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"I hardly eat anything but can't lose weight!" ... Really?

Monday, May 07, 2012

I have a very close friend who is struggling with my weightloss success. She was heavier than I, but it used to not be by much. Now it's getting close to a hundred-pound difference between us. Because of where she was emotionally, I was saying nothing to her about my weightloss, but last week she finally mentioned it and her desire to lose weight.

"The problem is," she said, "I really don't eat that much. How can I cut calories?"

I am certain that she really believes that. But when we went to Five Guys for dinner that evening, I began to see the problem:

I got a single-patty burger; she got a double-patty cheeseburger.
I drank water; she had a large milkshake.
We each split french fries with our hubbies.

Yet, if you asked her today whether she and I had eaten the same amount at that meal, I really believe she would think it was close. We each had a sandwich, a drink, and fries. Surely that's equivalent!

Yet, her meal was probably at least 700 calories more than mine.

I think this happens to everyone when they aren't tracking calories: it's easy to forget what you've eaten, underestimate how much, and ignore or justify. Over the weekend, I saw people who are frustrated with their weight nibbling on handfuls of chips--because it's just a few, right? Well, not if you do it every time you walk past the bowl!

I find it very eye-opening to watch these behaviors, because I know that they are behaviors that I fall into if I'm not paying attention. At this point, I really can't say anything to this friend as she is not ready to hear it. But it's really important to keep the possibility of calories that squeeze in through the cracks in mind.
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  • DANA48131
    I was so like your friend. I could never see the errors of my ways. I always said "I don't eat that much", and maybe I didn't, but looking back now, I can see that I was surely making BAD choices, even if it wasn't "that much".

    I think it's a factor of both quality AND quantity. If all a person eats is heavily processed, packaged, loaded with sugar and fat foods, even if it isn't "a lot", it is still going to have a negative effect.

    I'm my own worst critic, and I never judge others to the scale I judge myself. But I am always happy to state the facts of my journey to anyone who asks. They can do what they wish with that knowledge. Everyone's journey is different.

    You keep up the FANTASTIC work!

    2230 days ago
  • ALICIA0099
    I just want to say kudos to you for not being a preachy friend and realizing her boundaries. good job. I always hated hearing stuff when I wasn't ready for it.

    also, great blog. good point. so true.
    2231 days ago
    If your friend were eating less than she thought or figured. There is another thing that may be happening. Not enough calories to burn? Metabolism takes a double header into the 0 file. Lets say all she ate that day was what you saw her eat. It may have still been under 1200 calories (I doubt it, not with that milkshake! lol) but on any other given day, she may fall short of the 1200. So therefore she has a M problem. It's probably nil, and she therefore stays at her weight at point.
    2231 days ago
    You are so right!!! My DD used to do the same thing. But since joining WW she has found out that she was over eating. Keep up the good work and leading by example.
    2232 days ago
    Yes, you are exactly right. When she is ready to "hear", I have a feeling you will be around to help her!
    2232 days ago
    I think it's similar to the deceptive way I could tell myself I wasn't as big as that person over there - as a way of feeling less obese somehow. Sure, I weigh this much, but it's not THAT high. It's less than half what those people who get stuck to their bed or sofa because they never move weight.


    We humans are incredible at self-deception, especially when we're convinced self-preservation is involved.

    I'd agree with others on encouraging her to try out SparkPeople's food tracker or even just a food diary and looking at nutritional information. She doesn't know where she can cut calories, but part of that is she doesn't know where she's getting those calories. Only when she's ready and willing to LOOK will she see.
    2232 days ago
    I am glad you will be there when your friend is ready to hear it!
    2232 days ago

    WONDERFUL blog. I couldn't agree more.

    2232 days ago
    Excellent blog...you are exactly right! I would be willing to bet she more like 1500 calories more than you...it is shocking to look up the value of fast foods.
    2232 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/7/2012 1:48:44 PM
    I know that I had no clue how many calories I ate per day until I started tracking on Sparkpeople. But, we know that the other half of that equation is a lack of movement. It is also not just how much, but what we are eating. I used to be hungry all the time-now eating better and less, I am usually satisfied. Actually, I can tell if I have overdone processed carbs-I will be starving after I eat. emoticon
    2232 days ago
    You are exactly right. I don't think anybody has a real clue about how those calories add up until they start tracking. It's a real eye opener, but you have to commit to being completely honest.
    2232 days ago
  • DARA52
    Tracking is how I keep myself in line. Good reminder! Thanks!
    2232 days ago
    Some of it is not really knowing what the calorie count is in things. "It's just a smoothie, it's just fruit, right?" "That coffee shouldn't have that many calories." "French fries go with everything."

    I hope she'll find someplace to put down what she really eats and finds out that milkshakes have more calories than what one person should have in a day. It's really an eye opener to see what you really are eating in a day, especially when the person normally drinks pop or something that's not water with every meal and snack.

    Some people think that eating once a day is "not eating that much". When in all reality that one meal not only throws off the body, but can contain enough calories for a couple of days.

    You did suggest this site for her? All you can do is lead the person, she has to do it by herself. If she's really serious, she'll look into the site.
    2232 days ago
    You are spot on!!
    2232 days ago
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