People “choose” to be skinny all the time. At least we’re supposed to think they can. You can’t really watch television without an advertisement enthusiastically telling you that you can make better choices and choose to be thin! And many people, especially women, buy into that. That’s probably because they receive a tremendous amount of societal pressure to be skinny. So what happens if you just decide that you’re going to choose to be obese?
If I’d stayed with my “treatment team,” I’d be as exuberant and fit as one of those “after” models in a Jenny Craig ad, crowing about all the energy I have now and all the cute clothes I can wear. I defiantly remain a “before.” I am 250 pounds. I wear a size 24. Whenever the women around me talk about how great so-and-so looks now that she’s joined that pricey gym or gone under the knife (even if so-and-so is still sort of a bitch), I remember purging and popping pills and eating three well-balanced meals a day; binging and starving and reading “Anna Karenina” on a StairMaster. But none of it left me happier or healthier. Just hungry.
Not being hungry sounds pretty liberating. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t difficulties. She notes that.
If you don’t conform to the norm, you’re expected to sweat yourself into a headline: “How One Woman Went from Obesity to a Bikini Body.” As if the two are mutually exclusive. But if you choose, as I have chosen, to stop the presses, to throw out all the “inspirational” sizes in your closet, that your weekly meals don’t have to be more meticulously planned than the raid that killed Bin Laden, you aren’t just flipping off cultural expectations; you’re upending other people’s hopes for you.
She goes on to explain how, when she’s not starving herself, people decide she is “out of control.” People alternately shout their encouragement when she goes for a walk. They express concern over her body and its size as almost never happens if you are a thin person (even if you are making wildly unhealthy choices). It’s often astonishing to me that people feel comfortable going up to anyone overweight and questioning their eating choices. Choosing to be fat shouldn’t be seen as an affront against them, so much as it should be seen as taking control of your own body – just not in the same way everyone else is.
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