Belinda Marsh

Dieting schmieting!

Image: Wikimedia Commons/Mallinaltzin

I have noticed a disturbing trend recently regarding dieting and obesity, especially via social media. Half of ‘The Fat-Shaming Brigade‘ gleefully remark, ‘But all you have to do is eat healthily and exercise regularly! It’s not hard!’, as if squillions of us fatties world-wide had never even thought of these concepts.


Eat healthily? Exercise regularly?

Well, fuck me. I’m shocked and stunned. What a revelation.

Let me categorically set the record straight. All these years of trying every diet and healthy eating plan in the known universe, combined with gym workouts/walking every day/pilates/zumba/yoga/team sports (the list goes on) have been meaningless.

Some members of The Brigade give helpful, caring advice on dieting so that we ‘fatsters’ learn the difference between a chocolate bar and a carrot. Others suggest fat taxes, food taxes and paying more for a seat on a plane because your flabby bits are so offensive.

The rest of The Brigade relish spouting really helpful dieting tips such as ‘Everything in moderation.’

Care to quantify? What exactly IS a moderate amount of ‘everything’? Please enlighten me. I’m really very curious.

I understand what’s behind their warnings to the fatsters. We all know the epidemic is looming large on the horizon and the strain this will put on our already overburdened health system. We’re bulging at the seams and, according to the media who just love to excitedly point out, we’re just going to get bigger.

But what those in The Brigade don’t seem to realise is that fat-shaming is not helpful. At all. In fact we fatties are already ashamed of our excess baggage. Most of us know it exists. It’s not like we look in the mirror and see a lithe slim figure in the reflection. And most of us have tried everything, but nothing seems to be working. Well, apart from the pair of glands commonly known as ‘Guilt’ and ‘Self-Hatred’. They’re on double-time-and-a-half, working every second of every day, reminding us of how fat and disgusting we are. So there’s no need for you to tell us. Truly, we’re doing it just fine for ourselves, thank you very much.

Most of The Brigade members have never been fat, so they don’t know exactly what is involved. They seem to think we all sit in front of the TV 24-7 eating ice-cream, or that we gorge ourselves on Maccas for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Granted, there are those of us who got fat because we ate too much pasta, or loved chocolate just that little bit more than we should have. But since our very first try at dieting, many of us have also sat in front of the TV, after walking for an hour, and had a light dinner of a lettuce leaf on a bed of lettuce with lettuce on the side. I think you will find that there are not many ex-fatties in The Brigade because they know that fat-shaming is unhelpful and downright nasty.

I have little doubt that many of us fatties have tried a variety of dieting techniques in an effort to shed our excess weight – call us walking dieting dictionaries. We’re up-to-date on the latest superfoods, the current list of rejected foods that we were once told were good for us, and are always discussing concepts and ideas to try and win the war. We have tried many dieting weight loss programs, and after the initial Christian Convention euphoria wears off, the majority of us fail, which gives us yet another reason to hate ourselves.

A friend of mine who is obese decided to do something about it and started out at a quieter, local gym. She loved jogging on the treadmill until she overheard the two skinny oxygen thieves behind the counter discussing her attempts to lose weight, commenting on how her gross flabby bits were flopping everywhere when she jogged, followed by how disgusting she was. She ran out of there crying, and never went back.

And you wonder why many of us just give up with such amazing ‘support’ for our attempts to get fit and healthy?

I’d like to know what The Brigade believes to be healthy eating. What is it nowadays? Margarine was ‘in’, now it’s ‘out’. Eggs were ‘out’, now they’re ‘in’. Grains are ‘in’ or ‘out’ depending on who you talk to. Which nutritionist do I believe today? Which healthy eating plan do I follow tomorrow? Atkins? Blood Type? Paleo? Omnivore? Ethical? GI? Raw Food? Juicing? Fasting? Vegetarian? Vegan? Gluten Free?

Once you’ve figured out the answer, Oh wise Fat-Shaming Brigade, get back to me. Be assured, when you do you’ll find that others will disagree with you wholeheartedly about what we all ‘should’ be eating. And be assured again that once we come to some sort of agreement about eating healthily, a new ‘expert’ will come along next week with new rules and new health findings, and tell us that all we knew and agreed upon this week was absolute bollocks. Rinse and repeat.

