Tapestry

Fat and loving it: this man says life improved when he gained weight

Writer and activist Anshman Iddamsetty says in today's body-conscious society, being fat and happy about it is seen as an affront to social expectations
Anshuman Iddamsetty is fighting to change assumptions about fatness. His upcoming book, 'Hello Pig: Notes For a Fat Future' is scheduled for publication in the fall of 2019. (Troy Manning)
Listen35:47

Anshuman Iddamsetty has always been attracted to fat people.

Iddamsetty is a writer and host of the podcast Vanguard by Shopify Studios.

"There's nothing like hugging someone who is larger than you and your fingers can never meet. Just thinking about it sends chills," he told Mary Hynes, host of Tapestry on CBC radio.

But Iddamsetty was skinny, a self-described "bag of bones."

Then, as it happens, he put on some weight. Rather than feeling bad about it, he liked it. The more he gained, the better he felt.

Everything absolutely changed the moment I chose to gain weight.- Anshuman Iddamsetty

"I became more present. I became comfortable in my body. The experience of embodiment, however you want to define that, that felt so right. It felt right to take up as much space as possible," he said.

Iddamsetty doesn't know where his love for fatness came from; for him it doesn't matter, it's his inclination and he embraces it.

As his weight continued to grow, so did the disapproval of others.

The disapproval comes in the form of insults, like when people hurl fat-related taunts at him from passing cars.

Transgressing societal norms

But it also comes more subtly — like when people tell him he's promoting an unhealthy lifestyle.

Iddamsetty said the disapproval is as much about his rejection of social norms and expectations as it is about being fat.

Society values thinness, he said. Those who don't achieve thinness are still expected to play along and at least strive for it.

Someone like him —  who is neither thin, nor striving to be thin — is transgressing social norms.

Anshuman Iddamsetty says being fat and happy about it 'is a violation of the social contract.' (Troy Manning)

That kind of transgression, he said, unsettles people who hold tightly to those norms.

But Iddamsetty would rather spend his time focussing on his own life, than on the expectations of others.

"The enduring message is 'you will never be enough.' Meantime I'm running out of life. I'm running out of ... time to be here. We all are. Who knows what's ahead of me?" he said.

He pointed to a common trope of weight-loss success stories: "we're always told, 'my life begins at this point ... once I've lost the pounds ... once everything is shed, the real me emerges.'"

For him, he said, it was the opposite.

"Everything absolutely changed the moment I chose to gain weight," Iddamsetty said.


Click "listen," above to hear the whole interview.

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