OK, this is going to be one of those honest, from the heart posts. I’m really struggling at the moment. Being a freelance writer for lifestyle magazines means I’m on the mailing list for a whole load of health-related press releases, and I’m getting a deluge of weight loss and diet information in my inbox every day at the moment that’s sending me diving straight for the kitchen cupboards where the Christmas goodies are stashed. In between playing ‘peek a boo’ with the Slimming World website. The way it usually goes is that I click on the site, read the front page, then remind myself of just how terrifyingly banal a Slimming World meeting really is and how obsessed I get if I have to get the kitchen scales out and start weighing cheese. Then I go and find something more interesting to read and kick myself for being sucked in. I haven’t given in yet. I WILL resist.
The thing is, it really doesn’t matter that I’m writing a novel with sassy, plus size heroines, that I have blogs and Facebook pages dedicated to being happy in your own plus-size skin, and that I know damn well what’s going to happen if I cave in and try to diet and lose a few pounds. I still get psychologically bullied by the all-pervasive media crap that insists we all have to go on a diet before Christmas to get into our ‘li’l black dress’ and the insistence that we all go on a diet as our number one New Years resolution every single year. I’m being bombarded with press releases about diet books, fat statistics, health updates, and although I consign them all to my trash folder, they still hit me where it hurts sometimes…right in the fat ass.
It’s not great to be constantly reminded that you don’t fit into the acceptable female body. I’m considered a failure as a woman in so many different ways, not simply because I am fat, but also because I’m not actively trying to diet my way out of that sorry situation. The drip feed of diets, success stories, news stories about fat kids, fat parents, fat celebrities, fat people costing the NHS £millions isn’t easy to fight against! But I’m determined to carry on. Yes, I know I could do with dropping some weight. I have dreams where I’m running really fast and even doing cartwheels with ease, and trust me, the last time I did a cartwheel I was probably still in junior school. I want to have a body that feels free and doesn’t feel trapped by layers of adipose tissue that weigh it down and make my knees hurt. I get that. But dieting DOES NOT work. It just doesn’t. Every time I look at the cover of a Weight Watchers magazine, I can feel every muscle in my shoulders tense up in anticipation of the gnawing hunger and the first time I go ‘off plan’ and raid the kitchen, telling myself it’s ‘just for tonight’.
The thought of dieting in the New Year, even though it’s only been a fleeting one which I’ve shut up by drinking Baileys or sneaking a Lindt truffle, is seriously messing with my eating habits. It’s true, the mere anticipation of a period of restricted eating makes me want to eat things I genuinely don’t even like. I buy crisps and snacks in for my step-son when he comes to stay and I keep raiding the kitchen cupboard for cheap carbohydrate-based snacks masquerading as crisps. I don’t even like them. I swear, I was munching my way through a bag of ‘Crispy Fries’ yesterday and I could almost taste the rank, cheap vegetable fat as it dissolved on my tongue, but did I stop eating them, even though I really didn’t enjoy them? Did I bugger.
I think the only way forward is to toughen up my already thickened skin, woman up and sit it out. It will all go away after Christmas and I won’t feel so under pressure to sign up for ritual humiliation in a village hall or log on to a computer app that tells me I’ve eaten too much. I just wish I didn’t HAVE to, don’t you?