This is me – This is us

By Dr. John Ditraglia

I just read “This is Me,” (2018 HarperCollins Publishers, New York, NY) the autobiography of Chrissy Metz, one of the stars of the NBC drama “This is us.”

I hadn’t heard of, much less seen the show until after I read “This is me” and looked up the show easily thanks to the entertainment cornucopia of TV/internet that makes us addicts of screen time these days.

Her personal story parallels closely her role in “This is Us,” including how being hyper-curvaceous (“a person of size” as she puts it) makes life so hard, the well meaning family efforts, her step-father in her real life, her mother in the show, to make her eat much differently than her siblings, the futility of diet and exercise to make any impact on the problem and even group therapy to try to deal with a life of hunger and misery, as if being obese is the psychological character flaw of lack of self control.

Her story in the show is only one of multiple personal dramas. But all of the rest are situational creations that are sometimes hard to believe and a tad melodramatic to me. On the other hand the reality of being too big is common and I congratulate the show’s creators for showing what that reality for many people is all about. At one point Kate (Chrissy’s name in the show) says she is thinking about her size and shape constantly and even when she’s not worrying about it for one minute she’s still obsessed with it. But in her book she is finally happy with her show biz success and thankful that she got the opportunity and that makes all her trials and tribulations of difficult relationships valuable instructive life lessons.

I think the message of obesity is summed up in a single facetious quote from the second episode. Kate’s also obese, but maybe not quit as obese, boyfriend wants to knock off early at the gym and go do something else with her. She says, “how come you lost some weight and I can’t lose any?” (In her real life story she’s always losing many dozens of pounds.) And he says, “I think I’m just taking this more seriously than you are.”

By Dr. John Ditraglia