Posted by: CeCe | March 5, 2012

Put the fork down!

So I’ve been overweight my entire life, or at least since I was a young child.  For some reason, in spite of the fact that I was very active as a child and a teenager, I had a belly that just wouldn’t disappear.  As I became older, this gut that I had became large arms, thighs, a butt (which my husband jokes is “ginormous”… or maybe he isn’t joking), large calves, and thick wrists and ankles.  While some kids teased me, I learned to just let whatever they said roll off my back.  What they thought of me made not one bit of difference to me, or at least that’s what I tried to make them think.  They’d call me names like “whale” and “fatty” and I’d just roll my eyes and with as much contempt as I could muster, ask them if it took them weeks to come up with something like that with the whole two brain cells they possessed, or I’d tell them that oh, they were so cool, and could I be just like them when I grew up?  After a while they left me alone, because well, who wants to be embarrassed like that?

But as a teenager, I was always jealous of the petite girls I knew.  They had tiny feet, tiny hands, tiny ankles, tiny everything.  And they were constantly eating.  I just couldn’t understand it!  All throughout high school, I starved myself and worked my butt off to be a size 14/16 (that’s a size 34/36 in men’s sizes, guys), while the skinny kids I knew pigged out on pizza and soda and cheeseburgers.  I’d go to McDonald’s with friends (their insistence, not mine), and eat a couple French fries (literally, two French fries), a single chicken nugget, and maybe a leaf of lettuce.  Meanwhile, they’d eat everything else.  While I was out walking several miles a day, they’d be at home eating and playing video games.  And they’d still be skinny, and I was still fat.

Fast forward *coughcough* years, and I still struggle with my weight.  And every so often, I hear people who are skinny say things like, “Well, they wouldn’t be so fat if they’d just put the fork down!”  And sometimes, they’ll say this after having just consumed more calories in a sitting than I usually do throughout the entire day.  What they don’t realize is that by uttering those words, they are actually making things worse.  Much worse.  And no, not due to the fact that those words are hurtful and judgmental (even though they are!).

See, here’s how it works.  If you eat, your metabolism gets going, so that when you exercise, you’re actually able to expend those calories.  After a while, the more you eat and do at least moderate exercise, the more efficient your body becomes at consuming and expending calories.  That’s how it’s possible for people to stay thin while eating unhealthy fatty foods and only doing the minimum amount of exercise, because they’ve been doing this for so long that their body automatically does the work for them.  The more often you eat, the faster your metabolism works.  When you do what I did throughout elementary, middle, and high school (and now too, I’m not going to lie), and you only eat once or twice a day, your metabolism slows waaaaaaaaay down.  And when you’re only eating one or two meals a day, your body does this thing where it goes into starvation mode, because you’ve fooled it into thinking that you’re not going to eat at all, which means that it thinks that it needs to store every single calorie you consume as fat, in order to preserve itself.  When this happens, it doesn’t matter whether you eat a single carrot stick, or a dozen Big Macs, every single thing you eat will be stored as fat.

I’m not making this up.  It’s a scientific fact:
http://optimalbodyweight.com/qa/weight-loss-tips/body/starvation-mode-weight-loss
http://www.weightlossresources.co.uk/calories/burning_calories/starvation.htm

So instead of a person needing to “put the fork down” to lose weight, they probably need to start picking up a fork and eating smaller, healthy meals more often.

Here’s the thing though.  Unless you yourself have ever struggled with obesity, you have absolutely no right to say anything at all.  Believe me, the person who is overweight knows that they’re overweight, and they don’t need your pity or your contempt (unless, of course, they’re walking around in Spandex and belly tops, just sayin’).  If they’re going to lose weight, it’s going to have to be between them, their scale, their doctor, and their trainer or nutritionist (if applicable), not you.  And if the first thing you think when you see an overweight person is that they obviously need to just stop eating, then you’re definitely not qualified to be any of the above.

//End rant.

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Responses

  1. I am finding out, later in life, how hard it can be to lose weight. I never had a problem when I was younger. I am now 53 and have more weight on me than I need. 🙂 Hard to get rid of tho, and getting motivated to lose it is even worse! IMHO! You are right about people keeping their thoughts to their self! Have never understood people who feel the need to point out stuff like that, weight, glasses, anything that marks a person as “different”.

    • Yeah, I never understood it either. I’m all about being honest and helping people, but sometimes it’s better to be gentle or not say anything at all! Thanks for commenting!

  2. […] A couple months ago, I put up a blog about being overweight, and how it’s not right for people to attempt to guess why a person is overweight just by looking at them, because they do not know that person’s medical history or their usual daily habits.  That post is here: https://aseekersmusings.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/put-the-fork-down/ […]


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