Fat Like Us

The real face of diet culture.

Happy New Year, You're Fat

New Year, new hopes

They started appearing last week; the ads for weight loss. The Weight Watchers New 360 appeared first. Two brochures on the first day, a letter the third, and four emails yesterday. I have also heard from Medifast, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, the local weight loss program at my regional hospital, a weight loss flyer from my church, and a couple from a woman in my neighborhood who is offering a holistic approach to weigh – or so she says. I have also received flyers with special rates for gyms – Gold’s, Fitness Extreme, Lady America Spa, Cross Fit, and Lifetime. All of them state that they are new, improved, will cater to my lifestyle and tastes, be affordable, and effect true change. As a result, I will be happier, wealthier, more energetic, and just, well better than I was last year. I will also be spiritually pure and considered a clean eater.

Last week , the media came calling. I have gotten invitations to interview at media outlets around the globe. It happens each January. Everyone wants to know what it is like for me – the Folklorist of the Fat – to face the same thing each January, i.e. another diet, another exercise program, another diet pill study, Sensa, behavior modification, or whatever is the current new weapon in the battle of obesity. Most interviewers want to know if I attained goal weigh in 2012. No. If I am satisfied with my body. No again. Do I have any advice for the fat and forlorn. Not really. Do I have any New Year’s resolutions? Well, yes.

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I will not join Weight Watcher in 2013 so they can just stop contacting me. Every year, in some strange ritual that my husband calls my annual contributions to the weight loss industry, I join, in descending order the following programs: Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, Medifast, and whatever the local hospital’s got running, And no, I will not have gastric bypass surgery this year. Not that I am opposed to it in any way. In fact, I think it is the only hope for true, and permanent weight loss. Okay, I know several people who have gain weight post-surgery, but not to the point that they weighed before surgery. Yes, I know people who have died post- surgery, and had horrible complications, but I would still do it if I had any kind of decent health insurance.

I will not try to diet at all because I have done it all – except for surgery. I have been all over the eating spectrum - anorexia, bulimia, obesity. Even at my most anorexic, when even the thought of food make me hurl, I was still considered plump. I would just like to have a break. Just not think about what I eat, what I won’t eat, journal every little bit of food, weigh everything, think about everything, and panic every time I am around food – which is all the time it seems. I just want to lay all of those burdens down, and just live, and breathe, and be whatever it is I am. Happy New Year to me.

 

Jean Anspaugh studies the folklore of dieting. She is the author of Fat Like Us.

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