I remember going for a physical when I was about 10 years old; my doctor took out a graph and showed it to my mother and I, please see mini-Gina to your right. He said that I weighed around what a 12-year-old should weigh (this was about 10 pounds’ overweight). I made light of it by making some jokes (yes, I haven’t changed at all) and my comedic efforts were shut down by both my mom and the doctor.
The doctor was curious about whether I played any sports and how active I was.
The answer to that was no and not at all.
It wasn’t really an option with my family dynamic growing up but I didn’t understand that at 10 and what I did understand of it, I definitely would never have expressed to a doctor. So, the advice from the doc was simple: “you have to eat less junk and be more active!”
In a nutshell, his advice was “Eat less, Move more”.
Now, at 10, I was intimidated by doctors and had only been stressed about my weight for a few short years, therefore, the advice of “Eat less, Move more” didn’t send an angry shiver up my spine. At 30, if I were to hear this from a doctor…well, actually, I did hear this from a doctor, in the very recent past and my response was literally me rolling my eyes and completely shutting down for the remainder of the appointment.
Here’s how I see it – as a medical professional, when the world is legit made of sugar, and your patient has an ongoing weight issue, wouldn’t one take a step back and say “hey, something is not connecting here, this may be less about normal diet and exercise and more about something mental/emotional”. Just like when a 10-year-old girl is in a doctors’ office seems to be slightly overweight, the doctor may want to discuss this with the parent privately to gauge if this is just apart of development or there’s something deeper going on.
Just my thoughts, of course.
But I digress…
I won’t go into how off base I believe most doctors and individuals in the medical field are about obesity and the struggles of those who have weight issues, specifically lifers in the overweight club. I will go into how ridiculous and frustrating the advice of “Eat less, Move more” is.
- Just because I’m overweight doesn’t mean I am clueless about: my food choices.
I have been saying for many years that if someone came to me and requested that I place them on a diet plan, I could figure out what would work for them and assist accordingly, likely, helping them right along to their goal weight. I am not a nutritionist, however, after over 20 years of dieting on and off, I have learned what’s healthy, what isn’t, what works best for certain people, etc. Obviously, these things have not worked for me long term because, just like with relationships, it is way easier to give advice than to follow your own. I know HOW to lose weight, I know that you need to eat healthy and usually less than you currently are. This means nothing if an individual is dependent on food, has always struggled with food, (enter 30 other emotional/mental issues here).
- Just because I’m overweight doesn’t mean I am clueless about: exercise.
I am not as educated about exercise as I am diet, but I do understand the basics. I’ve done the cardio, the weighttraining, the workout videos, the spinning classes, you name it, I’ve probably dabbled in something at least related. And I probably looked more legit than that picture on the right of me pretending to work out for you.
There’s this crazy notion that women who are curvy, overweight or obese do not work out. For me, this is not a stereotype but an absolute promise; unless I am also paying close attention to what I am eating, you will not catch me working out. I classify myself as an “all or nothing” individual. This basically means if I try something, I put my all into it, but I lack balance.
However, there are a lot of curvy women who excel in balancing their lives and are extremely active, whether it’s races, regularly going to the gym, or really, anything that one would think of when hearing the word “exercise”.
- I’ve been overweight forever – maybe I AM clueless about diet and exercise. Maybe I’ve been a fool to blatantly ignore this “Eat less, Move more” idea for so long!
Just kidding – I am not going to discuss my views on food addiction, how under-acknowledged it is and how important mental health is in the process of losing a large amount of weight. At least not in this post.
What I will quickly and briefly say about it is regarding something I read in the past, I don’t remember where I came across it, but it was something along the lines of “the diet industry is treating the symptoms of food addiction, not the addiction itself”.
This spoke volumes to me because it says a lot about why countless people are unable to succeed on the diet plans that have been created. Plans that are developed around the idea of “Eat less, Move more”. Telling someone to eat less when there are emotional and mental issues at hand (not judging because I am included in this) doesn’t make any sense. It’s similar to telling an alcoholic to stop drinking by just not going into a bar.
- Food is too emotionally connected in our society.
We live in the most food focused – everywhere you look, an emotion, a feeling, an event, is being tied to foods and drinks. Look at the most popular kid’s meal for children – it is called a “Happy Meal”. A child gets a toy with their fat laden, nutritionally empty food. Birthdays, weddings, promotions, you name it – celebrated with with food, specifically cake. Many office environments, family functions, social outings include people who feel the need to comment on a person’s choice to pass up a second serving, finish the food on a plate or opt out of dessert. This can be a great deal of pressure for an individual who is trying to make better food choices.
Some folks may say “pressure? Um life is about pressure, get over it”. But when you are trying to watch what you are eating, specifically if you are someone who struggles with their weight, many people feel as if they have a right to have an opinion on what you consume and that type of judgment can be daunting for such a personal journey as the one related to an individuals’ health.
To tell anyone of any size to “Eat less and move more” in order to solve weight issues is a little silly when there is this constant focus on food. Always. Everywhere.
It is important to eat less processed and sugary foods just like it is also important to move more (which by the way, getting a Fitbit really goes a long way in showing how little some of us actually move, which I will discuss in a future post).
That being said – this isn’t crappy advice overall, it’s just crappy advice for the majority of people who struggle with weight loss.
Maybe a new slogan for those struggling: “Eat less, eat mindfully, journal about why you are eating what you are eating and when, cut out sugar, do a bunch of emotional/mental regrouping/rebuilding and Move more”.
Ugh. Mine’s not as catchy.