Fat PeopleFat People is an entirely unique fictional look at the emotions and experiences of those who live to eat: the estrangement, loneliness, embarrassment, fear, defeated sexuality, unresolved anger, but also the simple pleasure of food.
I am a man of girth, overweight. Fat. There, I said it. But what does it mean? Physiologically it means simply that I consume more calories than I burn, nothing more, nothing less.
Genetically it means my body mimics those of my forebears and that the beginning of a diet signals to my brain the beginning of a decade-long drought, loss of crops, planetary starvation and impending death, so my metabolism becomes more efficient and turns a fiddlehead and white vinegar salad into reveries of roast haunch of brontosaurus.
It also means the range of clothing styles available in my size at the local lanky and rotund shop is limited to a pair of equatorial shorts that come down to my ankles with pockets too low to reach that would hold a couple of roast chickens, and perhaps a few billowing Hawaiian shirts the size of a Montreal garage or the topgallant from one of the tall ships. It’s always seemed to me that the clothes of alien cultures from Arabia and Japan would be more comfortable but I am not drawn to the knotted diapers preferred by sumo wrestlers.
In boarding school, where loafers meant never having to tie your shoes, only rarely was I called on to bend over and suffer the humiliation of a burst seam in the nether regions, but I had this licked. I kept a small stapler in my book bag for hasty repairs of a blown seam, fast and effective, at least until the next time I bent over and fired live shrapnel around the room.
I am one of those people for whom simply entering a gym or spa sets off psychic alarms. The idea of repetitive exercise under fluorescent lights surrounded by bulb-tanned men and women in sweat- wicking Lycra invites for me comparison with long overdue dental work.
Today, I have let go of dieting altogether and simply begin each day with some gratitude for the good food I have to eat with a loving family and friends.
I have also begun doing yoga. At first it felt like trying to do origami with a boneless pork roast, but my body is beginning to get used to the sun salutations. I am struggling a bit with the warrior positions and some of the sailor’s knots. My favorite position so far is the “corpse” pose, a resting pose.
I have learned to be grateful for the bounty of fresh local food available and have always taken pleasure in the careful preparation of food.
I love working in the Vermont woods, clearing, thinning, hauling brush, splitting and stacking firewood, and building stone walls. This work is aerobic, strengthening, spiritual and, unlike exercise, has a purpose beyond the self.
It has taken me years to get comfortable with this three-score year old body. The time has come to simply let go of the obsessive relationship with food, enjoy what is good, avoid what is bad, and begin everyday anew.
Fat People is an entirely unique fictional look at the emotions and experiences of those who live to eat: the estrangement, loneliness, embarrassment, fear, defeated sexuality, unresolved anger, but also the simple pleasure of food.
As a society, we avoid the f-word when, in fact, many of us are Fat People. Diet books, cookbooks and clinical eating disorder books are a significant sector of the publishing industry, but little or no fiction exists to convey the emotional and experiential aspects of obesity, the juxtapositions of pain and sybaritic pleasure that coexist within the person living with an eating disorder or, more simply, with a predilection to overindulge in the pleasures of food. Publishing is laden with epiphany diets and weight loss schemes that form the basis of a largely fraudulent, multi-billion dollar business perpetuated by a 95% failure rate. Fat People will acquaint the reader with people who over eat, their fears, their joys and their sorrows. It will help the reader better understand the complex relationship between the emotional insecurity, the palliative impact of highly refined food and its role in the cycle of addiction. This book is both a personal narrative and a sympathetically observed one.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bill Schubart was born in New York City. His father died in the Philippines before his birth. Soon after, his widowed mother moved them both to Morrisville, Vermont, where she later remarried and had two more children. Schubart attended Exeter Academy, Kenyon College and graduated from UVM with a degree in French. Over the years, he co-founded Philo Records and Resolution, and has been active in various cultural, civic and business organizations throughout his lifetime in Vermont. He has four children and lives and writes in Hinesburg with his wife Kate.
- Originally published:
Available as an ebook in all formats