The raids started at McDonald’s around noon on a Saturday. It was payday and fast food restaurants were full of the happy and hungry, so that’s where they started. Anyone who looked at first glance like they were carrying a few extra pounds was forced at gunpoint into the back of a police van and driven away to fat camps where their reconditioning could begin.
Soon all restaurants closed their doors, regardless of whether they labelled themselves as vegetarian, banting, keto, paleo, vegan, or an otherwise health-conscious category. Food had become the enemy and soylent, a bland meal replacement drink, was all that was available, delivered by the government to household doors in batches each month according to the number of known occupants in the building and their number of allotted calories.
Plus-size clothing ended. The largest sizes available were a US size 8, but people who inquired about clothing that size were stared at distrustingly; onlookers were certain they would outgrow it imminently.
Daily exercise was mandatory. People were assigned workout slots to reduce congestion at the shower facilities and when their unremovable fitness tags vibrated against their wrists they knew it was time to go. All data was recorded and stored, though it was entirely inaccessible to the wearer.
TV advertising space that used to be dominated by sugary cereals and calorie-dense fast food was now filled with ads extolling the nutritional benefits of soylent and the virtues of being thin. On weekends, when free time was permitted, this viewing took a darker turn – documentaries aired about fat people throughout history who had failed to achieve success in business, life, or love. Some were celebrities, some were politicians, some were just a litany of unknown, round faces with despairing captions. There was no ‘off’ switch.
A lucky, chosen few fat people were selected from the ranks of poor performers from the camps and included in live televised game shows where they endured a range of humiliations for the amusement of the thin ruling class, from wearing curly pink tails to competing in soylent-drinking contests.
The thin were not allowed to marry or procreate with the fat. They were forbidden from befriending them, being seen in public with them, or helping them. Naturally there was initially a lot of non-compliance with these new laws, especially when families were threatened with separation. The military had to launch swift, targeted assaults on houses suspected of harbouring fat fugitives who resisted detention at the fat camps. Many died on both sides of these skirmishes, fat and thin, with the surviving fat-friendly thin either shot or jailed for obstruction of justice. With a fit and thin general population, the military doubled in size in a matter of years and it was not possible to resist for long.
These rules extended to the formerly-fat as well. Once a citizen’s BMI exceeded 25 they were permanently tagged as fat, unable to work and unable to own assets, whether they eventually dropped below this BMI point or not. The prisons and streets were crowded with the fat-fluctuators and soylent thieves whose health monitors slowly pulsed with red light.