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The Sunday Read: ‘I’ve Always Struggled With My Weight. Losing It Didn’t Mean Winning.’

The Daily

The New York Times

News, Daily News

4.597.8K Ratings

🗓️ 5 June 2022

⏱️ 34 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


We cannot escape our bodies. So how do we reconcile them with who we really are? Sam Anderson, a staff writer, considers this particular conundrum of the human condition by recounting his lifelong struggle to maintain a healthy weight: his teenage triumph over the “legendary snacker” he was in middle school, the slow creep of the pounds in early adulthood, and the pandemic’s expansive effect on his waistline. Anderson also explores what it takes to monitor food consumption, the linguistic legacy of 1980s diet culture, the curse of intergenerational weight problems, the natural limitations of weight-loss efforts and the importance of self-acceptance.

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We are hopefully at the semi-end of a giant global pandemic, and in all the huge swirl


of emotions that comes with that pandemic, I've been having a lot of feelings lately


about my weight and my body.


It's like a lot of people I put on some serious pounds during quarantine.


Stress eating snacks, some glasses of wine.


I remember near the beginning there were jokes about the COVID-19, the 19 pounds that


people gained in quarantine.


Mine was significantly more than that.


And at a certain point, I started to feel pretty bad about it and decided to try to lose


that weight.


My name is Sam Anderson and I'm a staff writer for the New York Times magazine.


I was talking to my editor on the phone about all this recently.


Just casually, hey, I actually lost my pandemic weight using a weight loss app recently and


I feel really silly about it and I have mixed feelings about this whole process and she


said, oh, you have to write an essay about this.


And that made me really think about my relationship to my body and the danger of diet culture,


but also the self-esteem that gets wrapped up in how our bodies look and what losing weight


really means and if it changes anything about you as a person.


So I'm going to share a piece I wrote for the New York Times magazine health issue about


gaining weight and losing weight in just what it means to be a human being walking around


and a meat suit all the time.


There were a few bad moments over the course of a few bad months that led me to download


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