“I didn’t come out of the womb craving Oreos,” says comedian and journalist Chloe Hilliard, who is launching her new book, F*ck Your Diet and Other Things My Thighs Tells Me, this Monday and Tuesday at Zanies Comedy Night Club in Chicago. “Our food choices and our image of ourselves are part of our culture.”
Hilliard, who writes about Hip Hop culture and has been featured on C-Span, CNN Headline News, ABC News and Our World with Black Enterprise, has long had an adversarial relationship with food. Over 6-foot tall at the age of 12, she also wore both a size 12 dress and shoe at that time. In other words, she was different and she knew it.
“Fitting in was never an option for me,” Hilliard said in a phone interview, noting that she was the loser of the fat trilogy—someone with a slow metabolism, baby weight that didn’t go away and big bones. “Growing up, it was unfair that people said just do this or that to lose weight. But now I understand it’s about acceptance, to be comfortable and to be healthy and okay with who you are.”
It was a truth that Hilliard came to only after a long time of trying to change her body with the help of fad diets, intense workouts, starving herself and consuming diet pills. Now she looks at her body image in a different way and understands how much our culture negatively impacts the way we perceive ourselves, how corporations including the diet industry also reinforces our image of ourselves. It was enlightening and freeing. But it wasn’t easy.
“I thought the book was going to be way more lighthearted,” says Hilliard. “I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to write. But it helped me understand where I was at different times in my life.”
But being Hilliard, who made her national TV debut on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.” the book is not only informative but laugh out loud funny as well. Afterall, she has a message for readers—you’re okay.
“I use a lot of facts and figures,” she says. “I didn’t want the book to be voyeuristic, I wanted it to be about how culture effects our relationship with food and our waistline and teaches us that we are nothing without a perfect body. I want to help people get away from that. Be healthy, be fit. It’s a new year but you don’t need to be a new you, just yourself.”
What: Chloe Hilliard is launching her new book and performing at Zanies Comedy Night Club.
When: Monday, January 6 and Tuesday, January 7 at 8 p.m.
Where: Zanies Comedy Night Club, 1548 N Wells St, Chicago, IL
Cost: General admission is $25.