Just Ignore Them

A few days ago, I shared a piece that I wrote about peer pressure. I was angry that a friend of mine tried to get me to eat something that was not only fattening but also not kosher. I wrote the article to remind myself – and others like me – how hard it is to stay true to one’s diet (and to one’s religion), and that pressure from friends was unwelcome.

I got a response from a fellow dieter that read: ‘Just ignore them.’ This got me thinking.

The word ‘just’ should be taken out of the language as far as dieting is concerned. Let’s look at some of the advice I have gotten from people over the years that begin with that word:

  • “Just cut out the carbs and you’ll lose the weight.”
  • “Just drink a glass of grapefruit juice before every meal.”
  • “Just cut out sweets.”
  • “Just eat between 10:00am and 6:00pm.”
  • “Just cut out alcohol and the weight will melt away.”
  • “Just walk a couple of miles every day!”

The list goes on and on and on, ad nauseum. There seems to be this colossal misunderstanding that by adding the word ‘just’ in front of a suggestion means that it will be easy. If that was true, there would be no fat people in the world. Nor, for that matter, would there be any poor people, or weak people, or people who abuse their spouses and children.

What would happen if we were to replace the word ‘just’ with something more appropriate and honest?

  • “As much as you love carbs, if you cut them out you will lose weight.”
  • “You may not like the taste but drinking a glass of grapefruit juice before eating might help with weight loss.”
  • “They are so tasty and addictive… but if you cut out sweets you will lose weight.”
  • “It is not easy, but some people find they lose weight if they only eat between the hours of 10:00am and 6:00pm.”
  • “We all love a drink now and then, but alcohol is empty calories and cutting them out can help you to lose weight.”
  • “Exercise is good for weight loss, as hard as it might be.”

This advice may not sound easy, but it is honest. There used to be a commercial on the radio that started: “Losing weight is simple… but it is not easy.” I do not know how simple it is, but it is certainly not easy… and it is certainly not a one size fits all thing.

I have a close friend who is a gourmet chef, and probably outweighs me by a couple hundred pounds. He is having success losing weight with intermittent fasting (the 10-6 thing) but has told me flat out that he will not cut pasta out of his diet. Okay, he still eats his carbs… and is losing weight. I have another friend who has lost a lot of weight by dieting but does absolutely no exercise.

Do you see where I am going with this? There is no one approach to losing weight, but none of them are easy. Likewise, ‘Just ignore them’ was what my mother used to tell me about bullies when I was in elementary school. IDIOT! It isn’t like I was going out looking to be bullied. They came to me, and if I ignored them, I got beaten up. This may not have been the worst advice I ever got from my mother, but it was pretty bad. It was if she was saying “Why are you so stupid! If someone gets in your face and calls you names, just walk away and they will never call you names anymore! Name calling doesn’t hurt anyone!” Thanks, Ma.

Rather than saying to someone ‘Just ignore them,’ try “Oh my G-d, that is terrible. I know it is hard, but you have to remember to walk away. Whatever you eat hurts you, not them.” There are lots of things you can say, but whatever it is… take the word JUST out of it and throw it in the garbage. Unless you are explaining something on a computer when you say ‘Just press the space bar’ just stop saying the word.


2 responses to “Just Ignore Them”

  1. Love this so much. It applies to many things in addition to dieting—coping with infertility, serious illness, a difficult child, a parent with dementia. I once read a book where the mother’s advice to everything was @Just put on a little lipstick”. It sounds absurd but is really no worse than your examples.


    1. Thanks for this Michele. Rather than approving your comment correcting this one, I simply made the correction. You are 100% right. Thanks for reading!


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