Living at home means I’m still at the will of my parents. And the will of my mum this week was to give up sugar. A woman she works with – whom Mum admires for her spirituality and indignant quest to go through menopause without medication – recently decided to give sugar the flick. Magically, not only did her menopausal symptoms go away, but she lost a load of weight. I’m not in any way, shape or form going through menopause and neither is my mum (I don’t think), so this diet really didn’t have anything to do with us. Except to make us lose a load of weight. But that woman probably also exercises and salutes the sun and all that jazz my wobbly thighs and chubby cheeks can’t be bothered committing to.
My mum’s spontaneity soon got the best of her, and she eventually realised that a lonely, sterile woman had a much better chance of giving up sugar altogether than a woman with a husband and three teenagers. Plus, sugar is in everything. When I started to point out the healthy sugars in fruits and remind Mum that she is hypoglycemic and will probably pass out without it, I began to realise what she was doing. She was doing it to try and make me lose weight.
None of my thoughts seemed to persuade her. All mums get shit done, and my mother dearest is no different. The next morning, there was a list of exceptions and allowances that I was allowed to edit, plus a newly-purchased eBook. The sugar ban was serious, and it was being inflicted on the whole family. I edited my mum’s list from allowing alcohol to completely forbidding it. If she was going to force me to give up chocolate, I was going to cut her off from her beloved cask wine.
The whole business reminded me of when I was little and my parents went along to a seminar and watched a tooth dissolve in a cup of coke. The next day, it was like a military operation. All the soft drinks were transferred from the fridge to a laundry basket, then dragged outside and poured on the lemon tree.
Why can’t I just eat whatever? And visit the newly-opened American food store in my local shopping centre each afternoon? Most of my reasoning in visiting is that the owner is an incredibly attractive European man with a firm knowledge of 80s tunes anyway. I honestly have no issue with my weight. I’m not going to cause a sinkhole, but I’m not going to enter a beauty pageant with my gaping box gap either. But society seems to have a very firm grasp on how to deal with anyone above a size eight.
When I sit next to someone on a train, they sigh deeply and act like I’m crushing them against the window and the last thing they are going to see is the failing businesses of the eastern suburbs. What a disappointing way to go. People who act this way towards someone larger deserve death by thigh fat and love handles and roly poly bellies smothering them against a transparent surface as other fatties laugh their ridiculous double chins off. Laughing burns calories, so their death would be doing us a great service.
A customer at my work told me I shouldn’t wear such a tight skirt if I have such a big bottom. She told me it was distracting and that I shouldn’t be proud of my death sentence. Another woman in a shop told me not to bother any with any of the clothes because they weren’t made for “girls like me”. The most horrific weight taunt was by a male customer, who said, “Clear the fat out of my ears so you can hear me, you fucking moron!” Now we all know fat doesn’t affect hearing, but that was his first reaction to me. It wasn’t my slight moustache or my failing personal hygiene: it was my size.
Whilst my weight is of no concern to me, my mum sadly has taken on board all the stories I have told her. So I’m now on a detox, and an addiction I’ve taken a lifetime to build is now going to be taken away very dramatically. Sugar replacements may give you breast cancer, but having cancer is worse than being fat… I think. At this stage in my no sugar journey, I’m doing fine. We shall see what happens when the withdrawals kick in.
Photo by Wanderlust Child. By Bridget Krusec