things are unhealthy. Ever. You can guzzle four Zero Calorie Monsters at your desk and it’s seen as some kind of charming, Andy Warhol-ish eccentricity. God help me if I ate 4 donuts at my desk. People would stop by to ask if I was either 1) okay or 2) if I knew how many calories were in those. Here is a graphic to illustrate how that works (the Harvard guy had slides. This is my attempt at a slide).
Moreover, I have no romantic notions that, if I eat enough bran muffins, I will be so healthy that I will never die. I will die regardless. It will likely be unpleasant, but I am not overly troubled by this, so long as death continues to reside only on the most distant horizon.
No, the idea of gaining weight does not trouble me because I think it will shorten my life expectancy.
It does trouble me to think that I am damaging my short term, immediate prospects. I realize that the skinnier I am, the nicer people are to me. As long as I keep my weight under a certain amount, I know strangers will compliment me in the street. Every time I go into a dress shop salespeople will tell me that I have a good body. Doctors will not only serve me, they will praise me for being so fit. In exchange for these things, you accept that you will be a little bit hungry most of the time.
And these social benefits would be exist whether I ate the healthiest diet in the world or lived entirely off of one Snicker’s bar a day. It has nothing to do with health.
So, let’s please stop pretending that we are only criticizing overweight people because we want what is best for them. If this were true we’d also be telling everyone who said that they “were tired” that it was really important to get a good 8 hours of sleep. We’d do that instead of trying to one-up them by saying “you think you’re tired? I haven’t slept since May. Horrible hallucinations have begun to set in but I’m here, right!? I’m here! Am I… here?”
So. Let us say, for argument’s sake, that we do not discriminate, and make fun of, and deride the overweight because we are concerned with people being their healthiest selves at all times.