Health at Every Size

Lately, some “friends” have been trying to convince me that I’m too fat for quarantine. Just look at me! Clearly, I must know I need fixing. But what if I’ve somehow missed that I have no current worth except as a “before” picture? Good news! These same people are ready to show me the light–and then accept my tribute to their wisdom in the form of consuming shakes and whatever else I supposedly “need.” Didn’t you know that your whole life’s trajectory can be changed by sucking down just a little more overpriced protein powder?

If I dare to be perfectly happy with myself, then, that’s not okay. I’m just a lazy slob who’s letting down her entire family and they’re all disappointed, too, that I don’t want more for myself. Suddenly my education and other real, meaningful accomplishments go out the window. I’m a bad mother, I’m a bad wife. I’m squandering my potential and soon I’ll die in a pool of my own grease. Since when, though, did self-love become synonymous with a lack of ambition? How am I helping anyone, including myself, by forcing myself to earn this most basic foundation of success? The world will never grant me–or you–approval. That’s really actually not how the world works.

Eventually, every negative word you hear becomes just another affirmation of how little you deserve. You’re too fat, you’re too this, you’re too that. Life is hard to navigate. For everyone, for different reasons. Which is why, especially now, I really wish more of us were working as hard to reach out to each other. As fellow human beings, I mean, not as potential customers. At this point, a solid half the women I know seem to think a person’s moral center is located in their abs–and they have the magic beans to give me some. Imagine if, instead, they were putting that investment into things money can’t buy? For every five people who’ve spammed me with the opportunity to pay them for something, zero have asked for a Zoom coffee date.

If you’re wondering, now, if I’m fat, then you’re part of the problem. I could wax poetic about my fitness goals, I could even tell you my BMI. Instead, I’d rather ask you: why do you want to know? What, do you feel, entitles you to some extremely private, personal information. I’m not speaking to you as a professional person and, even so, weight isn’t a credential. Whether encased in a body with a BMI of 21, or 50, you’re still speaking with the same about three pound blob of jelly that is my brain.

I’ve seen posts warning me that I’ll probably drop dead tomorrow unless I purchase a specific workout, I’ve seen posts telling me that I’m a trash bag if I don’t buy expensive shakes. These judgments come helpfully illustrated with heavily photoshopped photos of these “coaches” pretending to work out. I can’t decide where I want to start first: with the wealth shaming, with the body shaming, with the ableism. So instead, here’s an idea: how’s about we not commoditize each other’s bodies? Or politicize them? Or, indeed, hold them up as some supposed “proof” of the truth in some decidedly for profit scheme?

Lose weight, gain weight, I don’t care. And once you do lose weight, these same people will come after you to lose more weight while you also do something about your hideous, saggy skin. They’ll tell you that you’re killing your family by not feeding them enough kale and oh, by the way, they’re already dead because you didn’t serve them every single meal on Tupperware. When an entire industry depends on your dissatisfaction with yourself, you’ll never be enough.