Actually, I've just realised that lots of people say, 'pal', but they aren't really using it in the nice form of, 'Me and my pals went down to the cottage in the country and shot snipe off a duck's back.' They generally use it in the manner of, 'Look, pal, if you don't naff off right now, I'm gonna punch your lights out.'
So, 'pal' is quite an aggressive word, I would suggest and now it seems like 'My Fitness Pal' is maybe short for, 'It's my Fitness, pal, so what you looking at?'
Though, actually, My Fitness Pal is intended to be a lovely, friendly place where you can get together with like-minded pals who are all trying to get fit or lose weight. It tells you how many calories you should eat if you want to lose weight at a particular rate and then you tell it what you've eaten today. There's none of that Wii Fit sighing with disappointment here, thank you very much. Sometimes, when you tell it that you've eaten all you are going to for the day it say, 'At this rate you will be 18 stone 7 lbs in 5 weeks time,' which is nice.
My Fitness Pal is also a little bit like Facebook for Fatties, in that it is a social networking platform and you can go on the forums and leave a message saying something like, 'Will somebody be my friend?'
Almost immediately lots of people say, 'Yes!' and send you messages of encouragement. It is a lovely place which if you have a dark and twisted soul, you would probably not enjoy very much. I however, thought it was fabulous, whilst at the same time feeling a bit suspicious about this whole aspect.
Number one, it seems a bit peculiar to have a fat man in his forties asking people to be their friends and having a load of women in their twenties say, 'I'll be your friend.' This obviously makes me a terrible misanthropic person because why would cheerful jolly twenty year olds not want to gee up the old folks? It's just that it seems to me to be the kind of thing that leads to gangsters from far far away setting up accounts to pose as young women so that they can get sad fat men to send them loads of money (presumably to buy dieting products or pay for their gastric band surgeries - I may have got confused about who is replying to these messages at some point)
The second thing is that, once you start looking into who these other people are, there seem to be a fair few young people who, as far as I can tell, are not actually overweight.
Now I know that this is a fitness app and not just a weight loss app but surely most people are using a calorie counter for weight loss? So why are people of apparently normal size using it?
Well, obviously there are those who have lost weight and use it as a method to control their weight and stop it going up. Perfectly reasonable.
But then we come to people who, as a fat person, I find it hard to understand. And I know I've banged on about my lack of empathy for the skinny, but here I'm going to extend my lack of empathy further. I don't understand the folks who, judging purely subjectively from their external appearance, must surely be within the ideal BMI range, but want to be thinner. I get that body image is important and that there is a lot of pressure to be skinny, but once you get your ideal BMI just stop! You don't need to go any further! But as somebody who has been obese for most of my adult life, I guess I will never, ever understand the drive to be that much slimmer.
This isn't helped by the media, obviously
And there were a lot of messages of support from all sorts of people saying how amazing she looked, 'You go, girl!', and that sort of thing.
And then somebody who looked a little like this...
Great job! Bikini ready soon.
Which was so nearly a compliment but also managed, I would say, to convey the message that, you know, 'Still a bit flabby love. I wouldn't go down the beach just yet.'
Hopefully, she was sensible enough to not take this message away from all the other supportive messages she was getting.
But really, pal, you should go and stick your overly muscled head down the toilet.
And finally, to try to make up for the gratuitous picture above, I spent about 2 hours drawing a picture of Anna from Frozen as she would appear if she conformed to the current average female body size. This picture has led to me realising three things. One, Disney should really get on with producing more normal shaped heroines (surely Lilo can't be the only one) Two, I am unable to draw faces (hence the weird appearance - I redrew the head several times and had to photoshop different face on). Three, I can't draw with colouring pencils.