Does This Blog Make Me Look Fat?

Thu, December 13, 2007


Nigella Lawson has apparently hit a nerve in Britain.

Some of her fans think she’s crossed the line from her figure being “womanly” to just plain old fat.

Sound harsh? It’s no secret that Lawson, the cookbook queen and self-proclaimed Domestic Goddess, is proudly on the zaftig side. But according to one news report, viewers of her latest show have been complaining that they think she’s packing on the pounds in an unhealthy way.

Nigella’s response? Maybe she has gained a few, she says, “but in real life, this is normal size.”

Lawson wonders, in response to those critics, when did the “great god of skinny” topple that of beauty?

A larger question might be, why are we all so critical of our shapes, no matter what they are? Not a great topic to raise in the midst of our holiday season affair with food, but it seems we hate the skinny girls, we mock the fat girls and we’re always checking the scale to see if we’ve shed an ounce here or there — when do we get to be happy with ourselves the way we are right in this moment?

I’m just as guilty of this whole game as any other woman. There are times when it’s hard not to be worried about weight, like when those jeans just don’t fit they way they used to. When I worked up the courage to say something to my doctor at last month’s annual visit, I asked about how my weight compared to the visit before that. She looked up quickly from her chart, stared me in the eye and said, “You’re not trying to lose weight, are you?”

See, I’m not skinny and I’m not fat (altho’ some have said I’m small enough to fit in your pocket!)

According to my doctor and the BMI charts, I’m JUUUSST right. But it’s hard not to be self-critical as I make my way through my forties and my body takes on a different shape than it had 20 years ago. How have we gotten to a place where those of us who fit neatly onto those height/weight charts are worried about how we look, too?

Perhaps our gift to ourselves this December should be to embrace Nigella’s attitude and get more comfortable in our skins and enjoy our holiday indulgences like the pleasures of homemade cookies and other goodies we only get this time of year.

We should be able to have treats sometimes and not be constantly obsessed with weight. What a great holiday gift that would be!

Cross-posted from PunditMom’s Spin Cycle.

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19 Responses to “Does This Blog Make Me Look Fat?”

  1. Julie Pippert Says:

    AMEN PunditMom!!!

    Imagine the gift we give our daughters if we know how to love ourselves as we are and for who we are. I struggle with it every day but I try so hard for their sake, with a big prayer that it is easier for them.

    I feel an idea coming on…

    Using My Words

  2. Mary Says:

    Couldn’t agree more. Your post hit two inter-related issues: our bodies change as we age yet we still (like all women) are bound to the svelte body (that’s probably more naturally occurring in youth). It’s funny to read this just at this moment because I’m dressing to go to the theater and tried on ten different tops to find the one that best hit my tummy: and I am naturally thin, coming from two grandmas who lived their middle years at five feet, one hundred pounds. I miss the pre-pregnancy, youthful body but well–that’s just gone. Trying to love and gussy up the one I have! Oh – and the other really annoying thing right now is the conflation of health and beauty. Much that masquerades as issues of health is really beauty, lurking. Thanks for this!

  3. Paige Says:

    I absolutely love Nigella Lawson because it is so clear she loves life and is secure with herself.

    She’s a good role model, I think.

    So I think her critics need to step off.

  4. Maddy Says:

    Back in the sixties I lived in South Africa in the days of rich and poor, haves and have nots.

    It wasn’t until much later that I really understood the underlying politics. When the poor become rich they pack on the pounds to display their wealth, then when everyone is ‘rich’ everyone does the opposite, it’s quite bizarre.

    And I thoroughly agree, womanly shaped and happy to enjoy life.
    Best wishes

    This is my calling card or link“Whittereronautism”until blogger comments get themselves sorted out.

  5. Sornie Says:

    Coming from a guy, Nigella looks amazing in her picture and I appreciate women who aren’t Barbie in their weight range.

  6. Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah Says:

    How appropriate. I’ve been obsessing over my recent weight gain all week.

