I recently came across a writeup by Laura Bogart titled “I choose to be fat” and was instantly intrigued. Before reading it, I honestly believed the author might make a valid point about reasons to stay heavy — perhaps doing that rather than yo-yo dieting and/or continually gaining because of constantly going on (and then cheating on) a diet. But as I read Ms. Bogart’s writeup, I soon realized that no such arguments were contained in her post.
While I respect Ms. Bogart’s — and anyone’s — life choices, I can’t help but question the validity of not only this piece, but also the author’s true feelings. While she inventively compares herself to a “Fat girl Jason Bourne,” and shows an entertaining and highly original perspective on life, her argument that “Doctors have bullied me about my weight for years, but obesity has given me the armor I needed to survive.”
In the piece, Ms. Bogart writes, “I packed on the pounds as a neglected child whose father passed out when his rage was spent, whose mother was petrified to move, to wake him. I was a little girl whose dinners always went cold. So I enacted a kid’s version of nourishment, swallowing fistfuls of Cheese-Its and pulling the cheese off left-over pizza. I took that lead-bellied feeling of fullness for actual satisfaction. I binged because I was frenzied with need. If I didn’t sink my teeth into something — anything — I wouldn’t know I was alive.”
While I can totally relate to using an outer layer of blubber as a coping mechanism during my challenging childhood years, I might suggest that the writer now realize those painful years are behind her and that, in this moment, she is in control (not her abusive father).
And while Ms. Bogart opines that “I have fought against myself for so very long, against everything I’d internalized: everything my father told me I was, everything my mother told me I couldn’t do; everything the kids at school told me I looked like, everything my (supposed) care providers swore I should be. I’ve laid down my arms. I will simply be,” I would argue that actually your body is wearing down with all the excess weight that it’s bogged down by. And real control comes from getting healthy and feeling fantastic. And as someone who once weighed over 450 pounds and ran out of breath just from talking on the phone, I certainly know what I’m talking about.
I’m not suggesting that the writer — or anyone — isn’t perfect just as they are. But it’s through this kind of acceptance and declaration of perfection that we can then do ourselves the favor of taking off the dangerous, excess weight and getting healthy for ourselves and for our future (our abusive pasts be damned).
And please — don’t think I’m adversely judging the writer. In fact, I’m not judging her at all. But at 23 years old, she has an incredible opportunity to lose the weight before it starts affecting her health in more severe ways. At the end of the day, it’s not about choosing to be fat. It’s about choosing happiness, life and self worth. And that stuff — not to mention that kind of happiness — is never found in overeating.
Photo Source: Term Life Matters