Monday, 4 February 2008

Join the club

Recently at work, it seems as if everybody but me has been dieting. That's not unusual, of course. Get a bunch of women together, and eventually the talk seems to come round to weight, who's eating what, what everybody should be eating or shouldn't be eating, etc.

Often these conversations take place among slim or average women, and I used to worry about what to say if there was a genuinely fat person there. Sometimes I'd just say I was happy about my weight. But that didn't feel right, because that would seem to suggest that I thought my body was better than the fat person's body. By accepting my body, I would be rejecting theirs. So stupidly, sometimes, I'd find myself flailing about trying to say things which is included us both - which would be something along the lines of implying that I was fatter than I actually thought I was. And then, I'd cringe, and wonder why on earth I'd said that? Didn't that just make things worse, because if I thought I was fat, then I must be thinking that she was 'summin else' (in the words of Marjorie from Fat Fighters of Little Britain fame)?

I'm in an interesting situation now, because for the first time, I'm the fat person. I'm much fatter than anybody that I work with. And all of them (apart from one, I think), think they're too fat and are trying to lose weight. I'm pleased to find that it doesn't bother me as much as you would think. I meet those implied insults with a wry smile. But lets not forget that they are implied insults. If my slim colleagues are insisting that they are unacceptably fat, then they're implying that I am even more unacceptably fat. And yet, they don't seem to see it as an insult. I even wonder if they're trying to include me, like I used to do with fatter friends. They don't want to make the division of 'you fat, me not', so they include themselves in being overweight. But then they genuinely are unhappy with their bodies, because they do want to lose weight. So they really must see me as humungously ginormous.

I now find that them saying they are happy with their bodies would be less of a rejection of mine than their current unhappiness with their bodies. Oh, one of them is a lot happier, because she's lost weight and gone down a dress size. Her fat dress size, needless to say, was smaller then my current size dress.

And now, I'm the one saying that I'm happy(ish - I still have some work to do) with my weight, and I'm by far the biggest. I'm the only one not dieting, and yet, judging from their assessments of their own bodies, my colleagues think I desparately need to. And now I do feel that people watch what I eat. I know they do, because I've seen people watch what other fat people eat, before I was fat. And I know they probably think that the reason for me being fat is that I eat far too much. And then I feel - well, guilty isn't the right word, but kind of embarrassed that I'm not on a diet when everybody thinks I should be.

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