“Seriously, when was the last time you owned up to being wrong? You never admit you’re wrong. ” He was only a little angry.
“I do, too,” I said defensively.
“When I’m wrong, but I’m just right most of the time because I do my research.”
We’re disagreeing about weight and health. My dear friend, like most of the world, believes that weight loss is possible and can lead to better health. He has asked me if I’ve given up on losing the weight I gained while pregnant with my seventeen month old.
I have given up, though in truth, it never occurred to me to try to lose the “baby” weight. When virtually all of the research on weight in the last half century, even research funded by the diet industry, says that 95% of people fail to keep weight loss off longer than 3-5 years, I don’t see the point of trying. I have better things to do, and tastier food to eat, than to spend my precious little free time on chasing a body that took an all-consuming exercise obsession and eating behaviors that resembled an eating disorder to maintain.
So, instead of the insanity it took to be thin, I am choosing to love my body for the miracle of growing my little human, for carrying me through the last sleep-deprived seventeen months, for lifting my baby up into my arms hundreds of times a week without too much complaint, for breathing and pumping blood, for walking, for being fierce and brave during labor. I also think my body is beautiful. I bought into the failure of imagination that is our culture’s very narrow view of attractiveness far too long, and hating my fat body is no longer an acceptable option.
I try to tell him about all the research I’ve done over the last few years that says that it is behaviors — like eating whole, unprocessed foods and getting moderate exercise — that improve health, not being thin, but he refuses to concede that it’s possible to be fat and healthy. I can feel myself getting desperate for him to agree with me.
We take a break, I use the bathroom, and alone, I realize I’m being kind of an asshole. It’s not the first time I’ve been kind of an asshole to someone who disagrees with me. Since my girl was born, I have so little patience for what I perceive as ignorance. In my attempt at educating, I condescend, demand, and alienate. It’s not how I want to be with others, but I can’t seem to stop myself.
I still think I have the facts on my side. But it doesn’t really matter if I can’t get my best friend to realize that this is important to me because I feel like he is judging me, and all fat people, as unhealthy and somehow, less than.
Yeah, I may be right, but I’m going about it all wrong.