General chatter - How do you answer the question - What's the secret?




guacamole
04-22-2012, 06:39 PM
For those of you who have lost enough weight that it's noticeable - how do you answer people who ask, "What's the secret to losing weight?" I get this question quite often. I tell them that there is no secret, shortcuts, or magic pill. I tell them that I personally count calories, try to mainly eat whole foods, and get in exercise whenever I can. I tell them that I am not on a diet, but that I have changed my eating on a permanent basis - if I go back to not watching what I eat, I gain weight - end of story.

What do you tell people?


juliana77
04-22-2012, 06:58 PM
This question is starting to irk me - EVERYONE asks it. My answer is that there is no secret, "diet and exercise" or "counting calories" depending on who's asking.

Lately I am getting "are you still losing weight?" more and more often. I tell them yes, I would like to get to a size 8 and they say - but you are already, aren't you? And then don't believe me when I say I'm a 12.

sontaikle
04-22-2012, 07:04 PM
I always say "eating less and exercising more," because that's pretty much what I did the whole way down.

Some people get mad at me, but that's their issue, not mine.

If they seem genuinely interested then I will go into detail.


Only Me
04-22-2012, 07:08 PM
Eat less, move more. It really is that simple and that difficult.

WildThings
04-22-2012, 09:41 PM
I have no problem answering this question, I simply tell people I count calories and exercise. I have found that most people don't want additional details after that. They are looking for a newest fad, or a secret weight loss miracle, not regular, old calorie counting and exercise. I actually would be more than happy to discuss in detail what I'm doing, what I eat, what exercise I do, how often, but really, only a few people actually want to know more.

konfyoozed
04-22-2012, 09:49 PM
eat properly and exercise frequently.

cut the junk food and get off of your butt!

ValRock
04-22-2012, 10:16 PM
I always say

"I figured out how I'm supposed to eat."

Pretty much sums it up :).

pixelllate
04-22-2012, 10:56 PM
Idk. I haven't told most people yet, but I am planning on just saying a very general gist of what I do "eating healthier-but I'm not perfect- and being active"
I don't tell too many people about the specifics (Paleo/IF/Lyle McDonald/cal counting) because it sounds restrictive to them and they comment comment comment - but restrictive is relative, this is the most freeing diet that I have been on. Weight watchers for me personally was restrictive-this works better for me as an individual. But for those who know and comment, I just say that it might be restrictive for them, but I feel good and that it works for me, they can think what they want once they know my "secret"

Jez
04-22-2012, 10:59 PM
Lately I am getting "are you still losing weight?" more and more often. I tell them yes, I would like to get to a size 8 and they say - but you are already, aren't you? And then don't believe me when I say I'm a 12.
I think most people's perception seems to be super skewed when it comes to sizes. And the weight loss commercials don't help when they blatantly lie about the "I lost 20 pounds, and went from an 18 to a 4!" model's size, when she's very obviously still in the double digits.

kaplods
04-22-2012, 11:01 PM
I tell people, "eat less and move more of course, but the real secret is finding ways to make it fun and comfortable so you'll never have a reason to quit."

I think we're taught to assume that weight loss failure is caused by laziness pure and simple. But it isn't, because people who succeed in every other aspect of their lives often find it impossible to lose weight. I don't think it's laziness, I think it's that we've been taught that when it comes to weight management if it's fun, you're doing it wrong. If you're not miserable, you're doing it wrong. And so while people KNOW that they have to move more and eat less, they also THINK they have to be miserable doing it. And then being miserable sucks so bad, that only a fool would continue volunteering for such punishment, and they give up.

It isn't laziness it's the assumption that weight loss has to be so miserable that every single ounce of energy has to be devoted to "willpower." If you make it fun and comfortable, there's no temptation to quit, there's no need for intense willpower.

erh12275
04-22-2012, 11:34 PM
Have not got this ? yet thank goodness. But, I get people wishing they could lose weight. Yep I freakin said I wish I could lose weight and 24lbs just fell off. Just drives me bonkers. I so want to say "Well, work for it and you can."

Natasha1534
04-23-2012, 02:37 AM
I always tell them "diet and exercise...sorry to disappoint." :) Everybody is looking for that magical "oh I just woke up, took 2 breaths, and 80 pounds fell off" answer. Yeah...don't we all wish??? :D

Arctic Mama
04-23-2012, 02:53 AM
I always say "eating less and exercising more," because that's pretty much what I did the whole way down.

Some people get mad at me, but that's their issue, not mine.

If they seem genuinely interested then I will go into detail.

Ditto. I will sometimes say it's long term commitment to healthy habits, too, to underscore that this didn't happen overnight!

goal4agirl
04-23-2012, 10:35 AM
Good thread! People are always asking me "How did you lose so much weight???"
Like I've got some magic, immediate, eye opening answer for them... This kinda irritates me enough that I decide to have a little fun with them. I tell them they have to stop bending their elbows and keep them strait. After they look at me like I have either lost my mind or grown a second head- I expain to them you have to stop eating so much (bending your arms up to your mouth). I guess it is mean because they look kinda tiffed but I go on and tell them eat a good balanced diet and try your best to move- a lot. And take really good care of yourself. There is no easy answer. It is your life and the choices you make. I guess after I turned 50 I got a little b****y :s:

berryblondeboys
04-23-2012, 10:43 AM
Just blogged about it today actually.

