Thursday, January 03, 2008
New year's revolution 2008
January 1st always brings the dieting ads out - in force.

Ad nauseum.

This week I can't listen to the radio or turn on the TV without some Nutri-Slim-Force-Band-Program shouting at me about how soon summer will be here and how this year I don't want to be fat.

On January 1, Kate over at Shapely Prose posted a brilliant article on what liars fat people are if they can't lose weight. I highly recommend it. From all of the anecdotes she received she posted today's diet tips from the mouths of idiots. I am proud to say that mine landed on the list.

I felt it was time, in honor of everyone trying, once again to force themselves into a body that is based more on InStyle Magazine's airbrushed photos than reality, I would do a repost.

I first posted this almost exactly one year ago.


Most of you have been here. I have been here. The first time when I was 9 years old and about 10 stints after that.

I am talking about sitting in a Weight Watchers meeting. You are surrounded by people (mostly women) of various sizes, led by a perky 50 year old chick who lost 35 pounds and has kept it off for 6 years. She tells the story of how, at her daughter’s bat mitzvah she realized that no one wanted to pick her up on the chair (as is customary) and she went to a meeting the next day and she is living proof that the program works.

She is encouraging the room to clap for everyone who has lost a pound (or more!) this week. Hooray! You are one step closer to perfection, one step closer to being what your (partner, husband, boss, mother, community) wants you to be.

Ultimately, I found out that the applause is not what you think it is.

It starts as maybe something that you wish you felt good about – everyone else is smiling, aren’t they?

Eventually you realize that in fact when they are all clapping for the woman who reached her goal weight, there is a room full of women wailing.

You are sitting among a group of women who cannot understand why they can’t do it, why they are so "weak." A room full of women who wear the same stretch pants and t-shirt every week and exhale deeply to rid themselves of the ounce of air polluting their lungs.

There is a room full of women dying inside from the shame.

There is a room full of women surrounded by before and after pictures not of themselves. Photos of women and men who did IT. Who were able to overcome what seems like insurmountable odds to shed a thick layer of scorned flesh. A room full of women surrounded by sayings in cute fonts with sunshine and flower stickers on them like:

Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels!

A diet is the penalty we pay for exceeding the feed limit.

Eat to live, don’t live to eat!

Which is utter bullshit. I keep thinking that perhaps my mother’s generation was not as psychologically sophisticated and they fell for stupid sayings like this. Then I think, we all want to fall for stupid sayings like this.

Ultimately, it is a room full of women that got fat, not because they’re stupid, not because they like chocolate and not because they have no willpower. It is a room full of women who are doing everything they can to get through each day.

And sometimes that means 15 oreos.

It is a room full of women who are in so much pain that the only way they know how to get up and go to work every day is by eating a box of Ritz on the way in.

It is a room full of women who are not genetically designed to weigh less than they do right now.

It is a room full of women who come home to an empty apartment and all that means in our society and eat a loaf of bread.

It is a room full of women who take care of children, parents and spouses and who have little time to become the woman they thought they would be.

It is a room full of sexually assaulted, abused and harassed women who wish that they could disappear.

It is a room full of women who have been called names their entire lives that have nothing to do with who they are but rather what their thighs might have looked like in middle school.

It is a room full of women who, when they have the audacity to take a parking space, get called a "fat bitch" by the 25 year old guy in the BMW convertible who wanted it.

It is a room full of women who have "such pretty faces."

It is the saddest room I have ever been in in my life.

I am not criticizing Weight Watchers. What I am talking about is my inner shame. What I would never admit to during the hundreds of meetings I attended and beat myself up for years after each of my failures.

I hate knowing that I/we feel this way. And yet, I/we do.


And yet - how do you feel about this photo?

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Blogger Fluffycat said...

I started reading Shapely Prose after you linked to it, and the diet tips from the mouths of idiots made me howl in laughter, but also with recognition.

Thank you for this eloquent post.

Blogger fleecyknits said...

Wow, that's powerful, and beautiful. My personal goal is to feel less neurotic about what I eat which has kept me away from WW. I suspect it would do me more harm than good in the long run.

Blogger Uccellina said...

I found that photo adorable until I noticed what the little girl (you?) was standing on. Then I was very sad.

Have you ever seen Little Britain? There's a wonderful segment set in a "Fat Fighters" meeting. Quote from the meeting leader:

"Dust. Anybody? No? High in fat, low in fat? Dust. Anybody? No? Dust. Anybody? No? Dust. Anybody? No? Dust. Anybody? No? Dust. Anybody? No? Dust. It's actually very low in fat. You can have as much dust as you like."

Blogger Faith said...

Nope - not me - just a random photo found on the nets. But I know that there are little girls listening to their moms worry about their thighs whilst standing on that thing and they stand on it because it's what mommy does.

I haven't seen Little Britain. I suspect I would have howled.

Thanks Fluffy and Fleecy for your recognition and support!


Blogger dizzy von damn! said...

atleast the girl is facing in the opposite direction???

Blogger dale-harriet said...

Have I mentioned lately that I love you? I'm 65, and I see a WHOLE LOT WRONG with a lot of stuff. As a historical reenactor (and former SCAdian) I'm always struck by the fact that, in the Renaissance, the highest virtue of beauty was to be "stout", "rotund", "Rubenesque"-and only the very rich could afford an abundance of food. Today, in omigodits 2008, we have fresh food abundantly available year-round - and the Damned Department of Fashion declares that we should all look undernourished, scrawny, bony and starved. Huh? One of life's little ironies. OH, I lost weight. I now weigh under 100# (but I'm not so *thin* - I'm only 4'11". My "secret"? I got dentures. True story. (BTW I love 'em more than I can say); it's not a "diet" I would recommend. Thing is - none of my friends have the "socially-acceptable concept of Good Looks", and I can tell you they are, without exception, eye-wateringly beautiful. And incidentally, so are YOU (from your pix) and our treasured Crazy Aunt Purl. Now, may I have a hand to help me get off this soapbox? I'm too short to get off it on my own........

Blogger Faith said...

Lately D-H? No. Often? Yes. Thank you for that!


Blogger Susan said...

Faith! I've missed you! I've so enjoyed catching up on all your posts! This one was an excellent post last year, and it's excellent now. It means all sorts of new things to me now that I have a daughter... it's kind of terrifying. I'm simply thrilled with her legs as they get chubbier and chubbier, and yet as I squeal over how healthy she is, I wonder if I should be using different words, because one day she'll know the negative connotation that word has. It would break my heart to hear her disparage herself, because to me she's the most beautiful creature I've ever seen.

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