TV personality Chanelle Hayes made headlines this week, causing a twitter storm and reigniting the hotly-contested debate over whether it’s possible to be fat and happy.
With the increasingly popularity of super-sized models and bloggers such as feisty Tess Holliday, the argument is nothing new yet it still incites platefuls of passionate bickering.
It all kicked off when photos of Chanelle’s frame squeezed into a lime-green bikini on a Spanish beach did the rounds. The pics illustrated her six stone weight gain which she claims has seen her go from a size eight to 16.
The pics looked suspiciously set up which fuelled rumours Chanelle, 28, will soon be losing weight and bringing out a fitness DVD – rumours she did not altogether knock down. (“If I wanted to lose weight in the future and someone offered me a DVD, I would jump at the chance.”)
Appearing on ITV’s This Morning, Chanelle claimed she is far happier being obese and that it made her a better mother to her little boy, Blakeley. She said a recent extreme diet and exercise regime had made her feel miserable, so she’d thrown in the towel.
“I had three months to lose four stone. I stuck to 400 calories a day and I was horrible to everyone. I was in the gym three hours a day and I was moody.
“I couldn’t even go to the cinema. Blakeley was on a diet with me. It wasn’t fair on him. I don’t think I look hideous. I think I look nice. Why should I struggle to maintain something that’s not maintainable.”
Before we go any further it’s worth saying that Chanelle’s repeatedly spoken of near starvation and exercise as a mean of losing weight. This obviously isn’t working of her. Until she is prepared to see her fluctuating weight as a symptom of a much deeper, psychological problem, chances are she will continue to yo yo.
She also blamed her recent weight gain on a steady diet of doughnuts which sounded remarkably cliche, and contradicts her claim that her body is just ‘sensitive’ to weight gain.
Plus, numerous studies show that hitting the gym may be great for weight management but it’s not a practical or sustainable way to lose weight.
Nevertheless, Chanelle is probably laughing all the way to the bank because her size has certainly got her back in the public eye and will be worth its weight in gold.
Under the hashtag #fatandhappy the fat police have since been out in force. Comments include:
‘No You’re Not!’
‘I’ve lost 3 stone since Jan 5th through calorie counting and now I’m much more happy’
‘Being slim doesn’t mean you’re hungry! Why is she trying to make excuses for her weight?!?’
‘No, you’re unhealthy if you are fat. You cost the NHS money. It’s simple.’
‘I weigh 20st and couldn’t be happier…hahaha yeah just wait until all the health problems start, fatty.’
One person who is unlikely to empathise with Chanelle’s ‘fat and happy’ claim is professional fat shamer, Katie Hopkins. She famously gained three and a half stone in three months for TV show Fat and Back. She said of the experience: “I didn’t cry at my weddings. I didn’t cry giving birth. But gaining weight reduced me to a blubbering wreck.”
Which just goes to show that obesity means different things to different people, and there is no one size fits all.