I do have a 'secret'. It's called getting enough sleep. Makes all the rest of it easier - eating right, exercising, etc.

krampus
04-23-2012, 11:51 AM
That's a great point, Melissa.

I haven't made that big a transformation. All I did was watch what I ate and the extra pounds fell off. The exercising, the running, the learning to prepare vegetables, all that is just a bonus toward health.

kaplods
04-23-2012, 12:00 PM
I think it's a much fairer question than is generally assumed. I think we ASSUME people want an easy a answer, that people don't want to work at all and that people don't want to hear that moving more and eating less is the essential part of the equation.

People are willing to do insanely difficult and even horrific things to lose weight, so I don't think laziness is really the answer. Yes, people do have times sticking it out through the long haul, but I think that's because we're taught to see failure instead of success. Persistance doesn't always pay off, and if we fail far more than we succeed, giving up is actually a very good thing. If someone wants to be a professional singer, but just doesn't have the talent for it, eventually failure will tell the person to "give up, this dream isn't for you."

We say "if at first you don't succeed, try try agian," but what we aren't saying is "if you try a thousand times and you don't succeed, maybe you should give up and try something else."

We're taught to fail, because we're taught to have extremely unrealistic expectations and not because we're lazy, crazy, or stupid - but because the "common wisdom" is wrong.

I know I failed most of my life at weight loss, despite putting far more effort into it than anything else in my life (including my college degrees and my marriage). Not because I was lazy and didn't want to work, heck most of my teen and adult life I juggled school and a job or two and after college two jobs). I failed because I thought I was failing, because I wasn't losing what "common wisdom" told me I should be losing (the traditional two pounds or more per week). When I would go three or four weeks without a weight loss or without a substanctial weight loss (again the magic two pounds), despite exercising and not eating off-plan I would think I was failing and get discouraged. I would often then "slip" from my good eating and see it as proof (heck others told me it was proof) that I wasn't able to succeed. I ignored the proof (the weight loss I had accomplished) that I could suceed and actually was succeeding.

We're TAUGHT to give up, because we see everyone do it, and we've swallowed the nonsense that only rapid weight loss counts for anything, and the unwritten rule that if you can't lose two pounds a week or at least something almost every week, you're doing it wrong. If you ever slip, you're doing it wrong and doomed to failure.

While no one TELLS you most of these messages, we learn them anyway by watching how weight loss "is done." We SEE almost everyone give up when the sucess becomes slow (and often it's not even slow, it's just "normal" but we're not taught to recognize normal weight loss).

We even "hide" normal weight loss, because we think it's so small that people will think we're cheating, will think that we're just lazy losers who don't want to admit we're not really willing to work for their weight loss.

I don't think people are unwilling to work for weight loss. I think they're willing to work hard for success and positive feedback, but they're unable to recognize the success when they see it. They give up because they THINK (and have been taught to think) they're failing so miserably that they're doomed to ultimate failure and might as well give up because they think what they're doing isn't working. They see failure where in actuality is success, just not the kind of success we're taught to expect.

My doctor really hit it home to me, when I was complaining that I "should be able to lose at least two pounds a week like a 'normal' person," and he told me that even at my weight (nearly 400 lbs at the time) that losing even the pound a month that I was losing, wasn't "poor weight loss" it was extraordinary weight loss, because most people don't do it. They give up and regain it, or they've stopped even trying.

Weight loss is like a huge marathon, and we tend to assume we're in last place (or at least the bottom 5%) when we see a thousand runners ahead of us. What we don't realize is the 20,000 people behind us.

Of course people give up when they think they're failing miserably, but the problem is that we're not taught to recognize success when we see it, so we're not giving up because we're failing. We're giving up because we have no idea that we're succeeding. We've been taught to see the failure, not the success.

So when people ask "how did you do it," I don't think they expect to hear magic answers. I don't think they want to hear that diet and exercise wasn't involved. I think what they really want to know (I know I certainly did when I asked successful losers) is "how did you manage to DO what you knew you had to? How did you stick with it long enough to succeed?"

People get annoyed/disappointed when the question is dismissed or answered with what they already know "eat less and move more." I know when people said that to me, especially with the annoyance obvious on their face, I wanted to answer (and sometimes did, at least with friends close enough to take the ribbing):

"No Sh_ _, really? Diet and exercise, huh? Who would have thought... Now, come on, do you really think I'm such an idiot that I didn't realize exercise and diet was involved? What I REALLY want to know is how did you do it 'this time' and not the thousands of other times you tried? What made it stick? What did you find helpful? What were the obstacles? How did you stay motivated when the weight loss slowed or didn't come off?"

Now when people ask me the question, I give the question and the questioner the respect they deserves. I know they're not asking WHAT I did, they're asking HOW I did it. They're asking "what made it do-able?"

And I tell them some of what I've learned

1. Take care of yourself, you're worth it

2. Don't try to punish yourself thin, it doesn't work (at least not for long). If you "pamper" yourself by imaging yourself owner and patron of your very own health spa of one, you'll have so much fun quitting won't even enter your mind. Quit eating and feeling great, who would want to give that up?

