Samantha Brick: “There is nothing in life that signifies failure better than fat”

April 18, 2013 in Beauty & Body Image by Versus

  • Samantha Brick: There is nothing in life that signifies failure better than fat | beauty body image

Samantha Brick: There is nothing in life that signifies failure better than fat | beauty body image

Remember Samantha Brick? She’s the 42 year-old woman who claimed that women hate her because she is too beautiful. Well, Samantha is back and she has lots of things to say and be proud of: how fat people are failures, how she invented the ‘eat a pack of mints for brteakfasdt and lunch’ diet, how all her boyfriends controlled her weight and how she rents kitchen-free houses and drinks coffee that makes her tremble for breakfast in order to avoid eating. Lots of ‘gems’ in this article – take a look:

When my husband and I invited friends to dinner, I knew they’d want to bring something along as a contribution to the evening and made a point of saying that wasn’t necessary. So when one friend arrived and thrust a hefty box of chocolates into my hands, I rewarded her with ice-cold contempt rather than the grateful smile she was clearly expecting. At the end of the evening, that very expensive box of hand-made French chocolates was consigned to the bottom of the kitchen bin, the contents ruined by the coffee dregs I had deliberately poured over them.

I am 42 years old and have been on a permanent diet for the past 30 years. The logic is simple and irrefutable: any self-respecting woman wants to be thin, and to be thin you need to spend your life on a diet. I don’t believe overweight is ever attractive. Whether we like it or not, we live in an age and a part of the world where men and women regard thin as beautiful.

I was glad to see the back of Easter this month, as it seems to have been hijacked by the greedy masses who regard it as a free pass to gorge  on chocolate. Not a morsel passed my lips. Chocolate, cakes, sweets and any other calorie-rich, fat-laden ‘foods’ are banned in my home. For three decades, self-denial has been my best friend. And one of my biggest incentives is that I know men prefer slim women.

I have only ever dated men who kept a strict eye on my figure. My partners are not only boyfriends but weight-loss coaches. My first love continually reminded me that one can never be too rich or too thin, and my husband of five years frequently tells me that if I put on weight he will divorce me.

In the workplace, male bosses will always give the top job to a woman who looks fit and in control, rather than one who looks like a bulging sack in danger of imminent cardiac arrest.

Samantha Brick: There is nothing in life that signifies failure better than fat | beauty body image

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I have some insight here, as I was overweight until I was 14 years old. Bitter experience taught me that the world pays no attention to dumpy girls. Little wonder that in my mid-teens I decided to lose my puppy fat, transforming myself as I lived, for the best part of a year, on Marmite on toast (no butter).

The first summer I felt thin coincided with a family holiday abroad. While this provided an opportunity to show off my svelte new figure, I had to watch my calorie intake even more carefully.

I fainted with hunger on one occasion – a minor hitch, eclipsed by the fact that I was being asked out on lots of dates.

At college I invented the Polo diet. Eating a pack of mints for breakfast and another for lunch, I could make each one last hours. I am 5ft 11in and slimmed down to a size 8. One of my lecturers was so worried she pulled me aside to voice her concern. I put her intervention down to jealousy, as she was a size 16. The Polo diet paid off: I could wear whatever I wanted and looked fantastic. I stopped only after a stern lecture from my  dentist about the  damage I was doing to  my teeth.

My 20s were dominated by dieting, and I managed to stay a steady size 8/10. If I put on a pound or two, I simply skipped a meal. I actually enjoyed – and still do – the hunger pangs. I see them as a reminder that I am not pigging out on pizzas and fast food.

I even chose holidays according to the indigenous diet. India was a favourite because I lost weight on meagre vegetarian servings.
To avoid culinary temptation, I even made a point of renting a house without a kitchen. Of course, constantly denying myself food was not and is not easy, but it has always brought enough rewards to make it worthwhile. Florida was a disaster,  so obscenely huge  were the portions. Never again.

In those days I didn’t use scales to tell me if I’d gained weight: I went by the fit of my clothes. My benchmark was a pair of unforgiving, size 8, Agnes B skinny-fit trousers. A friend and I had a coded way of referring to the success of my latest diet. ‘Ah! The Agnes B trousers  are on!’ she’d say, as I strutted across to the table at whichever restaurant we were meeting in.

In my early 30s I lived in Los Angeles. The entire city is permanently on a diet, heaven for a serial dieter like me. I was a size 8, and became accustomed to surviving on fewer than 1,000 calories a day.

I’d have a large black coffee for breakfast, so strong the caffeine would make me tremble. For lunch I’d eat a bagel with the bread inside scooped out and replaced with salad. Evening meals were either sushi or egg-white omelettes.

In Los Angeles, for example, where I worked as a television producer, I was never out of work and never without a boyfriend. My self-control has slipped, on occasion, and I have found myself putting on weight. When I married my French husband, Pascal, in 2008, I wasn’t at my thinnest. I suffered a bout of depression after losing my television company the previous year, and had gone up to a size 14.

Luckily for me, there is no better weight-loss incentive than a Frenchman. Pascal would not tolerate a fat wife and has told me that if I put on weight, our marriage is over. What more motivation do I need?

Today I am a size 12 and I never eat between meals. Elevenses isn’t an excuse to gorge on carbs – it’s just another hour on the clock.

Typically, I eat porridge for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and meat or fish with vegetables for dinner. Occasionally I allow myself some cheese, and I often have a yoghurt after dinner. I maintain a food diary. I never shop when I’m hungry, I always read the packaging, and I weigh myself every other day.

Like my female French in-laws, I follow an extreme low-calorie diet four times a year – one each season. I lose at least half-a-stone each time, though the side-effects mean that I don’t have the mental or physical fortitude to work.

The world admonished Kate Moss for claiming that ‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’ but I’d go further. As I see it, there is nothing in life that signifies failure better than fat.

Samantha Brick: There is nothing in life that signifies failure better than fat | beauty body image
Samantha Brick: There is nothing in life that signifies failure better than fat | beauty body image

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  • Samantha Brick: There is nothing in life that signifies failure better than fat | beauty body image