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"But I barely eat..." - Really?


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I'm not trying to be facetious or rude, I'm really not, but there is something I always wonder about. I was never obese (just tipped the overweight scale) when I joined this site and I KNEW I ate badly. I mean, I realized I was overweight because I ate too many sweets and fast food.

I often hear obese co workers or other people say stuff like "I barely eat at all" or "I usually eat a healthy diet" and wonder how this can be true. They say they don't know why they don't lose weight? I always wonder about this but it would be rude to ask what they eat.

What do you think they mean by this? Do you think they are just fooling themselves, or is it actually possible? Is it possible they just don't know how much they are really eating? Admittedly I knew I was eating bad, but there were things I thought were "healthy" that I discovered actually weren't when I began my weight loss journey.

I figured calorie count is the best place to ask this, because many of us have been there (being overweight) and then discovered healthy eating. How was it for you? Did you know you were eating poorly or was it a surprise when you began to lose weight?

72 Replies (last)

You know, a lot of people are delusioned by the idea that what they're eating is 'little'. I never ate a lot but I realised that what I ate was the problem - sandwiches, pasta, white rice, white bread, glass of wine here and there. After I started writing down what I eat and trying to avoid carbs I started realising what I was doing wrong. So maybe it's not how much they eat but what they eat. And perhaps the lack of exercise.

Plus many people don't consider cheeky snacks as part of their daily intake where the calories could built up...

I was obese and I knew I over ate! I could quite easily demolish a whole packet of biscuits (cookies) and eat and eat until I was bursting. I've never quite understood over weight people saying 'I hardly eat anything' either. To get to a large size one has to consistently eat large quantities and until you admit that's what you're doing you won't lose weight.

I quite freely admitted that I ate too much and when I decided enough was enough the smaller portions of healthier food saw the weight drop off which didn't surprise me at all. I fully expected to lose the weight once I started eating properly. 

I think when people aren't in the right frame of mind to do anything about their obesity it's sometimes easier to pretend that the solution is out with their control and by saying it's not what they eat, but it's glands/hormones etc then it abdicates responsibility.

When I was overweight I definitely knew that my portions were too big and that I ate too much refined foods and didn't exercise. People know this intuitively!

I have a very good friend who has always been obese and unfortunately she is still wondering after all these years why she is overweight since she "goes to the gym, swims and eats properly".

We went on a little vacation together and the first morning she asked me to tie up her shoelaces because it was hard for her to bend over I knew she must have been exaggerating about her exercise. She lounged in the hot pool while I did laps in the cold pool. When we would go for meals, she would giggle nervously and say "well, I'm on vacation, so dessert won't hurt a few times". She is a diabetic.

I just kept my mouth shut. I enjoy her company but she's clearly delusional.

#4  
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Im so glad soneone has bought this up. It really annoys me when hugely overweight people moan and say "i eat healthily and i exercise but i never lose weight" i mean cmon! Stop lying to us and yourself. Youre either not putting effort into exercise or youre lying about eating healthily or both. And dont get me started on the "i have a slow metabolism" excuse. Rant over.

For me personally, I was just eating the too much of the wrong things. I've kinda figured out what I need to do to keep my body in losing mode.

My mom though is a completely other story. She really never has a full meal, but drinks coffee with milk ALL DAY. She may have oatmeal or toast with it. Will have a random lunch and maybe nothing for dinner. Her eating habbits are horrible and even though she probably never tops the 2000 mark for calories, her metabolism is shot through many years of undereating, hitting the gym to do a step or kickboxing class and wondering why she can't lose weight. When she diets, she goes for quick fixes - Slim Fast or Cabbage Soup Diet so when I started trying to lose weight I thought that was the way to do it too. It's taken me a long time to see that I can eat real food and lose weight were as she "barely eats" and can't manage to lose anything. I think that may be where people's complaints come from.

I think it is perfectly possible to eat healthy and be overweight. You can eat healthy foods but eat too much of them and gain weight.

As for the comment "I hardly eat at all", again I think it is possible to be overweight and hardly eat at all. Maybe they don't eat much but when they do eat they are eating high caloric density foods (fast food or whatnot). Or maybe they eat little but drink sugar loaded soda all day. Or possibly, as you said, they don't have a baseline for what eating too much looks like.