3. Recruit a support system (and I mention 3FC and TOPS, taking off pounds sensibly, the weight loss club I belong to).

4. Negotiate with family and friends, don't expect them to know what you need, and then label them saboteurs when they don't meet your needs. Failure to read your mind is not sabotage.

5. Nutrition is important. If you starve yourself, you're going to eventually binge.

6. Instead of "exercise" think "play" find fun ways to move. I tell them I have danced, walked dogs at the humane society, gone geocaching, bought and relearned to ride a bicycle, and swim because I love those activities. I even learned to enjoy walking on the treadmill and eliptical at the gym by taking my ipod along.

7. When "playing," remember to listen to your body's feedback. If you exercise to the point of pain, you're probably going to find it hard to stick with it. Learn to know when you've had enough.

8. Know that you're going to make mistakes and mis-steps. If you stumble a lot, it doesn't mean you're not ready for weight loss, or that you're doomed to failure. You can make several mistakes every day and still succeed. You don't have to be "good" you just have to do better. Just going from 20 mistakes a day to 15 will eventually produce results.

9. Weight loss is not the only goal. Exercise and eating better have loads of benefits that have nothing to do with weight loss, so if the weight isn't coming off - it's still no reason to quit. Just eating better and moving more (even without weight loss) is so good for your body, mind, and spirit that it's worth doing even if the weight isn't coming off, yet.

10. Look for those other benefits and focus on them. Because the number is never going to be as important as something tangible and real. The arbitrary number isn't nearly as important as increased health and stamina, and even appearance. You literally may lose inches before weight.

11. Focus on the success, not the failure. Focusing on the failure will tempt you to quit. Seeing the success will reward you and keep you going. That's why I have changed my focus from weight loss (which I couldn't succeed at every day) to "not gaining" (because I could celebrate "not gaining" almost every day, and even if I gained, I could celebrate what I've kept off (so when I gain a pound I still celebrate the 104 lbs I've kept off).

12. Take care of your physical, emotional and social needs (which is really what all the previous 11 are all about). Eat for nutrition not just weight loss. Get adequate rest. If you want to go out with friends when they invite you to a restaurant, go. Choose something that fits into your plan, or order the best choice (that you'd also enjoy) on the menu and eat only 1/4 of it. Talke small bites and chew slowly. Use "special" plates (I use tiny plates and even tiny silverware and it really does make it seem like I'm eating more). Don't worry about whether something is weird, if it works for you do it....


We act as if weight loss should be intuitive and easy, but it isn't. Our biology works against us, because no creature evolved under the conditions we now live. In a "natural world" overabundance of food is never a problem. When food is abundant, critters (including people) tend to breed faster and the surplus is quickly lost. Overpopulation occurs before widespread obesity. We're bred for famine, not for overabundance.

We have to learn to "mimic" the natural world we've lost. We need to exercise because we don't have to run down our prey or run to avoid being prey. We need to learn to limit our food intake, because we don't have competition from other critters and people to limit our food options. We were built to eat what we could find, not to pass up food when it was available. You ate what you could find today, because you might not find anything tomorrow.

Weight loss isn't easy or intuitive, and it's arrogant and cruel to assume that it is.

ICUwishing
04-23-2012, 12:20 PM
kaplods, I've been reading, enjoying, and learning from your posts since I joined 3FC. This entry is outstanding - each of those 12 points could be a chapter of a best-seller. I'm printing it and keeping it with me. Thank you!

Beach Patrol
04-23-2012, 01:45 PM
What do I say to "WHAT'S YOUR SECRET?"
Well, in all honesty, it depends on my mood! :dizzy:

Sometimes I'll say: "But if I TELL YOU, then it won't be A SECRET anymore!!!" cause sometimes I really just don't wanna discuss it, and will continue avoiding the issue until the person tires of my useless banter.

Sometimes I get quickly technical - "Move more/eat less."

Sometimes I get very wordy - "Well, I've been losing weight for 2 years now, it's coming off slowly, but that's OK - better than not losing at all, or worse yet!-gaining! But I just eat..." & on & on with the blahblahblah.

Sometimes I feel playful, & I'll say "What? I've lost weight?!?!?!? (feign innocence) WHERE?!?!?! Is it my butt?? Oh please let it be my butt! Don't just stand there woman! -POINT IT OUT!" :rofl:

Yup... depends on my mood. :cb:

toastedsmoke
04-23-2012, 01:58 PM
I always say discipline. Because for me that's what it came down to. Discipline to measure my food and count calories, discipline to say no to myself most of the time, and most of all the discipline to stick with it when the weight isn't "falling away" like I want.

Elladorine
04-23-2012, 03:18 PM
So when people ask "how did you do it," I don't think they expect to hear magic answers. I don't think they want to hear that diet and exercise wasn't involved. I think what they really want to know (I know I certainly did when I asked successful losers) is "how did you manage to DO what you knew you had to? How did you stick with it long enough to succeed?"

