In “Love Your Fat Self” (2008), Courtney Martin uses her obese friend as an example of someone who is amazing in every other way, but seen as flawed because she’s fat. Her point is to make society take responsibility for its part in the problem with obesity. She mentions that being fat is pretty much always seen as a physical health problem, and that most people, including the doctors that attempt to treat overweight people, don’t know the psychology behind it (or even that there are psychological explanations). Society puts all of the blame on the person, and creates the assumption that fat people are lazy and dumb. And it’s ok in our society to discriminate like that. Society thinks that being fat is all about calories in and calories out and if people are too lazy to put in the work to get skinny, it’s their own fault. I can really identify with this article. I have struggled with confidence from the time I was in elementary school, and a lot of it comes from being overweight most of my life. I have felt the pressure of society to spend the majority of my life in a gym, and I blame myself for my weight because I don’t have the motivation to spend my life that way.
I was amazed by the statistic that Martin gave that said dieting is ineffective 95% of the time. We always hear “diets don’t work” (albeit on commercials advertising a slightly different type of dieting), but for so many people to invest so much time, money, and hope into something that is only 5% effective blows my mind. They so desperately cling to their diets because they are so deeply afraid to live as a fat person. The only diet I ever tried was the South Beach Diet, and I felt so physically ill that I quit after two days. My body was telling me this wasn’t the right thing to do. I vowed I would never again try a fad diet, but even still I see my already skinny friends getting more skinny from doing this program and that workout that I feel like I’m failing if I don’t at least try it.
I was so glad to read about the psychological aspect of obesity because I have always felt that there were underlying causes as to why I always seem to be gaining weight. I was hopeful after reading that behavioral treatment has shown to be much more effective than dieting because I feel like fixing my thoughts about my body is something I’m much more willing to try than fixing the body itself if I don’t have to. In a world where my health is determined by my physical traits, it’s hard to feel like skinny doesn’t equal healthy, but I would love to be able to separate the two and feel ok if I’m healthy even though I’m shopping in the plus size section.