Today is the fortieth day of my diet. I am feeling better, my clothes are fitting better. I do not feel like a new person, but I do seem to have more energy than I did at my heaviest. I have a long way to go.
Yesterday was not a good day for my diet. While I passed the greatest challenge (not eating any of my son’s pizza or cheesy bread), I did have a lot of chicken for dinner, and a bag of popcorn. I do not know if it was simply because I miss Leslie (who I drove to the airport yesterday afternoon), or if I just slipped. It is likely the former. Today I have to do better.
Someone responded to a post of mine on Facebook telling me not to diet, that moderation is the key. She wrote:
“Don’t diet. I always eat pizza fries ice cream chocolate etc. It’s the portion that matters not the food. A diet isn’t sustainable and why people gain everything back and some. Eat enjoy move on. Now that’s self-love and life.”
I wanted to say something much harsher, but opted for the following response:
“The preceding message works fine for people who are 10-15lbs overweight. If (as I am) you are morbidly obese, please consult medical professionals (as I have), and not people who do not understand what REAL weight issues are.”
Believe me, the first three responses that I typed were much ruder.
I cannot stand people trying to give me weight loss advice. Everyone seems to think they know the secret. Let me let you in on a little secret: If there was one magic bullet to lose a lot of weight and keep it off, the entire world would be slim. Hey friend, I know your heart is in the right place, but kindly keep your extremely unwelcome unsolicited advice to yourself.
That, incidentally, is good advice for anyone who is tempted to give weight-loss advice to anyone who is overweight, and who did not ask for it. If we wanted your advice, we would have asked for it. Yes, there is the extremely small percentage of people who do not know how to ask for help, and there might even be people who will be grateful for it… although I doubt it. To help you understand, this is the conversation:
You: “Oh, I see you are having trouble losing weight. What you should do is this. I promise it will just melt off!”
Fat Guy/Girl: “Thank you. I will consider that.”
But here’s the thing: What Fat Guy/Girl is thinking is: “You know what, you sanctimonious prick? I did not ask for your advice, I do not want your advice, and any implication that there is a simple way to lose this much weight implies you think that I am weak and a failure, and without your help I cannot succeed. Do you think I like being morbidly obese? Do you think I do it because it is fun, or because of how attractive it makes me to the opposite sex? You asshole, I am fat because of either psychological or physiological reasons that are none of your damned business… and if they were, I would have shared them with you long since. Also, Ass: Do you think you are the first person to tell me the secret to weight loss? You are not in the top 20. Guess what? Most of you are giving me different advice. You know what the only thing all of you have in common? I did not ask for your advice, I do not want your advice, and it is a shame that it is illegal for me to punch you in the face for giving me your advice.
Let me make this clear. While there may be others, these are the most obvious categories of overweight people:
1. People who are happy being overweight. While this is probably the rarest of them, it is a thing.
2. People who are unhappy being overweight but have not started trying to lose weight.
3. People who are unhappy being overweight and who have tried and failed to lose weight.
4. People who are unhappy being overweight and who have lost the weight then regained the weight, often several times.
There are others, I am sure. Unless someone from any of these categories says to you “Hey, friend… I know you are slim, and I am not, and I would like your advice on how I can become more like you” then they do not want your advice.
As a bonus, talking about their weight issues is always counterproductive. Guess what? They will know… and it will discourage them more. Your gossiping about their weight problems is just mean and makes you sound like you are still in high school.
You might know what the psychological trauma they faced is, you may not. Yes, everyone knows I was in the Army, and some people know (or have an idea of) what I went through. Fewer people know about my childhood. You might know it all, you might know none of it. It doesn’t matter. Unless I ask you for your advice, mind your own damned business.
For the record: Every time you tell an overweight person that the key to life is moderation and portion control, most of them want to reach for a large all-dressed pizza, a double-cheeseburger with a side of fries, or a large plate of deep-fried breaded wings dripping with sauce. If we don’t do that, it is not because of you… any more than if we do that it is because of you. Our weight gain may have many causes, but as adults, we are responsible for it; nobody forced me to make a huge plate of extra-creamy pasta with meats and cheeses and a large plate of garlic bread. I am fat because of me.
Now please understand the corollary of that: If we eat healthy, successfully practice the self-control that we all need, and we do lose weight, we get the credit… not you.
Have a great day. I’m going to have my lunch, and then I need a cigar before class starts.