People get annoyed/disappointed when the question is dismissed or answered with what they already know "eat less and move more." I know when people said that to me, especially with the annoyance obvious on their face, I wanted to answer (and sometimes did, at least with friends close enough to take the ribbing):

"No Sh_ _, really? Diet and exercise, huh? Who would have thought... Now, come on, do you really think I'm such an idiot that I didn't realize exercise and diet was involved? What I REALLY want to know is how did you do it 'this time' and not the thousands of other times you tried? What made it stick? What did you find helpful? What were the obstacles? How did you stay motivated when the weight loss slowed or didn't come off?"
^This is all very true. I have all the motivation in the world to continue eating and exercising . . . as long as I see the results I want! The number on the scale moving down, my clothes getting looser, fitting into a smaller size, getting compliments, getting more energy, feeling lighter. The problem is continuing to work my @$$ off when my @$$ isn't literally being worked off. :p Because weight loss isn't linear. Most of us don't consistently lose a substantial amount every week, and it's all too easy to question ourselves when we're not losing the weight we think we should be.

Basically, how does one not give up when the going gets tough? When all our hard work doesn't seem to be paying off? How do we keep from questioning what we're doing wrong when we didn't lose last week or this week, and how can we expect to lose the next week when we're apparently doing something "wrong?" Or even worse, how do we react that we followed our plan with absolutely no slip-ups yet we find we're gaining, and get told by our dietitian, counselor, or trainer that by all logic we should be losing if we're following our plan to a tee? Heck, I've even seen people here accuse others that they must cheating if they're not losing as quickly as they'd planned on.

I think people often assume those that have been successful with weight loss don't have those struggles, because we're directly seeing the results we want, not the struggles and uncertainty many of use face while in the process. I think most people are basically asking, "How did you make it work without the bad days/weeks I face" or "How did you get through the bad days/weeks and yet kept going" rather than, "What's your magical secret and can you bottle it up for me?" Because when they don't instantly see results after working so hard for it, they think they've failed, will never be able to do it right, and might as well give up.

And that's what I've been through so many times. Losing great at first, then helplessly watch the successes slow down, no matter what approach I take. Feeling judged for trying so hard yet apparently failing. For losing 100 freakin' pounds yet it still not being enough to get out of plus sizes. Being told by people that have lost the weight that I must not be working hard since I'm still struggling to get under 250. I'm struggling with that right now, doing my best despite the uncertainty the lack of recent losses is making me face. So many other times I've just given up.

It's pretty rare for me to be asked what my "secret" is, because I'm hardly an "after" model. But when I am asked, I tell people I have to find and enjoy all the positives of losing weight and getting more fit, outside of the obvious target of weight loss. That I eat healthier to feed my body nutrients and feel better. That I take walks to ease stress and make my body stronger. That I look for ways to make it enjoyable and even fun. If the only focus is weight loss (like I suspect it is for many, as it used to be for me), it's way too easy to get disappointed and give up.

Don't be so annoyed with those asking. They're not all looking for that elusive magic pill. If they show annoyance or disappointment, it might be because they're so sick of the obvious "eat less, move more" mantra and are at a loss on how to work through the typical struggles without feeling like a complete failure.

Arctic Mama
04-23-2012, 05:08 PM
I can usually gauge who is genuinely curious or seeking solutions and who just wants ear-tickling, in-a-pill-and-overnight, so to speak. Those who actually want answers I can talk their ears off with how it has worked for me, and that I've only made one attempt at weight loss in my life and it is still going, three and half years later, because I refused to quit or give up. I'll give them details of a whole-foods diet, inflammatory triggers, benefits of ketogenic diets for their brain chemistry and metabolism, etc etc. I am happy to shower them with details, but a fair number of people don't want to hear food logging, low carb, high fat, low-to-no processed junk, and relegating grains, beans, most dairy and all refined sugar and high sugar fruits to a never-or-rarely consume.

It's not what many people want to hear, that there is no magic besides iron-clad dedication to a goal and then adjusting and tweaking and persisting at finding a workable solution until the right balance has been struck and it is acceptable and livable for me (or them).

free1
04-23-2012, 05:24 PM
Weight loss is like a huge marathon, and we tend to assume we're in last place (or at least the bottom 5%) when we see a thousand runners ahead of us. What we don't realize is the 20,000 people behind us.

KAPLODS....I absolutely LOVE THIS!

sontaikle
04-23-2012, 05:29 PM
We don't necessarily have a responsibility to tell others what we're doing and how we do it. If all we want to do is say "eat less and exercise more" then we're already going above and beyond the call of duty there. I don't think that losing weight entitles others to pry into the details of our personal lives or gawk at us as if we were a display.

If we want to share, that's awesome, but nobody should feel they have to.

I can usually gauge who is genuinely curious or seeking solutions and who just wants ear-tickling, in-a-pill-and-overnight, so to speak. Those who actually want answers I can talk their ears off with how it has worked for me, and that I've only made one attempt at weight loss in my life and it is still going, three and half years later, because I refused to quit or give up. I'll give them details of a whole-foods diet, inflammatory triggers, benefits of ketogenic diets for their brain chemistry and metabolism, etc etc. I am happy to shower them with details, but a fair number of people don't want to hear food logging, low carb, high fat, low-to-no processed junk, and relegating grains, beans, most dairy and all refined sugar and high sugar fruits to a never-or-rarely consume.

It's not what many people want to hear, that there is no magic besides iron-clad dedication to a goal and then adjusting and tweaking and persisting at finding a workable solution until the right balance has been struck and it is acceptable and livable for me (or them).

