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Old 01-07-2010, 12:47 PM   #1  
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Default 'It's Easy -- Just Eat Less': How do you respond to that?

On another message board that I frequent, where people were talking about resolving to lose weight during 2010, someone posted some "advice" that I've frequently been privileged to receive. I really bristled when I read it. Here it is, pretty much:

Losing weight is easy. You just have to eat less. If you'd do that, you wouldn't have a weight problem.
Maybe because of the way the advice is usually delivered -- rather condescendingly, with this whole subtext going on that: 1) I am an idiot for not having worked this elementary math equation out for myself, until the speaker pointed it out to me; or 2) I am weak-willed, lazy & perhaps even a dropout from some tough moral bootcamp because I have not simply gotten with the program, eaten less & lost weight already.

I'm just wondering how other people feel when they read or hear advice like that, and whether this advice is as common as I suspect it is. If someone has told you this, how have you responded?

Snark, humor, earnestness, gentle attempts to educate -- all replies welcome.
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Old 01-07-2010, 12:54 PM   #2  
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Yeah. I got told "just dont eat junkfood". I dont.

You can not change people don't even try. Unless they have fought the battle they do not know. Because for them it IS that simple. if dh gains a few pounds he just cuts his beer back to no more than 1 a day and voila!

MTA: although I will occasionally do the sarcasm ala "good in bed" The main character says something along the lines of "REALLY? You mean all I have to do is eat less and move more and I will lose weight? Oh MY GOD! I never THOUGHT of that before! Hallelujiah, I have seen the light! "

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Old 01-07-2010, 12:59 PM   #3  
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I would be tempted to say to that person that it isn't THAT easy... if it were, none of us would be here trying to lose weight. And it ISN'T as simple as JUST eating less... (for me, anyways) it is about WHAT I am eating. I have a feeling I would get very different results from eating 1,400 calories a day in donuts as opposed to 1,400 calories a day in grilled chicken and veggies.

I also think many of us are here because we DID try eating less. But ate too little and then "fell off the wagon" or didn't make permanent changes in our habits.

Some of us (me) are emotional eaters... and it isn't always about eating less... I need to find other ways to undwind at the end of the day and on weekends other than stuffing food in my face. When you get into the emotional aspect, it is a whole new ball of wax.

Sorry! I am ranting! I agree with you that people who say those things are condescending!!
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Old 01-07-2010, 01:00 PM   #4  
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I'd answer in a manner, that's more than likely not appropriate :P

Sure, you can eat less, but if you're eating Lays and McDonalds every day you're not really making anything better. There was a show called "10 Things I Hate About Me" on Style the other day and the woman on there lost like 50 lbs just by cutting out REAL food and ate tiny amounts of crap. The nutritionist on there was really concerned about her health and the future problems she would likely encounter.

I also find that the people that say these things are either
A. Skinny already and always have been
B. Never succeed at their weight loss goals and just talk about it for 2 weeks in the beginning of January. I know very few women that don't complain about their weight, yet they never do anything.

I feel proud that I actually DO something and get into my weight loss plan, and you should too. We're not trying to just take 5 pounds off, we're trying to CHANGE lifestyles and get healthier.

Last edited by ibcnuldu; 01-07-2010 at 01:01 PM. Reason: I stink at Spelling :(
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Old 01-07-2010, 01:00 PM   #5  
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actually my personal fave is a guy who has struggled but now says "eat what you would need to maintain and then just exercise off the difference" and goes in to all the math about how many miles he runs to lose X lbs per week.

Yeah that's nice and all but this guy is actually capable of running 120-140 miles a WEEK without breaking.

He's a really nice guy, but it's not terribly practical advice.
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Old 01-07-2010, 01:01 PM   #6  
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Yeah, I've heard that before! I have been told: Just cut out fast food, sweets and pastries.

Thanks! I've had all of 2 donuts in the last 3 years, fool! I am a strict vegetarian who doesn't eat eggs or drink milk and so avoids most baked goods available, and the only thing I eat a couple times a year at a fast food place is a bean burrito from Taco Bell or Del Taco when someone else insists on going there! I don't have a problem with sweets and fast food and sugar, thank you very much!
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Old 01-07-2010, 01:15 PM   #7  
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I guess what the person is saying is sorta true but I think there is more to losing weight then that. Just because a person hasn't succeeded at weight loss that doesn't mean that they are a failure or that they didn't try hard enough. Im sure a lot of maintainers tried several different diets until they found what works for them and then reached there goal.
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Old 01-07-2010, 01:25 PM   #8  
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What is truly sad, is that so many people really DO believe that. And that's where the eating disorders come into play. Losing weight is partially related to eating less, but it's so much MORE than that, and if people would just educate themselves on what our bodies do need our society would be so much better for it. I have a teenage daughter, and the last thing I want is for her to starve herself, because of some offhand comment she heard an "adult" say, or to see these super skinny models and think that's how she's suppose to look.

