Being fat is a kind of crime, right?
I mean, you owe it to society to be easy on the eye, not deliberately, avoidably unsightly, right? At least so the dudes on the internet who sign up to sites like ‘red pill blue pill’ seem to think.
For a page-turning heart-warming fictional exploration of the topic, you can’t go past Eating Bull, by Carrie Rubin. Carrie’s sweet, kind and obese teenage hero eats because he’s troubled…and because it’s all too easy these days.
I’m not fat, mainly because I inherited lucky genes. Back in the forest, I would’ve died of starvation quicker than chubbier sorts, because I use up my energy fast instead of storing it for the bad times. Mind you, I’m not that naturally into food, and I have three dogs who insist on exercising me. That helps. Jeremy (Eating Bull)’s mum won’t let him walk to school, and brings him home KFC for tea.
So should we feel sorry for Jeremy, or disgusted at the state he’s allowed himself to get into? Let’s just be honest, fat is something we can help. An Ethiopian friend of mine went back home for a visit and when he came back, he said he was startled to realise how fat Aussies are. In Ethiopia, most people (even the ones with slow metabolisms) are skinny. You can’t put nothing in and still get fat, no matter what the status of your thyroid glands. Why is it that people on the road to being obese don’t check out those inflating spare tyres and think, hey, better lay off the fries?
As the owner of a small paunch, I can say that trying to lose weight is dispiritingly difficult. More than that, we’re not psychologically geared for it. Our brains say put it on, not take it off! Then along comes the food industry and makes us an offer we can’t refuse – because it’s too yummy. Add some misery to the mix and at least the chocolate pudding cares about you.
Fat is NOT a moral issue. It’s not wrong to be fat, any more than it’s wrong to snore. But it’s not something to celebrate, either. If you’re seriously chubby (like my son, for instance) you’re not really healthy. That stuff on the outside is matched by stuff on the inside, which you can’t see, clogging up your arteries and making it more likely you’ll get any number of unfortunate conditions.
Being ‘volumptuous’ (as my eight year old used to call it) does say something about us – about what we eat and how much we eat and probably about why we eat. It says something about what we do in your spare time (sit round reading, for example). It doesn’t say anything about how lovable or kind or intelligent or worthwhile we are. There’s a lot more to us than fat or the lack of it.
That said, there’s a definite opportunity here for some nutrition-poor 3rd world country to offer ‘diet-tourism’ to the fatted masses of the West. Win-win, right? And Carrie, if you want back-up for your thesis that the food industry is committing murder by chocolate, try That Sugar Movie https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FxCYSdv3MM