On Being Fat.

By Alison September 15, 2005 10 Comments 3 Min Read


This is hard for me to write.

See, the thing about being fat is this: you don’t go to bed thin and wake up fat. It just kind of creeps up on you. One day clothes fit and the next time you look you are iced in your very own security blanket and every garment you own has an elasticated waist.

What can I tell you about it? That all my mirrors are set shoulder high so I don’t have to catch a glimpse of my body? That nobody but Mark has seen my legs since 1995?  That I ache to be the person I could be if I was thin, even though three years ago I was and in all truth it didn’t feel that different?

Let me make myself clear: I wouldn’t have made it into a Victorian freak show, but I think about what it is to be bigger than other women, almost every day. Not because I am show stoppingly large, but because I am bigger than I want to be and if I’m totally honest and I really stop to think about it, I hate it. I hate it so much it hurts.

I can’t give you reasons. I can’t say I am this way because. I don’t know. Or I do know but I don’t particuarly want to put these trivial catalysts to inner pain into words. So suffice to say, my life is lovely and I have an over-fondness for violet cremes and mature cheddar.

I have in the past been really rather excellent at dieting. A dieting extroadinaire! I cut out wheat and the weight fell off, but the truth is I was giving it all I had: thinking about dieting every minute of every day. Thinking about nothing else. And then along came Finley and something resembling the authentic life I had always  dreamt of, and suddenly it didn’t matter. And before I knew it I was halfway back to where I started.

I don’t want to be one of those women who talks about nothing else because I am concentrating on pretending not to be hungry. I don’t want to be one of those women who knows the calorific value of every lettuce leaf I raise to my lips. I don’t want to make dieting the subject of my dinner parties, nor gossip about which mommy at the school gates has let herself go. I don’t want to be that person. I want to live life in all it’s decadent, scrumptious glory and I want to do over a pretty plate of chocolate cake…. 

But I hate fat people and the fact that I am one myself doesn’t make that terrible statement any less true. So don’t bother ranting at me for being fattist. Trust me, I feel your pain.

I don’t know what I look like from behind. The thought of having my derriere plastered all over Sky One makes me feel ill (I don’t know when the programme is being screened, but I promise not to let vanity stop me from telling you!!). I hate clothes shopping. No, scrap that, I adore clothes shopping. Just not for me. Clothes shopping for me is a vintage girlies nightmare. I’m tireder than I should be. Less attractive than I could be. I wear a uniform of black clothes and I never look in the mirror without kind of squinting. I have no idea what I look like, but sometimes even without knowing, without acknowledging what might be the truth, I feel beautiful. Does that make sense?

But what I hear you ask, does this have to do with BrocanteHome?   Here’s the thing: in my eternal wisdom I advocate living life to it’s most scrumptious degree. Pampering your way through the bad days, and celebrating teeny mundanities in the good. But there is a big part of me that cannot reconcile living life without deprivation, with spoiling oneself silly for the slightest reason, with who I see when I am forced to acknowledge what being just a tad too kind to myself is doing to me personally…

I cannot reconcile my mind with my body. Who I am with who I want to be.

And more than that I’m not even sure I want to.


  1. ms*robyn says:

    trouble is, Alison – as you get older the weight can cause health problems… which is what I found out….. I love cheese and chocolate too but the high cholestrol and high blood pressure really worried me. And I hate to diet… it is not me at all. I LOVE food… healthy eating plans are more sensible..
    anyhooo – hang in there… if you decide to join us and 'diet', we can always cheer you on

  2. Mimi says:

    Oh God Alison, reading this bought tears to my eyes. You are so honest and true, and I really do feel sometimes that you must be looking through my window. The lovely thing about the internet is that people see a name and not the physical body for me. This is a place where I can be Mimi. Where shopping for trousers does not reduce me to tears. I have been going to a slimming club since March, and I hate the way they talk about food and themselves. 'I've been really naughty this week'. I hate that. I hate when I feel good for once and then see a photo that brings me right back down. I know I should be saying lovely things to make you feel better, but in my experience, sometimes you just need to know- you are not alone.