So, forgive me if I seem a little peeved, a little miffed, a little pissed off even. I’m tired of reading the comments, fed-up with the usual responses bythe usual unintelligent organisms offering the usual ‘advice’, and annoyed by the usual lack of compassion and understanding. If you don’t have anything helpful to say, and that includes your token attempts of ‘All you have to do is eat healthily and exercise regularly!’ and ‘Everything in moderation!’, then kindly shut the fuck up.

Thank you.

Belinda Marsh

If Belinda could be a superhero, she would be Apostrophe Woman, using her powers to change misplaced and abused apostrophes. She has been known to explode in red-headed rages, so it’s best to be nice to her (offerings of chocolate have been known to help, albeit temporarily). Belinda likes to think she’s a writer, and has recently been thinking about a Masters. She has added this to her to-do list, somewhere after ‘buy more chocolate’ and ‘shave underarm hair’.

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  1. Belinda said:

    Having just recently given up sugar in my final attempt to shed the excess, I promise that if it doesn’t work, I will be a-knockin’ at your door to wallow in misery with you and your brownies.

  2. Maya said:

    Love your article Belinda, please help me in my dilemma: should I aim to be a miserable skinny bitch and die early out of misery, or should I eat chocolate and be happy and really not give a flying fuck? All this exercise is exhausting and the dieting only causes misery and confusion, let’s just eat the pasta and the choccie and stay happy.
    I will keep you some brownies.

  3. Belinda said:

    Hi Sarah,

    My issue with current research is that it is often proved wrong a year or more down the track. Scientfic studies are often paid for by Big Pharma trying to get their drug passed, so research can be really skewed. And on top of that, we’re so confused about what to and what not to eat that we’re left wondering if there is any truth left among the debris to find. Margarine was supposed to save us from heart attacks by getting rid of saturated animal fat… instead we’ve been poisoned by the trans fats and chemicals in the margarine. There’s even suggestions that saturated fat is not the bad guy and that we’ve been duped!

  4. Belinda said:

    Thanks! I wrote this article nearly two months ago in response to the ‘helpful’ advice given by many commentators about weight loss and food on a few other websites I frequent. So when I read your article, it reminded me of this one so I sent it to Mr Ed.

    I found the first time I pushed to lose the excess weight that had crept up on me over the years (childbearing was not kind to me), I lost 30kg. And 14 years later, I have pretty much stayed that lower weight. But the last 20kg simply won’t shift, no matter what I do.

    I was a gluten-free vegan, exercising for 1-2 hours each day, going to the gym, playing soccer and netball… and I collapsed on the treadmill because of depleted iron and B12. And guess what? My weight barely moved in all that time. *sigh* I made myself sick and treated my body badly in desperation and obsession. Eating disorders are not limited to the extremely thin, I’m afraid. So it’s such a complex issue that there needs to be more understanding and empathy in society. A diet or regime that works for one person does not work for another, I’m sorry to say. This is not a one-size-fits-all approach. 🙁 *cries*

  5. R.W.- Chinnery said:

    Although I have never wandered out of the safe BMI zone for my height, and the closest I have come was at the lower rather than the upper extreme, I find myself able to empathize with much of what Belinda says. I grew up with an appalling stutter, the last vestiges of which I am still shaking off as I approach 30. I cannot tell you how infuriating it was every time some one said “speak slower”. Oh really? Gee thanks, in years of speech therapy we never tried that approach! It happened again in later life as I developed mental health issues and I found that trying to share your problems with certain people just makes you an open target at which to pelt pithy nuggets of vulgar wisdom. Perhaps they need to fullfil some sense of obligation to say something helpful, but what they really need to do is just listen. Rest assured, the person actually suffering the condition, whatever it is, most likely knows a lot more about it than you.

  6. Polly said:

    Hi Belinda, great article. It’s only been during my late twenties that I’ve made significant progress with my diet and exercise regime and lost the weight I always wanted to – it’s bloody hard work. I understand *exactly* how hard it can be.



  7. Sarah Carman said:

    When it comes to the recommendation of various forms of chemical energy, regardless of a person’s weight and/or their desire to increase/reduce/maintain it, very few people seek out the advice of professionals who are abreast of CURRENT RESEARCH. Perhaps if we tuned into what scientific studies are telling us, we might get somewhere. I don’t know about you, but I think our world today is home to far too many misinformed idiots preaching “healthy lifestyle” nonsense. It’s a case of the blind leading the blind.

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