    I don’t know what our probelm is as a society, but I do know that as a woman I am treated differently depending on my size.

    Sad, but true.

  7. jen Says:

    Amen, sister. It’s about being a better friend to ourselves, isn’t it?

  8. Italian Woman Says:

    Does this blog make me fat? What a clever title. And you’re right about Nigella. I met her in Seattle and she is gorgeous in person. Shapely with a tiny waist. She’s a good role model. Some of the women on the Food Network look like they’re afraid to eat their own food. It’s not appetizing!
    Visual verification

  9. Mom Ma'am Me Says:

    I’m a big fan of Nigella’s recipes and shows, and now I can emphatically state that I think she’s a great person too. Anyone who rallies against society’s pressure to be thin, thin, thin has got me on their side!

  10. Alex Elliot Says:

    Here here! What a wonderful post. You’re absolutely right that as a society we always are critical of women’s weight.

  11. Redsy Says:

    You are cute cute and absolutely just right… Perhaps the issue for many of us is accepting ourselves and loving ourselves regardless of age, shape or mood. So many of us wear so many hair shirts around, there’s hardly room to breathe.

    I would totally make out with Nigella.. .She’s completely gorgeous!

  12. SUEB0B Says:

    I saw a picture today of Paris Hilton next to Nicole Ritchie. Paris is very thin, but compared to Nicole, she looks large. These are the images we see ALL the time, images that young women absorb.

    I have seen so much hate toward larger women lately. One friend was talking honestly about her weight-loss struggles on her blog and an anon troll commented about how she was a pig and needed to just eat less and exercise more…this in reponse to a heart-felt post.

    I guess fat people are one of the last groups we can ostracize without being politically incorrect. It scares me because I am among them.

  13. karrie Says:

    I am a fat vegan, for pete’s sake. The older I get, the more I believe that the natural variety of set weights is much wider than BMI charts allow. Health is more than the number on the scale, as is beauty.

    And criticizing a chef for being plump strikes me as totally bizarre.

  14. Mauigirl Says:

    Good points, PunditMom. Sadly in my own case, I have no problem looking the way I look, which is definitely on the chunky side these days. But my problems arise from the fast my feet and ankles are having problems (I’ve always had fallen arches but the additional weight I’ve put on over the past 10 years or so is probably making things worse) and it’s expensive to keep buying bigger pants! So I am still hoping to lose about 15 lbs. (and believe me I have more than that to spare) to help my poor beleaguered feet and fit into the large number of pants I have that are in the size that is now too tight to zip!

    Happy Holidays!

  15. Mauigirl Says:

    Uh, that was supposed to be “the fact that…” not “the fast.” Freudian slip perhaps?

  16. Mrs. G. Says:

    I would give up my massive dark chocolate stash to look like Nigella. Seriously. If I weren’t heterosexual and married for 18 years, I would so be afer her.

    What floors me is the gall of some people to feel like they need to address her (or anyone else’s size). The day that somebody feels the need to let me know they think I’m fat is the day I will shove a spatula down his or her throat.

    I am tired and weary of women beating themselves up AND judging other women about their size. It’s old. Enough already.

    Enjoy yourself before you die…that’s my motto. Great post.

  17. Mrs. Chicky Says:

    I think Nigella is an extremely beautiful woman… and that’s part of the problem for some people. She’s beautiful AND on the larger size. She’s a woman who is not afraid to eat and in our society we’re used to size 2 models who smoke and sip champagne but would never dream of eating something like brisket and mashed potatoes. I hope Nigella never gets skinny.

  18. Lawyer Mama Says:

    Ah, it’s so hard to just be comfortable in our own skin, isn’t it? GO, Nigella!

    And you are just right, PM. You look great – for ANY age!

  19. Jen K Says:

    I adore Nigella. She is my Athena-Nike of the kitchen. I’ve delighted in having a woman like Lawson front and center as a roll model for the baking set.

    Wonderful post! Perfect for the season.

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