JANET STREET-PORTER: How is being overweight now a lifestyle choice? 

JANET STREET-PORTER: Dying for a snack? There’s fat chance of Britain halting its obesity epidemic if we’re told being overweight is now a lifestyle choice

With 2.2 million followers on Instagram, former Towie star Gemma Collins is impossible to ignore. She’s loud, large and proud and has just been announced as the new face of Walkers Crisps, replacing Gary Lineker. The GC (as she refers to herself) is not my cup of tea, but then I don’t buy grab bags of crisps very often.

Walkers chose Gemma because she’s a successful businesswoman who’s everywhere on social media – even the BBC couldn’t wait to sign her up for a series of podcasts in their desperate bid to appear ‘relevant’, hoping to win over some of ITV‘s young Love Island viewers.

It’s also hard to ignore that Gemma Collins is someone who has struggled with weight issues, and often talks about them herself. Launching a new clothing range for New Look this week, she was photographed in a flowing kimono the size of a bell tent, telling reporters she’s already ‘lost three stone’.

Whatever her body issues, fans reckon Gemma represents ‘ordinary women’, and love the way she speaks the unvarnished truth. She shows that larger women can be just as successful as slender high-fashion models.

Whilst I applaud glamorous Gemma for staying true to herself, the fact that the makers of nutritionally dubious snacks are willing to pay an overweight woman thousands of pounds to promote their products shows how far FAT BRITAIN has been brainwashed. Gemma Collins says she like crisps and buys huge bags of them – so she’s endorsing a diet which campaigners like Jamie Oliver say is destroying the nation’s health for good.

Also, she’s a role model which millions of young women look up to: rich and successful.

These days, being thin or even a normal weight is seen as a bit odd, unfashionable. The fashion industry has embraced ‘plus’ sizes mainly because the bulk of the female population is overweight and – in a highly competitive industry – manufacturers need to sell their wares.

Whilst I applaud glamorous Gemma for staying true to herself, says Janet Street-Porter, the fact that the makers of nutritionally dubious snacks are willing to pay an overweight woman thousands of pounds to promote their products shows how far we have been brainwashed

Whilst I applaud glamorous Gemma for staying true to herself, says Janet Street-Porter, the fact that the makers of nutritionally dubious snacks are willing to pay an overweight woman thousands of pounds to promote their products shows how far we have been brainwashed

Victoria Beckham - the High Priestess of controlled eating - who admits she only ever eats a bit of steamed fish and spinach every day and never touches evil carbs, had the bare-faced cheek to tell an interviewer that wanting to look thin was 'old-fashioned'

Victoria Beckham – the High Priestess of controlled eating – who admits she only ever eats a bit of steamed fish and spinach every day and never touches evil carbs, had the bare-faced cheek to tell an interviewer that wanting to look thin was ‘old-fashioned’

The Duchess of Cambridge is regularly said to be ‘worryingly thin’ when she actually looks the same size as my mother did back in the 1950s, the days of food rationing. This week, Victoria Beckham – the High Priestess of controlled eating – who admits she only ever eats a bit of steamed fish and spinach every day and never touches evil carbs, had the bare-faced cheek to tell an interviewer that wanting to look thin was ‘old-fashioned’ and that ‘every woman wants a nice round curvy bottom’.

Coming from a stick insect who is fetishistic about what she eats, that remark was astonishing. This high-end fashion designer (whose business has never made a profit) is shamelessly promoting her new shape wear line, by insinuating that everyone with an arse the size of a bus was somehow ‘on trend’- when she’s spent most of her life trying to achieve the opposite.

Her hypocrisy is outrageous – those high-profile women with very accentuated and enhanced rear ends (the ‘bum-fluencers’) – might look good on their carefully doctored and filtered Insta feeds, or snapped on the red carpet wearing specially-made couture frocks. But the ordinary BIG BUM women waddling along our streets and shuffling up and down supermarket aisles will never be able to fit into Victoria Beckham’s clothes, even if they can afford £1,000 for a simple frock.

Even Kim Kardashian – Queen Big Bum herself – had to artfully arrange her fur stole over her biggest asset at the Met Ball in New York recently because she could not do the zip up on an iconic dress once worn by Marilyn Monroe.

For most women, staying a healthy size is a challenge, because there’s temptation on every side. And cheap food tends to be fattening food, especially if you do not have the time or the knowledge to cook from scratch.

As modern women continue to consume far too much junk food, a very high proportion of them will be in wheelchairs, waiting for knee and hip replacements and using respirators by the time they are 75.

If nothing radical is done to stop the glorification of over-eating, excess sugar consumption and the constant flogging of takeaways, ready meals and snacks, and the normalisation of excess weight as desirable and ‘curvy’, Britain’s death rates will soar. The NHS will grind to a halt and it won’t be because of another variant of Covid: BRITISH BLUBBER will bring about the death of the NHS.

Janet Street-Porter says being thin or even a normal weight is seen as a bit odd, unfashionable

Janet Street-Porter says being thin or even a normal weight is seen as a bit odd, unfashionable

This week, experts warned that there will be an extra six million obese people in the UK by 2030, far exceeding the numbers whose weight is healthy. In other words, the fatties will be in control.

And who will be running our ‘healthy eating’ strategy then?

The current boss – PM Boris Johnson – is a man who continues to battle his own personal bulge, and he has enraged the medical profession and food experts by announcing that plans banning junk food ads on telly before 9pm and supermarket Buy One Get One Free deals, would be delayed for a whole year. The justification for this amazing U-turn? Because of the rising costs of food. The Tory government is somehow helping the poor.

No wonder Jamie Oliver – who has campaigned tirelessly for better school meals – went ballistic claiming it was a betrayal to previous commitments to combat child obesity. This morning he staged an ‘Eton mess’ protest at Downing Street, along with about 100 campaigners.

Even the supermarket giants agree that something drastic needs to be done to halt the mountain of blubber we are piling on. Tesco and Sainsbury are ignoring the new rules and sticking to previously agreed deadlines, ending the promotion of unhealthy food by this October.

The Tory MP for Stoke on Trent Central, Jo Gideon, says that 76% of the adults in her constituency are overweight or obese, and two-for-one offers only encourage the public to spend money on things they hadn’t planned for. These offers don’t help their health or their bank balances. Some MPs might complain about the nanny state, but what’s the alternative?

Britain is sleep-walking to a huge range of medical issues, a diminished enjoyment of life and an early death.

Celebrating body diversity and relegating obesity to a life style choice, we could be signing our early death warrants.

Crisps, anyone?