If I could offer one piece of advice to thin people about fat people it would be this: They don’t need your dieting advice.
I know, pretty rich coming from somebody who gives a lot of diet advice, but hear me out. I was fat my entire life, I can remember being taunted by the other kids in kindergarten about being fat. I had one diet program after another shoved down my throat from the age of about 12 on. So as a fat person, there was one thing I knew inside and out: Diets. I knew every diet out there, I knew the theories behind them all, and I’d tried (and failed at) most of them. I knew more about losing weight than any thin person who’d never had to think about food or exercise and yet somehow wound up, through luck or genetics, naturally thin.
I knew what I needed to do to lose weight for most of my life, so why was I still overweight? Because I was lacking two important components: I didn’t know HOW to execute, and I didn’t have enough mental bandwidth to focus on it above all other things in my life.
One thing I realize, as I look back over my efforts at weight loss throughout my life, is that the only time I lost weight without help of a program was when I was unemployed – because it’s really hard! When I wasn’t working I could focus all of my energy and efforts on dieting and exercising and I didn’t have to worry about hunger affecting my performance at work; I could exercise for hours, plan and cook all my meals, research diet ideas, etc. Conversely, the times I was able to lose weight while working for a living was when I was enrolled in a formal program with behaviorists and dieticians providing the food, monitoring, educating and encouraging me each week.
The reason I bring this up is because over the course of my weight management efforts I’ve learned that weight loss takes a huge amount of effort and concentration, and there are good times and bad times to undertake the work required. There were years, in my early 20s, when I knew I needed to lose weight, I knew exactly what I needed to do (because I’d had weight loss schemes shoved down my throat since I was 12) but I knew it wasn’t “the right time.” I was broke, I was depressed, I was working multiple jobs to get by – I didn’t have the time and energy to focus on it on my own, and I didn’t have the money to enroll in a program that could give me the structure I needed. However, when I was mentally ready, I found the tools I needed.
So when somebody says they want to lose weight and they know what to do to lose weight but they’re not ready to do it, you can be absolutely positive that they DO know what to do. It’s the how that’s hard. And whenever they’re ready, they’ll do what they need to do. No advice needed.