Christa Ackroyd: Why fat is fat and naughty is still naughty

Christa Ackroyd
Christa Ackroyd
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So every Friday morning I go to fat club. Call it what you will, Weight World, Slimming Watchers, fat club is what it is, though when my husband christened it as such I was more than a little miffed. Not sure why.

It felt as uncomfortable as last year’s jeans. And yes they hurt too, unless I undo the top button.

Yet fat club is actually a pretty accurate description of why we are all there. We are a group of women, and indeed men, who have decided we need and more importantly want to lose weight. What is being overweight other than being too fat? And what’s wrong with calling a spade a shovel, especially if you have got into the habit of shoveling food into your mouth a little too often than is good for you?

Which is why this week’s report in one newspaper that more than 300 people have complained to the NHS for being “fat shamed” is so ridiculous. Well if the doctors can no longer use the word I can. Because throughout my life I have always teetered on the brink of being... well, fat. Not grossly overweight and well chosen clothes hide a multitude of sins. But when you choose “comfortable” clothes because of their ability to grow with you and still go up a size then that is the thin end of a very big wedge. We all know what being fat is. It is dangerous. And any suggestion that using the “fat” word is too negative diminishes the reality of carrying too much weight. Being fat makes you feel sluggish, second rate and ever so slightly out of control.

With good reason.

Ten thousand people a year are hospitalised because of obesity. More than half of us in the UK are overweight. and that costs the NHS six billion pounds a year. However we want to phrase it, that is what’s shameful.

Of course doctors should be supportive.

Of course doctors should understand that for some there are deep rooted reasons why people develop an unhealthy relationship with food.

Of course doctors should never be rude or judgmental. But if we go to a doctor because of a medical issue and a doctor decides that our ailment is because of our weight he or she should feel able to tell us so. Without the sugar coating.

Just as it’s complete madness that the ‘experts’ are telling us it is too negative to call a child naughty, even when they are being just that. Of course if you tell them that all day ever day then the word loses its meaning.

But used sparingly at the right time it works. It always has done. Just as when a doctor tells you to lose weight for the good of your health we should take it on the double chin, grow up and do something about it. Or stay fat and risk the consequences.

So how is fat club going?

Pretty well actually. A stone in seven weeks. Hardly record breaking but not too bad considering the love affair I have with food. Sucking on a lettuce leaf is my idea of hell. And whoever discovered it takes more calories to eat a stick of celery than consume one obviously has never tried it stuffed with ricotta and drizzled with honey.

By the way that’s not a meal it’s a snack. No curry is complete without chapattis, poppadoms and the pickle tray . And anyone who suggests fish and chips are okay so long as you get rid of the chips and take off all of the batter is clearly delusional. Just as they are not complete without squashy white bread slathered in best butter. But eat too much and it makes you fat. Yes fat. Not plump, not cuddly, not bubbly and certainly not healthy.

Actually the best diet in the world is appearing on TV for 25 years. Wide screen makes you look, er, wide. And if I had lost a pound for every time someone said you look thinner in really life I would be positively Kate Moss sized. But waif-like I am not, nor ever will be.

Life after TV simply meant it didn’t matter as much, or so I told myself. But it did. The heavier I got the worse my arthritis became. And I am not big boned. Nor do I suffer from low metabolism, or middle aged spread.

I put on weight because I ate too much. Because I am greedy. And actually if a doctor had told me as much he or she would have been right. There are so many weighty issues in the world to worry about that we feel we can do little or nothing about. Being fat is not one of them.

Willpower will never be my middle name. Baring your soul is almost as difficult as baring your body, if you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin. If you do. Great. It’s just that I didn’t. Whoever said nothing tastes as good as being thin feels has obviously been eating the wrong kind of food. But I feel better, more alive and more positive. Just what the doctor ordered.