Added: Tasheba Molyneux - Date: 05.08.2021 21:40 - Views: 25921 - Clicks: 9047
T here isn't much that Emma Allen doesn't know about dieting. She once gave up solid food for four months. It didn't work out. She tried the weight-loss programme NutriSystem, but needless to say, they didn't help either. She was even one of the first generation of Atkins devotees who were required, among other things, to test their own urine.
Yet while she was publicly attempting to shed the pounds, secretly, Emma liked being overweight. As she had fantasies of taking a pill that would make her fatter and fatter until she eventually just floated away. She never told anyone, but when she got pregnant 18 years ago, everything changed. The possibility of thinking about food differently was a big turning point. Over the next 10 years, Emma immersed herself in the world of size politics. She paid closer attention to the size liberation movement: a political movement that started in the s and made size an axis of oppression.
Then three years ago she finally took the decision to do something she had always wanted to do. There came a time when I wanted to explore," she says. How would I feel about actually gaining weight, would I enjoy it? Emma is a year-old professor at a university in the north-west of England. She is also a "gainer" — sometimes known as a "feedee" — who overeats in an active attempt to put on weight.
Although there are no statistics on the of people doing this, gaining is more common than one might think. This week Donna Simpson, a year-old mother from New Jersey who weighs 43st, made headlines by revealing that her ongoing weight gain was part of her plan to become the fattest woman on earth. Gaining is often linked to feederism; a topic that occasionally pops up as freakshow fodder in magazines, chat shows or documentaries such as Fat Girls and Feeders: a Channel 4 documentary. This focused on the relationships between men and the overweight, vulnerable women they chose to fatten to immobility and beyond.
Yet many women actively seek to gain weight of their own volition. There are many websites and groups dedicated to gaining but Fantasy Feeder FF to its members is perhaps the most comprehensive. There are forums, stories and photographs that show unbuttoned blouses revealing pot bellies, wobbly tummies and impressive mounds of flesh cascading over waistbands. Large bosoms escape the confines of their bras, and rolls ripple beneath over-stretched T-shirts. Before and after pictures show the usual weight transformation journey, but in reverse. The poses are proud, matter-of-fact and often sexual.
There are lots of men on the site, but it is the images of female gainers that catch the eye. In our present landscape of body blandness, they stand out as controversial, bold and visually political. Fat is still, most definitely, a feminist issue for some female gainers.
I always thought that these practices were ridiculous; so that made it easier to go against the norm. Gaining is very liberating. Others say they like making a statement with their weight because it challenges our stereotypical notions of beauty. Some, like Helen Gibson, a year-old nurse from the Midlands, gain weight simply to please themselves. My tummy returned to its former glory — fat, soft and flabby, just how it should be.
Helen's husband knows she is a gainer, as do friends, who are well aware of how much she "adores being fat"; understandably, though, being an NHS employee, she cannot come out of the gaining closet completely. As a nurse, says Helen, she cannot be seen to publicly advocate being overweight. For others, anonymity is the result of not wanting anyone to know, which might explain the profusion of headless pictures on the FF website. As any gainer will tell you, life outside the community can be harsh. There is still a huge amount of derision and discrimination towards the obese, so the decision to keep their gaining a secret isn't really a surprise.
Lauren, a year-old American gainer, says she does not want to offer more ammunition to people by explaining the predilection. For many non-gainers, the practice seems strange because of the health implications — both physical and psychological. Obesity experts say that being overweight can cause everything from heart problems and diabetes to high blood pressure and gall stones. The message is that fat and health don't mix. But Emma disagrees.
The data actually suggests that it has to do with activity, and not size. People respond badly to anything that asks them to reconfigure their presumptions and preconceptions. Psychologically, gaining is still a grey area. While one would assume purposefully overeating to gain weight is as much of a disorder as not eating, Susan Ringwood, chief executive of Beating Eating Disorders Beat , says that isn't the case.
Another theory, says psychotherapist Phillip Hodson, is that intentional weight gain for women could well be an avoidance tactic: they don't want to attract the unwanted attention of men, so they transform themselves into something deemed conventionally unattractive. Most women don't feel this way, but it could be true for a small minority. Some women use food to become so different from the stereotype and to avoid all that is involved in fitting that stereotype: from wolf whistles to being propositioned. It's a thought, but it doesn't appear to mean anything to Emma or Helen who define weight gain in very sexual terms.
Although Donna Simpson's press coverage glossed over the sexual aspect of gaining, for them, more fat means more sex appeal; the extra flesh that everyone else is attempting to shed fuels their desires. Emma goes one step further to say that gaining is an intrinsic part of her sexual identity. She cannot gain at the moment because of MS and diabetes, but still calls herself a gainer.
For most of us, weight gain seems simple: a bit too much butter on your toast and one chocolate biscuit too many can mean the difference between zipping up your jeans or not. But the question of how to gain weight is quite a hot topic on Fantasy Feeder. There are "Eat Yourself Fat" tailormade diet plans to increase your weight, and the advice ranges from eating ice cream before bed to homemade milkshakes and lots more pasta.
While some favour junk food overload, others, like Emma, say that it is the very antithesis of what gaining is about. I need a big variety, because what's appealing to me are contrasts of textures and tastes and aromas and colours. I mean, I love pasta, but I'm not going to eat four servings of it. Instead Emma maintains a healthy eating regime. Fish, if it's fresh. The presence of online gaining communities has provided people with a support system. Many say it is like coming home. Colleagues don't know, but she doesn't think they will be too surprised, given her outspoken views on fat issues.
As a moderator on the FF site, she comes across a lot of people who on the one hand are desperate to be fat, on the other, desperate to be thin. Not always, but there are definitely people who feel that way. Some, she says, are just as unhappy with their bodies as those trying to lose weight. There are people who are like, 'Yeah, I'm cool: fat is beautiful — I'm having weight loss surgery.
Being a gainer isn't as straightforward or easy as it might seem, she says. Every time you open your , a magazine, every time you turn the television on. I often feel like all men — and women — believe that stereotype is beautiful, even though I know better," she says. If we look around us, says Phillip Hodson, it is clear that regardless of increased pressures to be thin, we are getting fatter as a nation.
But Helen is not worried. At 16st she still only considers herself to be pleasantly plump. She has a picture in her head, she says, of what she will look like when she is fat. The women who want to be obese. This week, Donna Simpson announced her plan to be the fattest woman in the world. But are 'gainers' who purposefully overeat risking their health or liberating themselves?
Photograph: Christopher Thomond. Lynda Cowell. Reuse this content.Weight gain feederism
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How might female butterflies gain an advantage? How about having the ability to taste through their feet