Solve fat by letting the animals run free

This article first appeared in the Herald Sun

Every year around now, my NYE resolution to lose weight and get fitter falls apart. It’s the number one resolution around the world, so I’m guessing I’m not alone.

Growing up and out, I was a chubby child, a roly-poly teenager, meaty in my twenties, flabby through my thirties, and now I’m just a plain ol’ jelly-belly. All punctuated by slimmer periods and encouragement like, ‘You look so healthy. You’re down to two chins!’

When slim I rarely slacken, but the weight always sneaks back on, like a perverse magic trick, and I hear the same thing from the similarly rotund in my sphere of interaction.

Those who’ve never had to withstand chocolate bars whispering, ‘You know you want me’, and fries screaming ‘Put me inside you!’ don’t understand why it’s so hard. They see fat as a lack of self-care, self-control and self-esteem, and for years I agreed with them.

This year, before launching myself off the cliff of restraint into an ocean of delicious resignation, I decided to look past the fad diets, informercial exercise equipment, and constant judgement from all of society, and I learned a few things.

Apparently, when it comes to weight gain, we’re all different. Who knew! Some people, usually the fat ones, need less food and burn calories slower. So, even if they eat the same as others, still end up lugging extra kilos and emotional issues. Others find food tastier, so harder to resist than laughing at me after I’ve again walked into a glass screen door.

Another problem, and why keeping the weight off isn’t as simple as ‘eat less, exercise more’, is that our bodies fight to get back to the previous weight. Meaning if you do lose it, your body pulls countless tricks until you pile it back on.

All you think about is food, it tastes better, dopamine doses increase, and your self-control plummets. Being a formerly fat person in today’s world, you’re a heroin addict in a poppy field, a Kardashian among cameras, a hoarder at a flea market.

Also, the previously inflated burn calories more slowly than a fake log on a gas fire, but still faster than the microwave when I’m hungry. Which together partly explains why nearly all those on the ‘Biggest Loser’ and anyone who reduces the rolls down to a slice, often end up rolling it back on.

It is possible to lose weight and keep it off, but it takes a lifetime of exercise and diligence, and nobody’s got time for that. Especially when there’s so much good stuff on TV, social media won’t check itself, and you can get ready meals without leaving your car or couch.

The other reasons weight gain is easier than Googling ‘diet’, and taking it off is harder than reading the results, is there’s money in making us fat and keeping us that way, and a sad lack of adverts for apples.

Problems that could easily be solved by a total government subsidy for apples, and enforcing a true paleo diet. No more meat section in any supermarket, to fix the obesity crisis we need to let all the tasty animals run free, and just like in caveman times, force us to catch our own food.

The other option is for everyone, especially the chunky, to be more understanding of how hard it is, and most importantly, to keep trying anyway.

This article first appeared in the Herald Sun

Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian.

His second comedy memoir ‘Going Out of My Mined’ is available now.

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