I was just responding to some comments on the original plus size post and I realized I was writing about as much as I normally do in a blog post. So here are some more of my thoughts on weight, my weighty thoughts.
I think the reason a lot of woman feel badly about being overweight and hate their body is because they feel like they shouldn't BE fat--that they obviously made a concious choice to overindulge, so it is all their fault--like being a certain size is an indicator of virtue. Now I am NOT implying that someone else is responsible for how fat you are--you can't sue McDonalds or society. But at the same time, there are sometimes biological reasons (stress, depression, hormonal imbalances, seasonal changes, etc) that can can subconsciously push people to over-indulge. Think PMS chocolate cravings, ice cream therapy, and fall soups, stews, and casseroles fattening you up for the upcoming winter. Then there are some naturally bigger people, who couldn't be thin unless critically ill. We are victims of circumstance!
The truth of the matter is, Americans overindulge. It is that simple. Afterward, we guilt and anguish and self loathe, telling ourselves that if we have our legs chopped off at 45 because of diabetes it isn't our fault. (Or am I the only one who talks to myself like an indignant mother?)
Every once in awhile, we read about Europeans. How they eat "horrifically" according to American doctor standards, yet are thinner than Americans. The reason is pretty simple. Italians and French don't do guilt about food--it isn't in their lexicon. Food should ALWAYS be good or what is the point of eating it? American women (yes I am stereotyping!) feel like they should be existing on salad, fat-free yogurt, and diet soda. Not a scrap of which is going to trigger your brain that your stomach is full and satisfied. Which means food is on your mind a lot. There is this vast realm of forbidden food, anything fried, anything with cream, anything with fatty meat, anything with lots of butter in it--pretty much most Italian and French foods.
I remember reading an article about a mother who had a 10 year old daughter who craved chocolate all the time. It was getting to the point of being excessive and the 10 year old was gaining weight. The mother went to a doctor (or was it psychologist?) who suggested doing the counter-intuitive thing of stocking the kitchen with never ending chocolate. The girl was told she could have as much chocolate as she wanted and her mother would always replenish it. The first week, the chocolate was completely finished every day. The second week, there was a little left over each day. This went on until the mother was restocking chocolate only once or twice a month. The girl's weight stabilized at a healthy weight and she still loved chocolate. But the compulsion to eat had been removed. The article said it was due to the girl being reassured that there would always be chocolate to eat and it was okay for her to eat it. The guilt was removed.
Sounds simple enough. But how can you remove guilt that is so ingrained in our brains? If I stocked a never-ending supply of reeses peanut butter cups and fettucinie alfredo, I would be thinking "I shouldn't, I shouldn't" the entire time. I think I might go crazy. Indulgence and restraint would be yelling at each other in my head and I wouldn't be able to hear myself think over the din.
If we were going to blame anyone, I think we could trace all this back to society's Puritanical roots. The Puritans were over here making life difficult for themselves and likening laughter to the devil, while the French and Italians were living the life of Riley (what does that mean?) and enjoying themselves immensely. We excel at guilt while Europeans corner the market on pleasure.
Can you sue the people who founded your society? I think the Puritans would have been disdainful of lawsuits.