It’s very weird. In online environments where I indentify as a fat chick with a BMI of 37, I get so much more hostility directed at me than I do in the “real world.” To be honest, IRL I get very little weight-related harassment, despite my ginormous marked-for-instant-death BMI. If people guess my weight, they guess waaaay lower than the 212 pounds I actually am. I’ve actually had people say to me, “But you’re not obese.” Rather than revel in this pseudo-thin privilege, however, I take the time to correct them. Typically I then get some kind of shrugging response along the lines of, “Well, I guess you’re different, then.”
Different I am. I’d be “different” even if I wore a size 2. I’m an odd duck, always have been. But I’m sure that’s not what they mean. They mean, “You can get away with not dieting, for some reason I can’t begin to fathom.” Kind of like how Keith Richards gets away with being perpetually dissipated. Either that or I just look so fearsomely garrulous that they don’t dare say anything that’s going to bury them in a mound of untrammeled verbiage (I am from New York, y’know). And I’ve already made it clear to my family that my weight isn’t a subject of negotiation, and they don’t bug me about it anymore as they know that’s the price of “doing business” with me. So all in all, I’d say that once I step away from my computer, I can almost forget that I’m FAAAAT sometimes.
But in the blogosphere? Hooboy. Tell people you’re fat and you think “calories in-calories out” is a bunch of oversimplified horsehockey, and it’s like tossing goldfish in a shark tank. CHOMP. No matter what I say, it always comes down to one thing — “you’re not trying hard enough.” Since separating from my husband several years ago and ceasing to overeat out of habit — and hooking up with a boyfriend who needs relatively little food to be happy — I eat a lot less than I used to, and consume far fewer sweetened drinks. I also exercise a lot more because I walk to work over hilly terrain. I haven’t lost a damn ounce from any of it. Not an ounce.
The haters cannot fathom this. They insist that can’t possibly be true, that anyone who “eats less and moves more” ought to be well on the road to the Exalted Palace of Thinness. Nope. Not everyone. Not me. Maybe it has something to do with the, oh, eighty-bajillion diets I was on starting at age 11 through age 33, or with medication usage, or PCOS, but my weight will. not. budge. My ass simply laughs at me when I attempt to make it smaller. And I’m tempted to believe my ass is right.
So okay, maybe I could “try harder.” Maybe I could eliminate ALL sugar and ALL starch and limit my food intake to lean proteins and nonstarchy vegetables and berries (also known as an Atkins regime, the one thing I have not ever tried), and drink only calorie-free beverages. No beer. No pizza. No sushi (white rice! who do you think you are eating that stuff, fatass?). No chocolate, of course. And none of those Thai rice noodles I love. I’ve had enough of that stuff over the course of a lifetime, right? I know what it tastes like, don’t I? Just like I’ve heard “Layla” enough times and can play it in my head whenever I want to and thus don’t need to own the CD. All I have to do is prepare those lovely munchy salads and chewy steaks and every time I catch myself thinking of Thai noodles, dream of the respect I’ll get for being able to give them up forever. Respect. Aaaaaaaah.
Oh, and exercise? Of course, the haters are right, my measly little 20-minute commute each way, even on hills, isn’t a sufficient workout. I need a couple of hours a day in the gym, slamming it hard, or to take up running. Sure, maybe that would beat up my knees to the point where I wouldn’t even be able to walk anymore, but who wants to see a fatass out on the street anyway? As long as I stay in my private abode, tending to my battered cartilage, the haters can content themselves with the illusion that there’s one less of me in the world.
I want to make people happy. No, seriously, I do. I’m a people-pleaser by nature. Shut up, stay out of the way, do what I’m told even if I choke on it. But I’m also not big on throwing perfectly good time and energy after bad. And there are limits on how much I’m willing to suffer in order to make people like me. There are reasons I haven’t tried an Atkins diet. I don’t want my kidneys to explode, for one thing. I don’t want to have to inhale a damn swimming pool every day in order not to have to have brown diamonds professionally extracted from my rectum. And damn it, I can’t promise that I’ll never eat pizza again. Nor is the latter simply a matter of “slip up and try again”; as anyone who’s dieted can tell you, one slip — just one — equals a binge. I’m not the type to eat more than two slices at a sitting in my nondieted state, but tell me I’m forbidden pizza for the rest of my life, and I’ll jam the whole pie down my throat without even tasting it.
Flogging yourself to lose weight is crazymaking, and I’m insane enough already. If the haters think I’m a bitch on a hoverboard now, they should try me without any carbs. And P.S. — if you believe everything else I tell you about myself, why would you think I would lie to you about my eating and exercise habits, and only about my eating and exercise habits? And P.P.S. — don’t pull out the “denial” thing either. There is no material difference between lying to myself and lying to you. Either way you are calling me a liar, and that is unacceptable. I am perfectly able to understand exactly what I put in my mouth, thank you. I don’t need someone who has never met me to insist s/he knows me and knows my actions better than I do.
Hell, in fact, maybe rigorous honesty on my part is the whole damn problem. Maybe I just need to become a better liar, good enough to convince people online that I really weigh 100 pounds and that I’m just making this argument on behalf of my fat friends who are all really really good good people and don’t deserve all the hateful hateyness. Because frankly, we don’t. We do not owe it to anyone to be in a perpetual state of ketosis and exhaustion. And we will not all be thin just from “eating right and exercising.” And frankly, if someone does want to eat a whole pizza in one gulp? They still don’t deserve hate, just help if they ask for it. Nobody is going to hotwire a stranger’s car, rape anybody, knock over a gas station or plow their vehicle into a schoolbus because of what they weigh or what they eat. Unnahstand?
If I could just stay away from the computer, maybe I’d believe they could.