A Weighty Messenger……
At a recent book signing I had an eye-opening experience. I am a first time author, so book signings still leave me with stars in my eyes and good feelings.
You Are WHY You Eat takes on weight loss and health in an iconoclastic way – no prescriptions on what to eat, no magic promises of 10 pounds off in 10 days – but rather a treatise on listening to your body, to listening to your heart, and trusting yourself – at the breakfast table, in a restaurant, in love, in life.
So it was fascinating to me, when I was recently approached by a woman who was cold and somewhat standoff-ish at best. She looked at the cover of my book (which features a lovely photo of me) and says – “oh great, one more book by a pretty skinny woman who tells fat bitches like me how to live our lives and lose weight….”
I gently smiled at her, and silently opened the book to page 2 – right after the introduction, and handed it to her. The page featured a picture of me, the skinny bitch author, weighing 205 pounds.
She stepped back, sat down and said “that changes everything…..now I’ll listen”
The book was the same, but my backstory changed it for her. And I get it. There are few things more galling than a toned trainer or nutritionist putting out a weight loss or fitness book, and to learn later that they were serial consumers of liposuction or used dangerous methods for their own weight control. The world is photoshopped enough – we don’t need photoshopped messages too. My flabby bits still dog me – but they are honest.
Most relationship books aren’t written by people who necessarily have good relationships (or any relationships). I have seen parenting books written by people without kids, books about mothers and daughters written by men without daughters, books about drugs written by people who have never even sampled them, and books about raising a family on a budget written by well heeled housewives.
But in the world of weight – I am now seeing you have to have walked the walk.
Her entire countenance changed – in her eyes I went from enemy to member of the sisterhood. I get it – I struggle with food EVERY day. The idea that one day you lose the weight and wake up and want to go to the gym and eat boiled chicken and kale is absurd. Every meal remains a struggle, weight maintenance is a fight for me, I would rather sit in the woods and read a book than hoof on a treadmill and I miss pasta and rice. I still want to go for the sweets when I am frustrated, lonely, angry, bored or sad.
The 200 pound woman is still me – and I remain protective of her – she is one of my many avatars and each one is a teacher. But the 200 pound woman did not listen to her instincts and this one does. That was the change, that is the message.
I also understand the cruelty of our culture toward the overweight. We treat overweight and obese people as though they are incompetent or invisible. I still remember that feeling of invisibility – it never fades. Sadly, overweight-ism remains an allowable prejudice in our culture. And that results in shame and anger – health must be found at any weight.
Weight, obesity, food, and our complex scripts around all of this are challenging – and I find it interesting that my message resonates because I was once carried the weight, and in fact still am. Struggling with food, fighting the demons, hating the gym.
I believe that the message of You Are WHY You Eat goes way beyond the table. A person who doesn’t struggle with weight can still learn lessons from this book about walking away from a broken relationship or job. And the rest of us can learn the hundreds of little lessons that shave off hundreds of pesky calories.
I did walk the walk and now I get to talk the talk. If my being heavy gives more “weight” to my message – then so be it. I would love nothing more than to bring every person out there back to the beautiful machine that is you – at any weight.