The game was up when I put on a pair of size 14 jodhpurs at the country store and they almost fit me. ‘No no no no no no no!’ I said, backing away from the mirror. The builder boyfriend looked over from where he was taking the blonde wig off a mannequin and putting it on his head in an attempt to entertain the other customers, who were not laughing at all. He is the worst shopping companion.
I looked back at myself in the mirror. Never have I been bigger than a 10 and now it seems I have passed from 10 to 14 without even pausing at 12 and without so much as a word from my nearest and dearest.
The problem is that our society is now so ‘body positive’ that when I balloon in the space of one wet, miserable winter, the reaction of my friends and family is to say nothing.
I squeezed myself into the 12, to dubious looks from the sales assistant, then slapped them down on the counter. ‘You’ve done the right thing. If you get the bigger ones you’ll only grow into them and where does it stop?’ said the BB, finally engaging with the problem, but only because he couldn’t get a laugh out of the customers. ‘This lot, eh? Talk about miserable,’ he moaned, putting the wig back on the mannequin.
That evening, I ran round the woods with the dogs before eating a small bunch of grapes for dinner. ‘It’s only seasonal. You’ll drop off,’ said the BB, who treats my body issues as though I were a horse. I’m not so sure.
Every winter for the past few years I have got bigger and every summer I almost shed the weight. But that means I’m gaining incrementally.
And here’s the thing. I don’t want to. Oh, it’s all very well saying it’s positive to be fat if you’re the kind of large lady who looks fabulous. I have fuller-figured girlfriends who are so beautiful I am eaten up with envy at how good they look.
But what if I look and feel absolutely hideous carrying two extra stone?
‘Ha ha, sausage legs,’ said the BB, looking down at my pink blotchy shins poking out of tight, black Lycra joggers. And that night, as I nestled up to him in bed, he screamed: ‘Get off me, you’ve done a disc in my back, you great lump!’ This is more like it, I suppose. A bit of good old-fashioned shaming.
I’m sure millions of larger women are empowered. And I believe them when they say they are large naturally. But I get big when I stuff my face with cakes and biscuits.
And seeing as how I still owned my body the last time I checked, can I not just be honest and say how I feel about it?
I feel awful, like I need to blooming well stop stuffing my face. Does that put me on the hit list of the woke mob, and the growing movement towards making fat a protected characteristic?
I think it does. I think that if you start acquiring fat, and become a new entrant to the fat world, the fat lobby feel they have some sort of stake in your fat, or control over how you talk about it, which is all the more reason for me to lose weight before they stamp ‘Property of the Body Positive’ on my burgeoning behind.
I was quite frightened by a paper by 100 health professionals published to mark World Obesity Day. (One in four people in the UK are obese, so there’s a Day now.)
This paper said that calling overweight people fat is blocking the fight against the obesity epidemic. You can say that sentence as many times as you want, it won’t make any sense. So I’m saving you the trouble. Don’t bother. I’ve tried it. I read it 50 times and the result was the same.
These experts, led by a chap from King’s College, said that the ‘social exclusion’ faced by people with obesity is similar to that of those with the plague, HIV and cholera.
Do they mean you can catch weight gain? If so, I’ve caught it off the BB, who eats his way through winter and now he’s made me do it.
It is a myth, they said, that obesity is only caused by people’s food choices and behaviours because it is also a result of genetics and environment.
Yes, in my case an environment full of cakes and biscuits.
Anyway, these experts are going to tackle obesity with a Pledge to Eradicate Weight Stigma, all capped up.
I think it’s a really interesting plan. Meanwhile, as a control experiment I’m going to have a go at eating less and moving more./>
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