Eat enough, eat HEALTHY and exercise.
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Old 01-07-2010, 01:28 PM   #9  
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Originally Posted by DawnFields View Post
So, from now on, if I hear another skinny person say, "just eat less." I will simply say, "why thank you. Now why didn't I think of that."
good idea! I was an emotional eater, so for me yes a big part of my weight problem was because I ate too much and made unhealthy choices. The actual act of losing weight for me has been relatively 'easy.' I thankfully don't have any medical issues hindering weight loss, so I basically eat less and exercise more. However, if it were that simple I never would have been overweight in the first place. My weight loss journey has primarily been all about my mental barriers (e.g. emotional eating, overeating, unhealthy choices, ...) and the reasons behind those barriers. I've had to make a complete lifestyle change and face all those scary reasons behind my weight gain. I've lost over 100 lbs and still struggle daily, not because I'm hungry or need to eat but because a big part of me is scared to be 'skinny.' If losing weight was as easy as eating less no one would be overweight!!!!!
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Old 01-07-2010, 01:44 PM   #10  
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I HATE it when people say that, I would love to punch them in the face..but I can't.... but I do answer the question like DawnFields but I make it more dramatic and I exagerate more
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Old 01-07-2010, 01:58 PM   #11  
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I have a friend who fancies himself a nutrition expert. He routinely tells me to drop the low carb and just eat less food.

There's a science behind weight gain. There are foods that induce fat storage (refined carbs) and there are foods that don't (fiber-filled and naturally fatty foods). There are foods that make you crave more foods ("") and foods that make you feel satisfied ("").

Just "eating less" isn't going to address the science of the issue, and, without addressing the science, any weight lost is going to be regained when the dieter hits goal and says, "I can relax now."

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Old 01-07-2010, 02:02 PM   #12  
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Nothing worse than someone who's never battled their weight giving weight loss advice. Grrr.

Now I do subscribe to the idea of eating less and moving more as my plan, but there is SO MUCH MORE TO IT for me from a mental and emotional perspective. Eat less/move more can only work when you are in the right head space. And you can't tell another person how to get to that place. They have to find it themselves.

The most disheartening things I've ever read are the comment sections on obesity-related articles on news websites. The vitriol and hatred that some people have towards those of us struggling with our weight is unbelievable. And you see a lot of "if you just stopped stuffing your face, you'd be thin" comments. If it were that simple, NO one would be obese!
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Old 01-07-2010, 02:16 PM   #13  
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I'd have to bust out a version of a retort from Miss Manners: "Omigod, how incredibly ignorant! You must be so embarassed to have said that out loud!" For the record, Miss Manners only approved the second part of that ...

There's no such thing as a diet that will work for everybody. Our genetics are different, and each of us processes foods differently. As someone who tried all the quick fixes, and has experimented with many ways of eating ... I'm one of many who can provide evidence that the "3500 calorie deficit to lose a pound of fat" only works in a laboratory. It'd be cool if it were that simple! And yet people will smugly toss that around as if it's the perfect answer.

I think ... this has come about because society has begun to lose the ability to distinguish opinions from fact, and because the science of nutrition (and nutrigenomics) are advancing so rapidly that what was once the "best summary of scientific study" i.e., "fact", is being debunked as they learn what and how to measure, and better-designed studies are undertaken. Let's not forget to look at who's funding the study, too ... because the outcome seems never to deviate from the sponsor's best interest.

So maybe the best response would simply be to say, "Wow, you must not stay up on science and nutrition," in a sad way and with a pitying look, and then just to walk away.
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Old 01-07-2010, 02:19 PM   #14  
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I always smile, and in my correcting a five year old tone of voice (condescending, yet sweet), say "No, it may or may not be that simple, but regardless, simple and easy, aren't the same thing."

And if I'm in a mood to really bring home the point, I list all of the things in life that are simple but not easy, making sure to use some examples in that person's lifeif I can. For example, if they're always complaining about money, I list all of the "simple" ways they could have more money. Or if they have a really messy house, how simple it is to keep their house clean, or if they're always complaining about dating losers, how simple it is to make better dating choices.

Usually, the message clicks.

Last edited by kaplods; 01-07-2010 at 02:21 PM.
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Old 01-07-2010, 02:22 PM   #15  
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I use the saying, eat less, exercise more. Never thought it would offend anyone. And I don't literally mean starve yourself. I mean use portion control and more around more than what you eat in order to lose.
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