I think both of these problems would be corrected by education. Unfortunately, we don't have any nutrition education in the schools... at least in the US but that's an entirely different topic.

I was never obese...but I've been overweight my whole life.  When I start watching what I eat it is amazing to think of the excuses I made to myself before when the weight starts coming back.  I always said stuff like "I only had a large shake I didn't have fries"; "I only ate dinner" (when dinner consisted of 4 cups of pasta with sauce as 3 pieces of garlic bread and wine)...plus the others like "it must be my time of the month" or "the darn dryer shrunk my clothes again".

It really is about what you eat...I know as long as you eat a deficit you are okay but clearly I didn't have a deficit because I ate all the wrong foods...and too much of them.

:o)

.

I have a good friend who is in exactly that frame of mind.  She's very overweight - obese for sure - and when we eat out she always makes a point of only eating half her meal and taking the rest home "for lunch the next day."  I have a strong suspicion based on vacationing together that "lunch" = "midnight snack" in most cases. 

I'm overweight because I eat and drink too much of the wrong things and don't exercise.  That's the only explanation.  I live alone and often eat alone, so when there's no one watching I often overeat or make ridiculous choices.  When I count calories, record my food and exercise, I lose weight and I'm sure my friend would have success if she did the same.  Instead she sticks to her story of "not eating that much" and working out regularly and now she's stuck to it so long that she probably believes it's Gospel truth. . .which just gets her more stuck in the situation that she hates.  Perception is so easily manipulated and so difficult to change once it's set in.

Yes I barely eat yet I am 300 lb and I am so so full on 800 calories just annoy me.

When I eat a bunch and get no exercise I gain weight. When I watch what I eat and I exercise I lose weight. Yes healthy foods make me full on less. But yup I am still hungry on 1500 calories a day but I am eating an apple right now when I really want a reese cup.

My sister says she barely eats but she is definitely heavier than me, and I have 80 pounds to lose!  She drinks pop and sweetened teas and coffee drinks.  Then she has to "make up" for breakfast and lunch at dinner time, eating large amounts of terrible processed foods!  I wish she understood that anything you put in your mouth "counts".  And I wish she would take advantage of all the info out there on proper nutrition. 

I got where I am by eating very healthy during the day and exercising a few days a week (hiking, biking) AND binging carbs and nuts when no one was looking AND eating/drinking overnight.  Now I am working on being true to myself and my goals by not eating overnight and not binging when alone.  It is hard because I have been doing it for so long, but I want to do it.  I joined Curves and have been going Monday-Friday, working out 1 hour and also doing Zumba for a month.  Some people don't want to change.  Some people love making excuses because it makes them feel better about their bad decisions.  I am tired of it! 

I think it partly depends on what you perceive as "a lot". 

When I was working odd days I used to occasionally pick up my mom at quilting bee and go to lunch with the quilt ladies.  Lovely women but, collectively, one of the most conspicuously and uniformly overweight groups of people I have ever seen.  We would go to a local "down-home cooking" place.  A "light" lunch for them was a 1/2-pound turkey burger . . . with a buttered bun, mayonnaise, fries, and a very large Coke or sweet tea. 

I ate half a burger and gave away most of my fries and they asked me if I wasn't feeling well.

I think it was beyond even self-deception: I think that huge, heavy, meals were so normal to them that they genuinely did see this as "light".   And they would complain that they'd settled for turkey instead of a "real" burger, even though a lot of commercial turkey burgers are just as fatty as beef.

So, I think it varies: Sometimes they're lying to everyone else, sometimes they're lying to themselves, and sometimes they're not lying at all (because they really do believe it).

I think people say it because they are embarrassed. We see weight gain as a failing, lack of control as a failing, and I think that people don't want to be judged negatively (for good reason).

