Cathy Guisewite, creator of 'Cathy' comic, on weight

The Washington Post

September 30, 2010

Since 1976, the frumpy, pear-shaped working woman in the comic strip "Cathy" has reflected women's feelings about their bodies and their love-hate relationship with food. Cathy, whose final strip will appear in newspapers Oct. 3, has tried every fad diet but remained consistently pudgy. She indulges in cookies, cake and chocolate and then wonders why she hates shopping for bathing suits. 

I recently spoke with the strip's creator, Cathy Guisewite, who, at age 60, has been writing and drawing the strip for more than half of her life. When portraying her character's struggles with weight and body image, Guisewite knows whereof she cartoons.

"I pretty much ate my way through college," Guisewite says. "I gained 50 pounds between freshman year and graduation. My career evolved a lot from my weight gain in college."

"My parents are tiny," Guisewite adds. "I come from a thin gene [pool]. It was an act of rebellion to get overweight."

But in recent years, Guisewite has shed those pounds. How did she do it? "I don't have any miracles to offer," she says. "It just took time."

It helped that she was able to get over one vice. "I finally got immune to frozen M&Ms. I used to hide them in the freezer" but then came to prefer them that way, she says. "I developed a whole rationale: Frozen M&Ms have fewer calories because of the extra effort" it takes to chew them. 

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