Women's obsession with weight batty.
COLUMN: Dianne Williamson
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was fat shamed last week. He's not the first victim, but he's perhaps the most famous and feisty.
On Tuesday, the roly-poly pol suggested that Connie Mariano, former White House physician turned professional scold, shut her pie hole after she offered unsolicited concern on CNN that he's so fat he could die.
"I want him to run. I just want him to lose weight," Mariano said. "I'm a physician more than I'm a Democrat or Republican. And I'm worried about this man dying in office."
In response, the outspoken governor called Mariano a "hack" and told her to "shut up" unless she wanted to fly to New Jersey and review his medical history. It wasn't the most diplomatic rejoinder, but I'm betting the poor guy is fed up with people calling him fat because he already knows how much he weighs and doesn't need some snooty doctor on cable news feigning prime-time concern about his health.
My colleague knows how he feels. The day after the doc sounded off, she was telling me about her own recent experience with a meddling mother-in-law.
"She called me the day after the family went out to dinner," she remembered. "She says, `This is a difficult phone call to make, and I hope it doesn't offend you. But I've noticed you've gained an awful lot of weight. I'm just calling because I'm concerned and I'm doing it out of love.'"
Out of love? Fat chance. My colleague said she was shocked, embarrassed and angry. But to underscore the difference between men and women, she simply thanked her mother-in-law and proceeded to feel bad about herself.
"No one is more aware of the fact that I've gained weight than me, because I go into my closet every day," she said. Of her mother-in-law, she added, "She's about as deep as a puddle. She puts a lot of pride on appearances."
She's not the only one, obviously, and the focus on Christie's girth is just the latest manifestation of our national obsession with weight and waistlines, with diets and desirability, with a near-hysterical need to lose pounds and pass judgment on those who don't.
Nowhere is this obsession more prevalent than among middle-aged women. This demographic includes me, and ladies, allow me to speak from the bottom of my heart: I, too, could die. From boredom.
I'm sick of meeting friends for dinner and hear the topic turn to juice diets rather than juicy gossip. I'm tired of listening to a friend discuss another girlfriend who's put on 10 pounds, her voice dropping with pity as though this poor girl was diagnosed with leprosy. I'm bored silly with the latest exercise trend, the latest health fad, the best advice for losing those pesky five pounds.
I'm not saying we shouldn't strive to stay healthy, or that women shouldn't care about looking their best. In the spirit of full disclosure, I've recently lost 12 pounds and have been reintroduced to belts. But I'll never be thin at my age because I enjoy food and yes, cocktails, as I happen to be alive. I've found a balance that works for me, and an eating plan that still includes Milk Duds and the occasional martini, although not in the same glass.
"Imagine how much more weight you'd lose if you cut out the sugar," a well-meaning friend mentioned recently, and I happily ignored her.
I wish more women were as feisty as Chris Christie, although a female version of him could never exist. A woman as large as Christie would never get elected to such a high office. And imagine a loud mouth, obese female politician with three chins going around telling other people to shut up. I, personally, would buy tickets. But it could never happen, because the double standard is alive and well.
Women are well aware of this, and I suppose I shouldn't be so hard on them. But consider the depressing stats. On any given day, 45 percent of women are on a diet, according to the National Eating Disorders Association. On average, we think about our bodies eight times a day. About 80 percent of women are dissatisfied with their appearance, although I'd put that figure at closer to 100 percent.I know a woman who could vie with Olive Oyl for skinny honors. She loves wine, but won't have more than one glass with dinner because of the Weight Watchers points. I want to shake this woman and tell her to seize the day, but fear her bones would rattle.
To paraphrase a saying, no woman on her deathbed ever wishes she spent more time obsessing about her waistline. Life is short, ladies. My colleague with the obnoxious mother-in-law agrees.
"I appreciate that Christie can eat a doughnut on national television," she said. "There are lots of women in the world who need to eat a few cookies." Contact Dianne Williamson via email at email@example.com.
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|Title Annotation:||LOCAL NEWS|
|Publication:||Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)|
|Date:||Feb 10, 2013|
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