I agree, it's not all that difficult to gauge who will listen and who wants to hear about a magic pill. Depending on those circumstances I will answer accordingly. I've said it before here on the forums, but I know how difficult it is so I will explain what I did to anyone that's interested.

Some of those who ask are people who are always on the latest crash diet. To them I don't go into detail because they simply don't want to hear it. They just want me to say what product I used so they could go out and buy it. I'm not about to get into an argument defending my methods with them.

d130
04-23-2012, 05:54 PM
I'm one of those people who says I moved more and ate less, and usually adds I eat less crap. That's really what I have done - I exercise now, I walk, I bike, I'm trying out weights, but I've also realised that I can't keep up with my hubby in the eating contest of life. I'm not built like he is and I physically, just don't need the same amount of calories he does. :shrug:

If someone asks for some details behind it, I'm happy to tell them and explain that I can, and do, still eat out and tell them what type of exercise I do, as well as what some of my typical meals are like.

Natasha22
04-23-2012, 06:03 PM
I haven't had someone coming up to me and asking me this because in my case is not really visible, but I have asked someone before. A friend of mine went from size 14 to a size 8/6 and her answer was "controlling every calorie that goes into my mouth and stressing over finding a new job". The stress was so great in her case that she lost her appetite, but she also had some bad break-outs because of it.

kaplods
04-23-2012, 08:00 PM
We don't necessarily have a responsibility to tell others what we're doing and how we do it. If all we want to do is say "eat less and exercise more" then we're already going above and beyond the call of duty there. I don't think that losing weight entitles others to pry into the details of our personal lives or gawk at us as if we were a display.



I agree that none of us has any obligation to answer people's questions on any topic whatsover. Heck, if someone says to me, "Hey Colleen How you doing?" technically I have every right to say "None of your damned business," but if I assume that by asking the other person by asking is trying to pry into the details of my personal life or gawk at me like a circus freak, there's a very good chance that I'm wrong.

I don't think any of us are as good at mind reading as we think we are - AND most prejudices come from the belief that we can read people's intentions.

"Those people are just lazy, and selfish and don't want to help themselves."

Who "those people are" depending on the person speaking may be obese people, or members of an ethnic minority, poor people, people on welfare, the mentally ill, people on SSDI or government assistance of any kind, people of other churches or religions, people of no churches, unemployed people, people with alcohol and drug problems, unwed mothers.,,

And the most judgemental of people often come from the groups they're bashing. "I was a loser, and now I'm not. I'm now better than all those people who are still like I used to be.

Weight loss is still considered a taboo, forbidden, and too-personal topic, which means that it's actually difficult for people to get true, honest, open and nonjudgemental advice anywhere. Ask someone who has done it successfully and there's a good chance they'll look at you like you're dogpoo unworthy of being scraped from their shoe.

I'd much rather hear "I'd rather not talk about it" (or even "None of your damned business"), than get the eye roll and the assumption that I have no intention of actually learning from what I hear.

Yes, I get that you've been asked until you're tired of hearing it (so tell me that). I understand that if you don't see me imediately lose 30 lbs, you might assume that I didn't try any of your advice or that I wasn't even listening, but you might be very wrong.

Sometimes it seems that weight loss is like some clubs, college sorrorities, churches, cliques, and other "elite" organizations... They become a socially acceptable way to look down on the people who aren't as special as those in the group...

Maybe if weight loss weren't tied to such harsh judgements and taboos, folks would find it easier to DO. It's so taboo that many people are still afraid to go to weight loss groups (or to admit they do) because it's almost more taboo to be trying to lose weight than it is to be fat in the first place (we've decided that we're supposed to pretend we don't notice other people's fat - at least until they're out of earshot and we can laugh about them behind their backs).

There's no obligation to answer others when they ask questions, but that's true whether they ask about your children, your job, your health, your hobbies, or how your day has gone. You also have no obligation to help others whether it's with their diet or a flat tire, or moving, or sharing a recipe.

But we don't treat weight loss questions like any of those topics. It's "ok" to talk about just about everything before weight loss (I'm always shocked that sex is now considered a topic appropriate to discuss with virtual strangers, but asking about weight loss even among close friends and family is often taboo. What's up with that!?)

Share don't share. Help don't help, but if you're going to make assumptions about people, there's also a very good chance that you're going to be wrong. Even (perhaps especially) when it's a popular assumption. And assuming fat people are lazy, crazy, stupid, wanting magic solutions and are unwilling to help themselves even when the solution is spoon fed to them are very popular assumptions.

But what is so terribly unfortunate about weight loss, is that it's so taboo, it's very difficult to get good, honest, helpful advice and support from others. With the amount of obesity in the nation, and the number of people trying weight loss medications, weight loss support groups should be on practically every corner. But we're taught that we're supposed to do it quietly (without talking about it) and on our own (and never talk about it).

Jeez, we're fat folk, not child molesters. And if we can't ask the people who have succeeded, who do we ask? Of course it doesn't really do any good to ask, if a flippant answer is all that is provided. Or if we're going to be judged as lazy and unmotivated if we don't immediately lose 20 lbs after hearing their wisdom.

If someone asked how we built our garage, and we told them, would we ridicule them if they didn't put up a garage just like ours within 60 days or assume that our telling them was pointless because they didn't?

