If you haven't seen the new hit television show "This Is Us" I highly recommend you start binge watching it on Hulu as soon as you're done reading this article. I'm eight episodes in and I'm hooked. The appeal of the show comes from its blatant vulnerability. The program approaches controversial topics but in an extremely eloquent way. One of the most revolutionary parts of the show, for me, is its narrative on weight issues. The plot does what I've never seen a show do before: it accurately portrays the struggles of an individual who has grown up and continually struggled with their weight.
One of the characters, Kate, has been overweight for her entire life. Viewers get to experience small sections of her life as a child in between current narratives of her life at 36-years-old. As she is growing up, we see her face trials, such as wearing a two piece bathing suit at the swimming pool and her peers hurtful taunting. As a person who grew up overweight and has continually battled with excess weight for the entirety of my life, I can tell you the show's portrayal is insanely accurate.
We watch as Kate decides she is finally going to lose all the weight. We watch periods where her diet and exercise regiment are going great, but she isn't seeing the results she wants. We watch as she gives in and she binges on foods she's not supposed to have and people comment on her appearance. We watch her life as a person who is addicted to food and is overweight in a light that I personally have never seen on television before.
Watching this show, I feel grateful. In all honesty, it reminds me I am not alone. There was a scene where Kate explained how being overweight consumed essentially her every thought every second of the day. I couldn't help but relate after heading off to college and gaining some of my stubborn weight back. Being overweight is something you notice every day.
You think about it when you get dressed in the morning, noticing your jeans are slightly tighter than before. It'll cross your mind when you go to lunch and have an internal debate about what you should and should not have. When you've had a bad day and your first reaction is to grab your favorite comfort food -- you'll feel a familiar pang of guilt. It is on your mind, constantly. There are people who just will not understand your struggle and can't comprehend why it is so hard for you to put down your addiction and exercise because they can do it. But, you are not alone, and now you have a representative on television who understands what you're going through, and that is amazing.
On the show, Kate is dedicated to her goal. She will trip and fall and stumble along the way, but she knows what she wants. I'll admit I've fallen off the straight and narrow while I've been away at school but it is never too late to start over again. Whether it's weight loss or any other goal, the opportunity to pursue the plan is always there, no matter how many times you stray away.
So thank you, "This Is Us," for so accurately portraying the experiences of obese people in such a heartfelt way. The story's honesty is as endearing as it is emotional. I can't wait to watch Kate's journey and I can't wait to start back on my own - exactly where I left off.