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October 26, 2010

on weight.



Per Usual www.kiribiegoestohollywood. steered me in the direction of an article that strikes a sincere chord within me. Thank you Maura Kelly for apologizing to those you offended. But wouldn't the world just be a better place if we worried about weight for health reasons only. I'm so vain that if I feel like I'm having a fat day I feel tortured by going out in public. I obsess over being too fat at 5'9" - I wear a size 27 or 28 depending on the brand of jeans. My work skirts are all size 6. And your article just made me feel overweight. Thank you for apologizing, but you are still a bully. I give you kudos that you were able to write a piece that is entertaining, but being able to bore the backlash will be the true test of your character. And shame on Marie Claire for cheering for the girls, giving us style tips and pushing us to dress thiner and for our figure - and then throw this in our face. 
I work out 4-5 times a week, eat like a gerbel, and still find my self resistant to believing that I'm not fat. I am a healthy size and so f'in lucky to be. I don't have a thyroid disorder that pegs my body with unwanted and unridable weight. I have legs and arms that allow me to push my body to limits. Yet - a lot of the people you wrote about don't. You wrote this article or girls like me and girls like Kirbie (http://www.kirbiegoestohollywood.com/2010/10/open-letter-to-marie-claire.html). Girls in their 20's, girls who have good jobs, that would agree with you on something like this. Except we don't. In fact, compared to you our moral standards kick your ass. Have you ever had a friend that had an eating disorder, have you? How do you know it's preferable to obesity. You make me want to scream and to be mean to you - because even though obsesity can sometimes be alarming - not all of us out there are a size two. What about a leggy size 6 with a chest that she hates? I want to get what you're saying, but I also want you to know that you should look in the mirror. When I look in mine I don't see perfection - and neither should you. Which is why you should off down off your high horse and retract this whole damn thing.
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The other day, my editor asked me, "Do you really think people feel uncomfortable when they see overweight people making out on television?"
Because I can be kind of clueless — I'm not much of a TV person — I had no idea what she was talking about, so she steered me to this CNN article, about the CBS sitcomMike & Molly. As CNN explains, "the show centers around a couple who meet at an Overeaters Anonymous group [and] has drawn complaints for its abundance of fat jokes [as well as] cries from some viewers who aren't comfortable watching intimacy between two plus-sized actors."
My initial response was: Hmm, being overweight is one thing — those people are downright obese!And while I think our country's obsession with physical perfection is unhealthy, I also think it's at least equally crazy, albeit in the other direction, to be implicitly promoting obesity! Yes, anorexia is sick, but at least some slim models are simply naturally skinny. No one who is as fat as Mike and Molly can be healthy. And obesity is costing our country far more in terms of all the related health problems we are paying for, by way of our insurance, than any other health problem, even cancer.
So anyway, yes, I think I'd be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other ... because I'd be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room — just like I'd find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine addict slumping in a chair.
Now, don't go getting the wrong impression: I have a few friends who could be called plump. I'm not some size-ist jerk. And I also know how tough it can be for truly heavy people to psych themselves up for the long process of slimming down. (For instance, the overweight maintenance guy at my gym has talked to me a little bit about how it seems worthless for him to even tryworking out, because he's been heavy for as long as he can remember.)
But ... I think obesity is something that most people have a ton of control over. It's something they can change, if only they put their minds to it.
(I'm happy to give you some nutrition and fitness suggestions if you need them — but long story short, eat more fresh and unprocessed foods, read labels and avoid foods with any kind of processed sweetener in them whether it's cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup, increase the amount of fiber you're getting, get some kind of exercise for 30 minutes at least five times a week, and do everything you can to stand up more — even while using your computer — and walk more. I admit that there's plenty that makes slimming down tough, but YOU CAN DO IT! Trust me. It will take some time, but you'll also feel so good, physically and emotionally. A nutritionist or personal trainer will help — and if you can't afford one, visit your local YMCA for some advice.)
Then again, I guess these characters are in Overeaters Anonymous. So ... points for trying?
Then again, I tend to think most television shows are a kind of junk food for the mind and body. The boob tube gives us an excuse to turn off both our brains and our bodies and probably does a helluva lot to contribute to the obesity problem, over all. So ... I don't know.
What do you guys think? Fat people making out on TV — are you cool with it? Do you think I'm being an insensitive jerk?
UPDATE: I would really like to apologize for the insensitive things I've said in this post. Believe it or not, I never wanted anyone to feel bullied or ashamed after reading this, and I sorely regret that it upset people so much. A lot of what I said was unnecessary; it wasn't productive, either.



I know a lot of people truly struggle to lose weight— for medical and psychological reasons—and that many people have an incredibly difficult time getting to a healthy size. I feel for those people and I'm truly sorry I added to the unhappiness and pain they feel with my post.
 


I would like to reiterate that I think it's great to have people of all shapes and healthy sizes represented in magazines (as, it bears mentioning here, they are in Marie Claire) and on TV shows--and that in my post, I was talking about a TV show that features people who are not simply a little overweight, but appear to be morbidly obese. (Morbid obesity is defined as 100% more than their ideal weight.)  And for whatever it's worth, I feel just as uncomfortable when I see an anorexic person as I do when I see someone who is morbidly obese, because I assume people suffering from eating disorders on either end of the spectrum are doing damage to their bodies, and that they are unhappy. But perhaps I shouldn’t be so quick to judge based on superficial observations.
To that point (and on a more personal level), a few commenters and one of my friends mentioned that my extreme reaction might have grown out of my own body issues, my history as an anorexic, and my life-long obsession with being thin. As I mentioned in the ongoing dialogue we’ve been carrying on in the comments section, I think that's an accurate insight.

People have accused me of being a bully in my post; I never intended to be that--it's actually the very last thing I want to be, as a writer or a person. But I know that I came off that way, and I really cannot apologize enough to the people whom I upset.

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