Sometimes it takes people a while to implement the wisdom they're presented with. And I'm not saying it obligates us all to take time out of our day to "teach" anyone anything, but if you're not willing to do it, just say so. There's no need to assume anything negative about the person doing the asking.

sontaikle
04-23-2012, 08:49 PM
I agree that none of us has any obligation to answer people's questions on any topic whatsover. Heck, if someone says to me, "Hey Colleen How you doing?" technically I have every right to say "None of your damned business," but if I assume that by asking the other person by asking is trying to pry into the details of my personal life or gawk at me like a circus freak, there's a very good chance that I'm wrong.

I don't think any of us are as good at mind reading as we think we are - AND most prejudices come from the belief that we can read people's intentions.

"Those people are just lazy, and selfish and don't want to help themselves."

Who "those people are" depending on the person speaking may be obese people, or members of an ethnic minority, poor people, people on welfare, the mentally ill, people on SSDI or government assistance of any kind, people of other churches or religions, people of no churches, unemployed people, people with alcohol and drug problems, unwed mothers.,,

And the most judgemental of people often come from the groups they're bashing. "I was a loser, and now I'm not. I'm now better than all those people who are still like I used to be.

Weight loss is still considered a taboo, forbidden, and too-personal topic, which means that it's actually difficult for people to get true, honest, open and nonjudgemental advice anywhere. Ask someone who has done it successfully and there's a good chance they'll look at you like you're dogpoo unworthy of being scraped from their shoe.

I'd much rather hear "I'd rather not talk about it" (or even "None of your damned business"), than get the eye roll and the assumption that I have no intention of actually learning from what I hear.

Yes, I get that you've been asked until you're tired of hearing it (so tell me that). I understand that if you don't see me imediately lose 30 lbs, you might assume that I didn't try any of your advice or that I wasn't even listening, but you might be very wrong.

Sometimes it seems that weight loss is like some clubs, college sorrorities, churches, cliques, and other "elite" organizations... They become a socially acceptable way to look down on the people who aren't as special as those in the group...

Maybe if weight loss weren't tied to such harsh judgements and taboos, folks would find it easier to DO. It's so taboo that many people are still afraid to go to weight loss groups (or to admit they do) because it's almost more taboo to be trying to lose weight than it is to be fat in the first place (we've decided that we're supposed to pretend we don't notice other people's fat - at least until they're out of earshot and we can laugh about them behind their backs).

There's no obligation to answer others when they ask questions, but that's true whether they ask about your children, your job, your health, your hobbies, or how your day has gone. You also have no obligation to help others whether it's with their diet or a flat tire, or moving, or sharing a recipe.

But we don't treat weight loss questions like any of those topics. It's "ok" to talk about just about everything before weight loss (I'm always shocked that sex is now considered a topic appropriate to discuss with virtual strangers, but asking about weight loss even among close friends and family is often taboo. What's up with that!?)

Share don't share. Help don't help, but if you're going to make assumptions about people, there's also a very good chance that you're going to be wrong. Even (perhaps especially) when it's a popular assumption. And assuming fat people are lazy, crazy, stupid, wanting magic solutions and are unwilling to help themselves even when the solution is spoon fed to them are very popular assumptions.

But what is so terribly unfortunate about weight loss, is that it's so taboo, it's very difficult to get good, honest, helpful advice and support from others. With the amount of obesity in the nation, and the number of people trying weight loss medications, weight loss support groups should be on practically every corner. But we're taught that we're supposed to do it quietly (without talking about it) and on our own (and never talk about it).

Jeez, we're fat folk, not child molesters. And if we can't ask the people who have succeeded, who do we ask? Of course it doesn't really do any good to ask, if a flippant answer is all that is provided. Or if we're going to be judged as lazy and unmotivated if we don't immediately lose 20 lbs after hearing their wisdom.

If someone asked how we built our garage, and we told them, would we ridicule them if they didn't put up a garage just like ours within 60 days or assume that our telling them was pointless because they didn't?

Sometimes it takes people a while to implement the wisdom they're presented with. And I'm not saying it obligates us all to take time out of our day to "teach" anyone anything, but if you're not willing to do it, just say so. There's no need to assume anything negative about the person doing the asking.

I didn't mean to come across as saying that I will judge and look down upon someone for not following my plan, I was just pointing out that some people are truly uncomfortable going into detail. It'd be nice if weight loss wasn't such a taboo subject or if we weren't a part of a culture where everything must be instant to be successful.

It's also not off the wall to assume that some people will react poorly when given certain information. If one has a friend that is always after a quick fix and scoffs when diet and exercise is mentioned then it's probably a fair assumption that they'll react the same when a person tries to talk about calorie counting. We do know the people in our lives and we all know who we can talk to certain things about. There is a reason I do not talk about certain political issues with my grandmother, for example.

I don't really mind sitting down and telling someone each and every part of my plan and when I have, I've always added: "It worked for me, but it might not work for you." I'm not some expert after all, I just happened to try something and it worked one day (I literally said: "hey what if I ate less than I usually do??" and I started losing weight). There are people close to me who are doing it much differently than I and while I provide advisement I don't really see the point in judging or pushing someone toward MY PLAN which was perfectly tailored to me.

