Religion & Beliefs

The Secret: What’s Your Secret Weight?

Last night I watched a PBS documentary called Fat: What No One Is Telling You. Narrated in Meredith Vieira’s empathic alto, it introduced viewers to a handful of Americans struggling with obesity. The show took a stand against weight-based prejudice … Read More

By / April 12, 2007

Last night I watched a PBS documentary called Fat: What No One Is Telling You. Narrated in Meredith Vieira’s empathic alto, it introduced viewers to a handful of Americans struggling with obesity. The show took a stand against weight-based prejudice by showing overweight men, women and children engaged in a struggle against what all the scientists and doctors on the show deemed a biological imperative. The big question: Why can’t these people be who they want to be? What’s stopping them—self control, or forces beyond their control? Hovering over all the compelling research presented by the scientists was the haze of defeat. No matter how successful these people were in other areas of their lives—as parents, Microsoft employees, public health advocates—they seemed a little bit pathetic. Here they are running on a treadmill—fat. Here they are grilling chicken breasts—still fat. Here they are sitting in a bariatric surgeon’s office—fatter than ever. In our culture, obesity is a failure no one can hide. Being overweight is like wearing a sign that says “I am not in control of my own destiny.” Sure, science has proven that setpoints and leptin and serotonin levels and a second gut-brain are really in control of our weight, but most people—even fat people—believe the obese could be thin, if they really wanted to be. If they weren’t so lazy. OK, so it may be harder for a genetically fat person to develop Nicole Richie’s physique, but so what? It’s harder for learning-disabled people to do well in school, but they still manage to win Nobel prizes. It’s harder for Heather Mills to suffer through Dancing With The Stars on only one leg, but she twirls away. Thin people ridicule fat people’s failure to get a hold of themselves; fat people ridicule themselves even more for it. I have struggled to keep my own weight down for my entire life, trying this diet, that vitamin, this yoga class, that fiber capsule—always ending up voluptuous and self-punishing. Could The Secret put an end to my lifelong battle? Rhonda Byrne says yes.