“I hate this future.”
Stacey and Dan looked at me with confused faces.
“I don’t like the future that this book has set up. It’s too depressing.”
They were still confused, so I tried explaining more.
“In this book, being thin is like a religion. It’s against the law to be fat.”
“That’s not a diet book?” I don’t remember who asked me.
“No. It’s sci-fi and I hate this future.”
“We thought you were reading a diet book or maybe a non-fiction book about the diet industry.”
It was then that I realized that I was already living in the future that I hated. I was already working toward a goal that I despised. We talked about the insurance industry and the inevitable future of taxation on the overweight (whether they call it premiums or not, it’s still taxation). We talked about the concept of beauty that has become so attached to the concept of physical fitness. The conversation got heated. I felt guilty for interrupting their game of poker.
Last weekend, I found myself halfway through the book, desperate to finish it. I didn’t really care how it ended. I just wanted all the characters in the book to quit suffering. There wasn’t a happy life in the mix. Every person in this book was miserable and I just wanted the pain to end.
Mike suggested that I just stop reading it, but I couldn’t. I had to find out if they escaped. I had to find out if they rescued their sister. I had find out if they brought down the evil empire. Worse than Darth Vader, Reverend Earl had to be taken out. I couldn’t have stopped reading this book in the middle any more than I could have stopped breathing.
I don’t know if this is a recommendation or not. It was a good book with good writing and a good ending, but it wasn’t enjoyable. It wasn’t light reading. It brought up many issues for me and for a brief moment, I considered abandoning all exercise and healthy eating habits. It was a difficult book for me to read.
This is a book about an unhealthy obsession with physical appearance. It has nothing to do with healthy eating. It has nothing to do with the joy of physical exertion. It has nothing to with loving your body, no matter how it looks. This book is about altering the physical form at all costs. Take the pills. Starve. Exercise to exertion. Eat until you are gorged. Do whatever it takes to get the body that is “beautiful.” It’s sheer hell and I’ve been there.
Right now, I’m healthier than I’ve ever been in my life. I exercise regularly doing activities that I enjoy. I eat nutritious and delicious food. I enjoy treats with moderation. I have finally learned to control my bingeing. I didn’t get here with the attitude that I should do whatever it takes to get that beautiful body. I got here because I wanted to be healthy. I was sick of being sick. The doctor told me that there was nothing the matter with my digestive system. It was sick because I was eating poorly. I needed to learn how to be healthy. Learning how to be healthy has gotten me to where I am today.
That’s why this book was so scary to me. When I was at the point in my life that I was willing to do anything to get a fit body, I ended up making myself worse. The minute I stopped focusing on appearance and started concentrating on health, I started to get better. That exact thing happened to one of the characters in this book, but it was so subtle that I don’t think the author intended it to be the message of the book. I really don’t know what I think about this book. I’m just glad I finished reading it so I can get my head out of that sci-fi future.