I don't even think saying "eating less and moving more" or "diet and exercise" is necessarily being judgmental (granted, the tone is very important in that respect) but more of a cliff notes version of what a person is doing. Almost as if someone who lost the weight doing Weight Watchers simply said "Weight Watchers" when asked. It's explaining the plan without necessarily going into it. If they're a total judgmental prick about it, then that's another matter entirely.

I'm not uncomfortable answering questions about weight loss and I'm an open book about a lot of things that I probably shouldn't be (at least according to society). The reason I often am short with serial crash dieters (that I know personally; I know them well enough that they just won't listen to a healthy method of weight loss) is because I could talk my ear off and it wouldn't reach them. When someone I don't know all that well asks me and starts accusing me of hiding something I simply state: "I'm telling you what I've done. I'm not going to argue with you about how I've done it." and I remove myself from the situation.

I could say "I'd rather not say," but I've met some pretty rude folks who just won't stop unless they get an answer.

Even for me though it does get uncomfortable to have people staring at me, talking about me behind my back, thinking I can't hear them (in our gym where sound bounces ALL OVER THE PLACE. Really, people should at least whisper), watching my every move. I'm not imagining these things; I've been going to the same gym for almost 8 years now so all of the regulars have seen me shrink. I've gone from someone who everyone left alone to the newest thing to gawk at and it's pretty uncomfortable at times.

But I won't judge; I just can't (well, alright, I lied. The people who accuse me of lying get judged). I remember wondering if there was something wrong with me that I wouldn't lose weight despite all of the exercise I did or why people who never exercised a day in their life were thin and I wasn't. It's not as if my experiences were erased once I lost the weight. I always find it disheartening when a former fat person turns into the weight police, after all.

I've had some wonderful conversations with people when going into detail with my plan and I've had some people accuse me of hiding something. It's a toss up really, but if I know them well enough I can usually gauge how they will respond.

Kahokkuri
04-24-2012, 10:20 PM
Now when people ask me the question, I give the question and the questioner the respect they deserves. I know they're not asking WHAT I did, they're asking HOW I did it. They're asking "what made it do-able?"
Another great post, kaplods! It was all great, but I think this line is especially salient.

Beach Patrol
04-26-2012, 11:19 AM
Well, I said to my neighbor "You look like you've lost weight!"
and she replied "I have, about 25 lb"
& I said "good for you!"
& she said "No!. Not the way I did it...."

She lost weight due to being very VERY stressed out over a horrible legal situation that dragged on for months. So while she's happy to be down in weight, she was very ill during the process (constant upset stomach, horrible headaches, sleeplessness, etc.)

So sometimes... asking a person "their secret" could reveal something you didn't expect to hear. :(

tessendicott
04-26-2012, 11:48 AM
I tell them about how incredible Weight Watchers has been for me and encourage them to check it out!

bargoo
04-26-2012, 12:08 PM
Had a doctor's vist the other day, he complimented me on my appearance , I said " I try to take care of myself." His response ? "It pays, doesn't it ? " I loved his reply !

586
04-26-2012, 04:13 PM
I've been asked this a lot over the last year. It's funny because I never asked anyone how they lost their weight - because common sense told me eat less/move more. For me, it took more than just that, so to serious inquirers, I do the following run down:


Got rid of my 2 liter per day soft drink habit
Worked up to walking 2 miles per day
Slowly cut out emotional eating and unportioned snacks
No second helpings allowed
Know your caloric intake and be honest about slip ups
Know you'll have plateaus. Just keep going.
Have that dessert! Portion it out, even if a sliver looks ridiculous.
Buy interim clothes that look and fit well. Inspire yourself.
You have to work on your issues while you whittle your waist.

Usually, that first item bugs people. OMG MY SODA? Yes, your soda. Your Coke. Your whatever is the empty liquid crack you currently imbibe too much of. Either learn to better portion it and make it fit your calories, or banish and replace with water, tea, or other polite beverage of your choice.

Walking 2 miles? Yes, 2 miles. It is doable. It is possible. My thighs rubbed raw for months, and I couldn't even get up to half a mile until after 3 weeks. You will get there. I started with Monday - Friday and worked up to every day of the week. People balk at this with "I don't have time". You have it. 2 miles takes me 25 minutes these days. It used to take one hour. You can find the time.

Portion control, calorie counting and avoiding emotional/boredom eating is difficult. I still have a bad day here and there with this and this is where remembering you're human comes into play. Start slow, exchange one item for another, make healthy realistic goals and you will get there.

I still eat desserts. I still get my Starbucks with no substitutions. I factor in the calories and make allowances and subtractions from the rest of my day. I have no shame in cutting that slice of cake or pie down to a laughable half or fourth of what I used to eat and be completely fine with noshing that around everyone. It sates me these days. You'll find your appetite changes over time.

It took me a year to lose 110 pounds. Yeah, that is an awesome achievement. It took work. Nothing excruciating, but work indeed. You stay honest, you keep trying and you work through the things holding you back - you will get there.


Most people are very receptive to that answer. Some people really just want to hear I did some whacky 4 day cleanse and everything flushed away. Those are generally the people who whine about it being too hard. Losing weight is the easy part. Keeping your fire burning and staying committed to keeping it off is the bit that gets tricky.:D

Sum38
04-26-2012, 04:17 PM
This question is starting to irk me - EVERYONE asks it. My answer is that there is no secret, "diet and exercise" or "counting calories" depending on who's asking.

