Damned if you are fat, damned if you are not

When it comes to losing weight, one can never be right

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Sushmita Bose

Published: Thu 19 May 2022, 10:34 PM

I know fat-shaming is a thing, and calling someone fat these days could be deemed politically incorrect, unless you are saying “a fat lot of good” or suchlike. But I am using the word “fat” not as a pejorative, but as a generic. Like when you call a six-footer “tall”, and a five-footer “short”. Like that. So, at times, I feel I am fat, body weight-wise, very objectively: these are times when clothes fitting me to a tee suddenly become difficult to get into, or a pair of jeans no longer need that belt I had picked up a couple of months ago.

It’s a cyclical thing. You win some, you lose some. But the dialectics are always there. Damn, am I fatter than I was last month? Or, yay, I’ve dropped a dress size since I took up doing the 10,000 steps-a-day ritual last month.

But as I continue on this rollercoaster, there’s not much help from those around me. Because when it comes to losing weight, I can never be right. Like I mentioned earlier, whenever I work very hard, and try and stick to a regimen of workouts — alongside eating “sensibly” (which is really tough, believe me, because there is nothing I like better than popping in a couple of laddoos or cupcakes a day), the results finally begin to take shape.

And then, I am often horrified by what many people tell me.

Them: “My God, look at you, are you ill? Are you sure you are okay?”

Me: “Yes, I’m fine, I have been consciously trying to lose weight — and I am not exactly reed-thin, I mean, I have only lost a couple of kilos...”

Them: “But it looks like you are going to vanish into thin air… Maybe you should see a doctor?”

And then, a few months down the line, I lose momentum, usually triggered by a break, after which I find it tough to get back on track. Tomorrow is another day, I keep telling myself, but that tomorrow never descends. The pounds and kilos start creeping back, like bad pennies.

Okay, at least those who had a problem with my weight loss will now shut up, I think to myself.

No such luck. The same busybodies who were saying, “You are overdoing it, don’t lose more weight, you’ll disappear” are suddenly stopping short of saying “hey fatso” even though I’ve piled on three or four kilos — which is not exactly alarming.

Them: “Look who’s all chubby and nicely rounded — have you been eating out a lot?”

Me (very defensively): “No, I’ve been out of the working out loop, I plan to get back into it very soon.”

Back home, when I was coming of age, I had to get used to some really odd family members, who would always view the glass as being half-empty, never half-full. I remember the time when I had graduated, and all these ‘well-wishers’ were constantly on my case. “When are you going to find a job? Have you decided what you want to do with your life?”

When I found a job, and it promised to pay what was, at that point in time, “a tidy sum”, I was accosted by one of these family members. “I hear you’re going to be a journalist?” he snorted. “I have friends who are journos, and all they do is sit around at the Press Club and down pints through the day — and yet get paid a good salary. So… good for you: no work, all play, huh?”


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