Sunday, January 11, 2009
Formerly Fat People Should Shut Up
It's popular to believe that when you get thinner, your life gets easier. So many companies insist that it's true in order to get you to buy their chocolate-coated ephedra tablets or use their acai enema kit. There is always the short-skirted lady gushing about how her husband just can't keep his hands off of her. "Thin is happy," she says as she runs down the beach in her bikini, free from the 300 pounds of flab she used to carry.
I'm not buying it. And no one else should either.
First of all, there is no way that you ever go from 300 pounds to 120 without ending up with a ton of stretch mark scars. Bitch, please. You aren't ever gonna wear that bikini without a lot of cosmetic surgery up and down your midsection, all over your upper arms, and down the backs of those legs. Just because you lose several hundred pounds of fat doesn't mean that your body goes along with the idea, and suddenly you look like Kelly Kapowski. Don't believe me? Deflate a balloon sometime and try to refill it. Also, quit running because we all know those knees are still aching from carrying around so much weight for so long.
Secondly, if your husband was uninterested when you were heavier, he's a dick anyway. When menopause hits, don't be surprised if you find him frequenting local pep rallies with a video camera.
All formerly fat people have a story. A stolen box of cupcakes frantically eaten in a closet. Other children throwing sticks. Being picked last at dodgeball. Sobbing to Richard Simmons on national television. The story is really always the same. "I was fat. I'm thin now. Therefore, I'm better." But is that really true?
I can tell you that it's not. Why? Because I've been on more miracle diets than the cyborg who replaced Oprah Winfrey in 1999.
My first big diet was at the age of 11, when I discovered that I had broken the 100-pound mark. I decided to get out my mother's 1980s aerobic tapes. Now, everyone knows that aerobics tapes from the 80s were really just softcore porn. So, rather than losing any weight, I learned how to lick my lips seductively while repeatedly shrugging my shoulders.
I spent the next 18 years trying to be thinner, fighting the battle of acceptance, being self-righteous when I succeeded, and kicking myself when I failed.
Being fat is hard. And I'm not talking about, "I was so thin in high school. Then, I had a baby and gained 20 pounds! Oh, my god, I'm so fat!" I'm talking about solid mass that starts during the awkward stage of puberty and stays with you until you are well into adulthood.
I remember this girl in college who was gorgeous, and perfect, and thin, and how she told me one time that the meanest thing a guy had ever said to her was how one of her scars was ugly. And I thought, "Bitch, you don't know from mean comments." When you're fat, everyone feels the need to point it out to you. Guys you're interested in, friends, teenage boys on a school trip. And you try to pretend you don't care, but it gets in there anyway and cuts at you until the day you die. (Or so I suspect.)
You find yourself trying to be one of those, "I like myself!" kinds of people, who knows exactly what size Marilyn Monroe was at her biggest and throws out that nugget of information when a supermodel is on TV.
And when you lose weight, it's equally hard because total strangers think you want to talk about it. It's like going up to a pregnant lady and asking her how the sex was. NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS, ASSHOLE! But you find yourself feeling slightly flattered anyway because it's nicer to hear that than some assfaced jerkwad call you "Wide Load" or something equally unoriginal. It makes me feel ashamed. Because I was fat. Because it has taken me so long to accept myself as just a person and not a fat person. And because I allowed people like Dr. Atkins, Oprah, and Valerie Bertenelli to make money on my insecurities for 18 years, when I could have been eating chocolate cake.
In short, no, I have no answers, or dieting tips, or any pairs of extra large pants to stand in while I hold the waistband out in front of me. I'm just a person who swims a few times a week and eats things. And right now, I want some candy. Oprah will just have to deal with that.