  3. Savannah says:

    While, very ironically, I would always choose a thin stranger over a fat one to think, "Well, what a neat person," I don't really think I can ever say, "I hate fat people." When I think of it, many many many of the finest and most loving people in my life have been heavy, chubby, fat. Alas, I'm a fat person, as well, but I don't hope to always be. Just as I dream of getting my home snuggly and wonderful, finally having enough money to live beyond paycheck to paycheck, and maybe finding someone who'd love to share my life, I dream that someday I'll be slender, even willowy! I read a quote yesterday that says you become old only when you replace your dreams with regrets. I get in danger of doing that sometimes, but although I understand your frustration (because I share it) I think the same passion that creates that frustration creates the cravings that feed the fat. All my problems come from my weight in some aspects…. more energy, more health, more pizazz, more allure, but I still think you must rethink that statement that you hate fat people. I really don't want you to hate me, Alison, because I truly treasure you and all you have done for us. Love ya.

  4. Homemakerang says:

    HI! I totally realate! I am not obese, but I woke up and all of a sudden am 25 lbs overweight 🙂 BUT, i have been doing the south beach diet and and I have lost 20 I am about 3-4 away from before kids weight!!! I do the protein shake for lunch, 3 eggs tomatoes and toast for breakfast, a gallon of water a day, a protein shake for pm snack, a light dinner and NEVER EAT after 6 pm 🙂 I HATE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    BUT THE mirror looks a little nicer, now I need everything that has gone south to go north and I dont think that will happen real soon or EVER>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

  5. Homemakerang says:

    BTW, a couple a notes:
    if that is you in the black curly hair, you look gorgeous!
    note #2. I highly suggest getting full size mirrors, its reality and it keeps me in check with what is really going on 🙂

  6. melissa says:

    This post of yours is so honest. I can totally relate. My husband tells me when get in a funk about my weight that it's important to love myself NOW. Can't postpone that until I get down to the size I want to be. The acceptance has to be today.
    I think you know that to be true too. You're a sweetheart, I hope you know.

  7. Susana says:

    Gosh I Love ya girl! I can totally relate to you. I was always known as the "skinny" girl, and in my head, I was still the skinny girl. Then I looked in the mirror one day and saw that my shirt was not nice, strait, and smooth. No. Instead it was bulging out here and there with my "love handles". Skinny girl? Not anymore Susana! Not after having 3 baby's, honey! So now I tell myself, "Well, I'm not the skinny girl, but I'm not the fat girl either". And then… I see my thighs. Ok, so maybe I'm the "not so fat girl". Love Ya!

  8. Clare says:

    You are beautiful. You are beautiful as you are now, you were beautiful when you were thinner. You always, no matter what size you are, look drop dead gorgeous(even in that green top you were wearing when seasonal scrubbing). I don't know anyone that wouldn't agree, and so far have not met a man that doesn't fancy you.
    If you decide to loose weight then do it by healthy eating and giving youself the odd planned treat. Denial is just not good for mind, body or soul.

  9. Alison says:

    Thank you all so much for your lovely kind comments: reading back I think that perhaps the tone of the piece is wrong: yes I hate being big, but I am who I am in spite of it, and when I say I hate myself and other fat people I think I mean the inherent connotations in my own mindset, rather than anything I project onto other big women (who never strike me as anything other than themselves as opposed to labels I might apply to myself) Does that make sense?
    I think what I am trying to say is that yes, I am unhappy with my weight, but is only a tiny part of who I am: I am an intelligent woman and I know how to deal with this, I just have to dig up some willpower from somewhere!!

  10. Jennifer says:

    I don't have any wonderful advice, but it made me sad to hear that you are so unhappy with yourself. You seem like such a wonderful, gifted woman. I wish you could see that when you look in the mirror and treat the challenge of your weight as something separate, something more removed. Easier said than done, I know, but truly, from my heart I hope you find peace with this.

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