9 months ago, I weighed 167 and wore a 8/10 or size 29/30 jeans. 5 years earlier, back in 2008, I weighed 182 and I wore a 10/12 and a size 32 jeans... Now, I weigh 138, wear a size 2 or 26 in jeans. I am gobsmacked every single time I put on a pair of pants and that say "2" and they fit. The weight didn't come off fast and making a huge lifestyle change wasn't EASY, but it wasn't hard either. It took dedication. Period. It's easier to say that it's impossible than to really commit to making a change though. I have friends who, all the time, ask me how I have time to go to the gym every day... Priorities. I don't go out for happy hour. I don't eat out in restaurants every night. I don't go to 2 movies a week... I go to the gym. I get my sweat on and feel amazing afterwards.
It's no secret that there is a culture of shame that exists in America around obesity (though some, like this waste of perfectly good meat, think that the problem is that we don't shame fat people enough). Unfortunately, body-positive people have ceded the moral high ground to fat shamers by allowing fatness to be framed as an debate of morality and fat-shaming to be discussed as an issue of health. Both tactics miss the point.
Nearly every online discussion about obesity ends up as a discussion on the morality of being fat (as though weight is a moral issue), and there's always one person who feels the need to tell us fatties exactly how easy it is to be healthy (read: skinny), get healthy (read: be less fat), and stay healthy (read: not get gross and fat again). There are plenty of links I could throw at you to show that our beliefs about what it takes to be skinny is at best incomplete and at worst actively harmful. There are thousands and thousands of people out there that are fat and fit. There are still more people who are fat and have medical conditions that make it difficult to near impossible or dangerous to lose weight. But the problem with arguing against fat shaming with these examples is that it doesn't matter. Fat people are as deserving as thin people of respect and humanity as thin people because we are people and not for any other reason.
The quote above is from a woman that lost weight and feels good about herself for having done so. Great for her! I begrudge her none of her happiness, and I hope that every time she puts on size 2 pants (or pants of any size), she loves herself and her body, because our bodies are wonderful things that help us move and breathe and laugh and live. I won't even argue with her statement that losing the weight was easy and keeping it off is fun. Even if losing weight were as easy as these people would have us believe, it still wouldn't make fat people any more deserving of ridicule or shame or hate or discrimination or substandard medical care or terrible articles complaining about how PC America won't let some shitmouth at Philadelphia Magazine make fun of Thunder Thighs In Accounting.
Being thin is a priority for some people. This is a fine and perfectly valid thing. But your priority is yours and yours alone, and the ease with which one can make this a priority is irrelevant. It's obvious if you make the same arguments about any other lifestyle choice that it's absurd on its face. You know what's easy? Being really knowledgeable about film and film theory. It's something that I make a priority in my life. I don't go to the gym; I go home and watch French New Wave films. But people aren't crashing the comment section of reviews for Michael Bay movies to tell fans how easy it is to hang out and watch François Truffaut films and how much better you'll feel, if you just make it a priority.
If you place a great deal of importance on being thin and athletic and in amazing cardiovascular shape, I think that's just swell. You made something a priority in your life and you are doing things you enjoy. That's great and I encourage you. But you're no better than the person who doesn't place a priority on those. Your choices aren't better than the person who is fat and in great shape (I ran a half-marathon at 275 pounds, I know from being fat and in shape), or who is thin and in terrible shape, or even the person that's fat and out of shape. Those people have different priorities than you, and to suggest that their priorities are inherently and obviously lesser, whether with outright nastiness or couched in pseudoscientific - hell, even solid scientific - concern trolling, is high-minded arrogance.
Sorry, but to a lot of people (this writer included), happy hour is fun. Eating out in restaurants is fun. Going to movies - even TWO MOVIES A WEEK - is fun. Not only fun, but those can all be highly rewarding activities, as rewarding as getting one's sweat on is for the commenter above.
And I don't even mean to pick on that one person. She's not unique; she's just the current mouthpiece for society at large. The entire weight loss industry is built around the premise that being thin is easy if you aren't a fat failure, and that deprivation is the key to happiness. It's all represented in that stupid, stupid mantra, "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels." Fuck that. Pork belly banh mi is delicious. Beer (seriously, have you tasted 10 Barrel's Apocalypse IPA?) is delicious. Mashed potatoes are delicious. Peanut butter is delicious. Falafel and pita with hummus and tzatziki is delicious.
It's no one's place to tell me where my priorities for my own body should lay. For me, at this point in my life, all of those things taste better than skinny feels. Disagree if you like - it's neither criminal nor immoral to feel differently on the subject. But don't pretend that sanctimonious self-flagellation makes your view more correct. It just makes you the loudest and the meanest, and that's ugly at any weight.
Joshua David can be found on Twitter at @joshuaadavidd.
Image via BigStockPhoto.