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I have been informed that many people enjoy my company, and I am glad, for to most folk I aim to be kind and generous. For I would not see anyone suffer, not by my hand nor within my sight nor out of it. I try to be agreeable even if I risk letting myself be walked all over, only trying to be disagreeable if someone else is being walked all over. And so most people I meet apparently like me. It feels good.

Alas, here I shall say something that will make everyone hate me:

I do not have to "work off" any calories because no matter what I eat or how much, I do not gain weight.


But on a more serious note, the phrase "work off the calories" implies some kind of penalty for eating food, as if food was not meant to be enjoyed, only feared. The phrase feels like one of those things that our culture uses to push people right to the edge of eating disorders. We dress up eating disorders all fancy by calling them "diets" but doing that is like painting bright colors over rotted wood.

It makes me sad to think that someone could sit down to a hearty meal, which is supposed to be a good time to enjoy life and relax, and yet find themselves thinking, "I shall have to punish myself for this later." We are misled by duplicitous food marketing, poorly-reported nutrition science, and workplace appearance standards, into blaming ourselves, individually, for being anything less than an ideal shape — such that a good meal, that which could heal the heart, becomes something fearful.

Such a thing is easy for me to say because I do not gain weight on a general basis but oh, even I have felt the beguiling call to be skinnier], to look PERFECT. There were years of my youth where I myself was prone to an eating disorder. There were times, thankfully short times, when I even tried dieting. Thank goodness the lure of balogna was stronger! I judged my appearance on how skinny I was and thank goodness that never really changed, or else I would have hated myself at a young and formative age, long before I had the strength to resist the worst effects of self-hatred. I am unsettled to think about how even I was on the edge of starving myself, at an age when I was growing fast and needed food.

And I am deeply unsettled to think about how many of the young people I have known, who were pretty by the standards of being skinny, may have been suffering from eating disorders. The number is probably higher than I would guess.

I eat without guilt now. I am sorry to know that not everyone does. I wish people could eat heartily and be merry, free from guilt and free — just for a moment —from the cares of the world. We all need that. Especially if our days work us to smithereens and worry us to tears. A good meal is meant to be a reassuring moment. If people find that peace impossible to feel, because they have been convinced to feel guilty about eating, then they have had something good and holy stolen from them, and in this I will be disagreeable: I will not forgive the people whose money is made by selling the idea of dieting.

The one means by which I or anyone has actually benefited from this mad quest for skinniness is in the invention of amphetamines, which were developed as appetite suppressants and later discovered to help ease the effects of ADHD.

Otherwise the whole business is baloney. 

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