Excerpt: Khaliah Ali's 'Fighting Weight'

As for any person who has dealt with obesity, it was not an easy journey. And being a daughter of one of the world's most famous and admired people didn't shield me. In fact, in certain ways it only put me more in the spotlight, perhaps in more negative ways than other people of size. From the time I was in grade school, I was taunted by peers, even hit by other kids, because I was "big" and therefore could "?ght like my father."

Nothing could have been further from the truth. I hung back, partly because I was a gentle kid but also because I wouldn't have been able to bear drawing that kind of attention to myself. Not now. I like being with other people, whether it's hanging out with friends, conducting business, or making a speech to raise money for a charitable organization. And I like being romantically available, as well as available to participate in physical activities, which had always been closed to me before. That is, I like where my journey has taken me, and continues to take me.

I realize it's not the same for all large people, and that not all of them are even intent on losing weight. Some, while they may at one or more points in their lives have tried to slim down, have joined what is commonly called the Size Acceptance Movement. Despite the profound bigotry against them (it is still acceptable to loathe fat people openly, to make fun of them, to deny them jobs and promotions), despite all the health risks, they are able to make peace with their bodies and de-emphasize the role of eating and weight in their lives. They ?nd a way to move forward even while dealing with the physical and societal limitations. To them, I -- and Drs. Fielding and Ren -- say, "Our best to you." No one should ever be pushed into doing anything she or he doesn't want to.

But most very large people are very unhappy about their bodies, their health, their looks, the prejudice against them. They would do anything if only they could lose the weight. They think about it every waking moment. That's who I'm talking to in this book. And I, who previously had not even been able to experience physical intimacy without artfully draping myself so as to be more or less hidden from view at those very moments when a person is supposed to feel free and unfettered, am here to tell you that you don't have to live that way. You can change the course of your journey, too.

I know, because my story is your story. While the details may be different, you'll recognize the arc of despair. You'll see, however, that you can rewrite all the chapters yet to come.

This excerpt is printed with permission from the publisher. Published by HarperCollins. Copyright © 2007 Khaliah Ali.

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