Lately I am getting "are you still losing weight?" more and more often. I tell them yes, I would like to get to a size 8 and they say - but you are already, aren't you? And then don't believe me when I say I'm a 12.

Ditto!

Sum38
04-26-2012, 04:22 PM
I always tell them "diet and exercise...sorry to disappoint." :) Everybody is looking for that magical "oh I just woke up, took 2 breaths, and 80 pounds fell off" answer. Yeah...don't we all wish??? :D

OMG, I had to LOL! So true.

reallystruggling
05-01-2012, 08:12 AM
I think that whenever someone asks 'what's your secret' the last thing they want to hear is 'calorie counting and exercise' because that's what they've been trying to avoid. For so many years, i wished there was something other than exercise

fyreflie24
05-01-2012, 08:42 AM
I call it 'the boring stuff', healthy diet, more exercise. :)

themusicalfruit
05-25-2012, 04:34 PM
Whenever I have lost a ton of weight, and I get asked that, I usually just tell them whatever I was doing. Right now, I tell people that the secret is to love your body. Love your body and it will be nice to you!

Brid
05-25-2012, 08:08 PM
Someone asked me just this evening how I've done it. All I said was "sweat and vegetables", and then the conversation moved on. But when it's a lengthier conversation, rather than a quick catch-up with someone I haven't seen for a year and just bumped into coming out of a pub toilet, I say "sweat and vegetables, and a **** of a lot of work sorting my head out first". Because the sweat and vegetables are shifting the weight now, but it took me a long time to get my mind in such a place that I could stick to it. Truthfully, it took me a lot of work on my mental state before I was able to care about myself enough to start this journey. But I find few conversations about what my secret is are ever in-depth enough to really get that across.

caramelkitty
05-25-2012, 08:35 PM
I've been asked this a lot over the last year. It's funny because I never asked anyone how they lost their weight - because common sense told me eat less/move more. For me, it took more than just that, so to serious inquirers, I do the following run down:


Got rid of my 2 liter per day soft drink habit
Worked up to walking 2 miles per day
Slowly cut out emotional eating and unportioned snacks
No second helpings allowed
Know your caloric intake and be honest about slip ups
Know you'll have plateaus. Just keep going.
Have that dessert! Portion it out, even if a sliver looks ridiculous.
Buy interim clothes that look and fit well. Inspire yourself.
You have to work on your issues while you whittle your waist.

Usually, that first item bugs people. OMG MY SODA? Yes, your soda. Your Coke. Your whatever is the empty liquid crack you currently imbibe too much of. Either learn to better portion it and make it fit your calories, or banish and replace with water, tea, or other polite beverage of your choice.

Walking 2 miles? Yes, 2 miles. It is doable. It is possible. My thighs rubbed raw for months, and I couldn't even get up to half a mile until after 3 weeks. You will get there. I started with Monday - Friday and worked up to every day of the week. People balk at this with "I don't have time". You have it. 2 miles takes me 25 minutes these days. It used to take one hour. You can find the time.

Portion control, calorie counting and avoiding emotional/boredom eating is difficult. I still have a bad day here and there with this and this is where remembering you're human comes into play. Start slow, exchange one item for another, make healthy realistic goals and you will get there.

I still eat desserts. I still get my Starbucks with no substitutions. I factor in the calories and make allowances and subtractions from the rest of my day. I have no shame in cutting that slice of cake or pie down to a laughable half or fourth of what I used to eat and be completely fine with noshing that around everyone. It sates me these days. You'll find your appetite changes over time.

It took me a year to lose 110 pounds. Yeah, that is an awesome achievement. It took work. Nothing excruciating, but work indeed. You stay honest, you keep trying and you work through the things holding you back - you will get there.


Most people are very receptive to that answer. Some people really just want to hear I did some whacky 4 day cleanse and everything flushed away. Those are generally the people who whine about it being too hard. Losing weight is the easy part. Keeping your fire burning and staying committed to keeping it off is the bit that gets tricky.:D

THIS ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

I usually tell people it's diet and exercise, and if they really seem interested and keep asking questions, I ask them if they want me to help them, I ask for their height and weight, and start calculating and sending them an email with eeeeeeeeeeverything that I did that helped me.

Honestly, this question didn't come up much before, or it did but the interest wasn't as pronounced. But now, it's become really apparent to everyone that I basically just shrank, and the one's that need whatever plan I put myself on, they REALLY wanna know how.

I currently have about 4 friends on my plan, and they text me everyday to let me know how they're doing. It's great :)

i33BabyGirl33i
05-25-2012, 08:47 PM
Yeah just put your mind to it! you can accomplish it :D

electrongirl
05-26-2012, 01:34 AM
I tell people the truth. I joined Weight Watchers and stuck to it. I also accepted that it's for life.

luckymommy
05-26-2012, 02:01 AM
If I'm feeling silly, I'll say "Actually, I found this magical pill!" sometimes, their eyes get wide and they're entranced by every word that comes out of my mouth and then there's major disappointment when I tell them it's all diet and exercise and trying to control my emotional/binge eating. Usually, I just skip the little joke and just get to the boring stuff. ;)

sheramama
05-26-2012, 02:28 AM
I tell everyone I changed my lifestyle to a healthier one.