Not long ago I posted a short story in English. I stated that, as a non-practising English teacher, I need to keep up my skills and occasionally try my hand at some English prose. This time it’s an essay.

On being fat

When I was fifteen I joined a basketball club. My team uniform consisted of a shirt with the colour of an eggplant bearing the number 51 and a pair of grey shorts. It was a smart outfit.
As I spent more time sitting on the bench than playing I reverted to sports in which a more cerebral approach was called for.

Last week I discovered the grey pair of shorts at the bottom of my wardrobe and was dumbfounded when I looked at the size of it. Should I try it on, it could not contain even half of my present-day self.

I gained some weight in the years that have passed since my basketball days.

I do not relish my reflection when I accidentally pass a mirror after having showered, but I’m not one of those people who always worry about their appearance either. I’m a reasonably happy person and there is quite a lot of me.

I am aware of the fact that a thin person has a smaller chance of succumbing to a disease than a hefty one, but this does not compel me to try to lose weight.
I am not continually stuffing food into my mouth, I do try to cycle or walk instead of driving my car but I have never followed a diet or visited a gym.

To be honest: I do not care for people who are obsessed with keeping slim. They spend hours “working out” and can’t talk about anything else than their body. They eat broccoli and slurp water from plastic bottles.

This narcissistic obsession repulses me. In modern Western society people consider being a little overweight as one of their greatest problems while in other parts of the world people are starving.

Food is a trending topic. Each day some specialist offers new insight in what we ought to eat and what not to. Food that used to be wholesome can suddenly turn into poison. “You still eat bread?” Time and time again foodies ensure us that they have come across the ideal diet. Eat this and you’ll lose 10 pounds overnight! Eat that and you’ll have enough energy to climb Kilimanjaro. If you just listen to them and follow their advice, you’ll live forever!

Their perpetually hungry acolytes dutifully follow their lead and start the day with a bowl of Tibetan nuts in goat’s milk.

Scientists distinguish between brown fat and white fat. They say that white fat is bad and brown fat is good.
I don’t know the colour of my fat, just that it is mine!

I choose not to be a member of the congregation of lettuce eaters with their flat tummies and leathery skin. I refuse to talk about food all the time, I prefer eating it. I know that my life expectancy is not as good as theirs, but I’d rather die a little bit sooner than copy the decadent lifestyle of these dietary fundamentalists. (I wonder what sound two of these skeletons produce when they have sex. Do they rattle?)

Being fat has its consequences:

I always have to carry the equivalent of a toddler wherever I go, but that’s not too bad because it creates a bond with pregnant women.

I have to do my best not to fall ill or die in high places because I do not want to cause problems if I have to be carried to an ambulance. This is not too difficult since I have claustrophobic tendencies and vertigo.

I have to listen patiently when well-meaning people give me their advice on how to lose weight. They apparently don’t know that it all comes down to two things: eat less an exercise more. These are very good rules, but should not be followed too ardently of course.

I discovered that I can live with these consequences.

One of my friends is also a stocky person. When her daughter was asked to describe her mother she had to think for a while. But then she found the right words: “My mother is soft.”

Let’s listen to the children.

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