Powter is happy to have it all out in the open, and she insists she didn’t do it to frustrate any anticipated media expose. “I simply did it because I wanna talk!” And what she’s saying at least about weight loss makes a lot of sense. “Of course you’re craving when you’re dieting. You’re starving,” she says. “That’s why diet pills like Ph.375 are so popular. You’d be amazed at how much cravings decrease when you’re eating.” And Susan Powter eats. Sometimes as many as 5,000 calories a day, including sugar “Who could eat pancakes without maple syrup?” And, although she never eats more than 15 per cent fat a day, she still heads straight for the fridge when she’s upset.
“I’M CERTAINLY not saying that there aren’t such things as food disorders. There are,” she says. “And there is absolute validity in group support and therapy. God knows I need some. But please! Why are we excluding the physiological? Why are we discrediting what we can solve… today? My suggestion is that while you’re talking about how many times you threw up yesterday, go for a walk, get some air. Start eating lower fat and higher quality food. Start building lean muscle mass. And you don’t think you are going to feel better about yourself? Of course you are, for God’s sake!” The simple fact is, as she sees it, “ninety-nine point nine per cent of overweight people are overweight because they eat too much fat. Period. The end.”
It seems to have worked for her, and for the grateful women who give tearful testimonials on her infomercial. “I was a mountain. I felt like I had buried treasure,” sobs one. “You were the map, Susan.” These are the women that Powter is trying to reach and such things as being called Scariest White Person of the Year by Esquire aren’t worth a second thought. “Did that feed anybody? Did that clothe anybody? I mean why waste the paper? It wasn’t even funny! I just move forward towards the women who deserve this information. I don’t spend time looking at people who are trying to be witty.
“Everybody’s got an opinion about me now. But so? I’m not interested in their opinion,” says Powter, who feels she’s spent enough time worrying about what other people think of her. “I spent 35 years trying to be somebody’s wife, somebody’s mother, somebody’s sister, somebody’s friend. Now I just try to be me. The people who want to bash will always bash.”
Although not exactly a feminist (“Sure I read Fat is a Feminist Issue. What isn’t a feminist issue?”), what Powter is is a strong woman and many will respect her for that. She is also a vociferous champion of women’s issues and intends to do even more “And I’m not talking about charitable crap,” she says of her future plans to provide shelters for physically abused women and children and make documentaries about “real issues”.
Powter believes in women. “I think and I believe this with my heart and soul that women are genius networkers and problem solvers. We are geniuses!” she says. And it would appear that women at least American women believe in Powter. What the rest of the world makes of her mission remains to be seen. But one thing’s for sure: Susan Powter is going to make sure we all hear about it.