Like many of us, Sam Anderson
gained weight during the pandemic. It wasn’t his first time. He’s struggled with his weight his whole life. But when a friend mocks him, and when he can’t fit into a pair of shorts on a vacation, Mr. Anderson decides to sign up for Noom
, a weight loss app. The pounds fly off. He’s trim again. He can fit into old pants and his favorite T-shirts. He’s a success story. But when he reflects on how he feels, he notices: “I felt pretty much exactly as I had always felt my whole entire life. I was, after all that change, still only myself.”
Even if you’ve never subjected yourself to a diet, you’ll appreciate Mr. Anderson’s funny and incisive writing. My favorite part comes toward the beginning, when he considers the relationship he has with his body:
What is the human relationship to the body? Is it like a roommate? A pet? A twin? A teammate? A rival? A parasite? A host? Is the body our essential self, or is it just an outer shell — and if so, is it more like a clam shell (homegrown, enduring) or a hermit crab shell (adopted, temporary)? Is it closer to a tamale husk or a hot dog bun or a pita pocket or the fluorescent cake-tube that wraps a Twinkie’s sweet cream center?
The piece gets serious and contemplative, too, exploring his childhood and his alter ego and his father, but instead of giving too much of it away, I recommend that you read it! (20 min)