Friday, June 12, 2009

Nia Vardalos: What's the Big Deal?

The marvelous Nia Vardalos has written a piece about her doctor-ordered weight loss. Though I would argue that weight loss is not as simple as throwing and retrieving a bag of Doritos (calories in minus calories out does not equal weight loss for everyone), I love her confidence and frankness.

I support all people in their quests for health. If weight loss (or gain!) happens to be part of that, then I support that, too. What I do not support is weight loss for the sake of making one's body fit the deranged ideal we have forced on us every time we wait in line at the grocery store. A woman gains weight, and she's "packed on the pounds." If she loses weight, she's "got her body back." If she loses "too much" weight, she must have an eating disorder.

Our bodies are never good enough. There are people who make obscene amounts of money off the self-hatred they drill into our minds. What's it going to take to get you mad enough to refuse to buy in?


So, what exactly is up with my weight loss? I get hit with this awkward question daily and have answered it in press interviews, at the grocery store, at the newspaper stand. Why? Because I see their anxious, open faces needing the secret, the new pill, the cure, anything. Just please share the secret. So I hesitantly answer and am always met with the same response: the glaze-eye slack-jawed face.

Because they don’t want to hear the truth: I had a blood sugar problem so my Doctor ordered me to lose weight, it was really hard but I did it through diet, exercise and it took a year.

This is when the boredom sets in on the querying person. I might as well just shove an Ambien up their nostril. The gleam in their eye fades and they get sleepy.

No one wants to hear the facts about weight loss. It’s simple. Take that bag of Doritos and throw it as far as you can. Now chase after it. Pick it up, do it again.

Or don’t. You don’t have to lose weight, unless like me, it becomes an issue of health. I thought I was attractive when I shot ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding.’ Studio executives and movie reviewers let me know I had a confidence in my looks that was not shared by them. In other words: they labeled me with words like, overweight, unattractive, unappealing. Hey, just say fat. I love the word fat. I used it in the title. It’s actually not a naughty word. We give it a power it actually doesn’t have. So, you’re fat. Big deal.


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