I also think that people will go out to eat wi their friends, and will see a good (thin) friend eat a ton. Some of my thinnest friends will eat the most, and it is only the thinnest people I know who drink regular soda over diet! But, often these friends will eat a lot when they want to, and then will naturally modulate. A giant lunch, and then without thinking, a small dinner. I have an overweight friend who always talks about how much I eat and never gain (though, blah, I did start gaining, hence I'm here!) But, the thing is, I may have french fries whenever they're offered, but that may be all I want. She'll eat a giant salad with cheese and meat and dressing ... And while I'm not arguing that I'm making a healthy choice (something I'm terrible at!) it does end up with fewer calories.

Finally, I think a lot of people skip meals, overeat snacks/other meals, but still feel they've deprived and should have lost. Even I have noticed if I don't eat breakfast (this was pre-CC), I'd get a snack in mid-morning (often more caloric than my breakfast would have been!), would eat a giant lunch (hey, I didn't have breakfast!), and would overeat at dinner too. Hey, days when I was too busy to eat breakfast and lunch and gave myself a free pass at dinner, well, I almost certainly ate MUCH MORE those days than days when I ate three meals. Still, I think I convinced myself otherwise at the time.

My boss gained 5 pounds in the time that I lost 15.  She stated that she "never ate anything," and we went through what she ate once and I plugged it into Calorie Count for her.  It's true that her meals were small (and completely unbalanced - no veggies, no fruit, no breakfast), but what I couldn't get her to admit to was the constant snacking she did all day.  She was always in the kitchen finishing someone else's muffin, having a second piece of cake, etc.  And then there was the wine with dinner.  But, since these were not "meals," I think she fooled herself into thinking that she hadn't eaten them.

I think we fatties get really good at deluding ourselves - here are some of mine: "I walk to the bus stop every day, so I exercise." "I eat turkey burgers and drink diet coke, so I eat healthy."  "I had fries with my dinner, but I said "no" to the chocolate cake."  I THOUGHT I ate healthy and ate all kinds of fruits & veggies, but my tracking told a different story.  Shockingly, buying veggies and letting them rot in the fridge is NOT the same thing as eating them.  In addition, even when I went through periods of relatively healthy eating (to set examples for my kids), I would sabatoge that all by the ice cream and beer I consumed when the kids went to bed. 

Finally, I think sometimes portion control gets all out of whack.  To me, I've had to learn that feeling "satisfied" means not feeling like I'm hungry.  I'm rarely "satisfied" unless I've stuffed myself until I can't move, but I'm frequently not hungry.  I really had to learn to wait a half hour after I'd eaten to see if I was really still hungry because after I finish eating I'm usually still hungry, only to feel not hungry after I've had a chance to digest a bit.

Original Post by mrswilsonscat:

I don't understand this either. neither do I understand the threads where people trying to lose weight struggle so badly to get their calories UP to 1,200, 'cos thay are just SSSOOO full on 800, or whatever... I mean, How can that be possible? People don't become overweight eating less than 1,200 calories a day.

Again, like the OP, not trying to be facetious or rude, just don't get it.

This. this, this, this, this this.

Really people? You just OMGCANTEAT 1000 calories?

-________- (<- my WTF face).

I know many people IRL who pull the whole "I don't know why I'm so fat" card. Yet, they eat whatever, whenever, and don't exercise.

Apple pie is not healthy just because it HAS apples in it! lol

Original Post by libsterdc:

"I walk to the bus stop every day, so I exercise."


Yes! And then it felt OK to eat more. (This is actually why a lot of people don't lose weight when they add even real cardio into their routine. An hour on the elliptical = 1 muffin from Starbucks. If that. Unless you're calculating carefully, it is SO easy to eat back calories expended from working out.) I also hate the 'I'm just not able to squeeze >1000 calories in.' 200 calories is 2 spoonfuls of peanut butter! A hunk of cheese and 4 crackers. A mug of hot chocolate made with real cocoa. I understand people saying it can be psychologically hard to accept that eating as little as possible isn't the best way to lose. But the HOW DO I POSSIBLY SQUEEZE ANY MORE IN slaughters me.

Well, personally speaking, I was over weight bc I was starving myself. I limited to 1200 calories a day and ran 5-10 miles a night and didn't lose a single ounce! My body held on to anything it could.

 

#18  
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It's really ironic to always see all the posts of people who are trying to lose weight and are still overweight/obese claiming they cannot eat enough. You got that way through one extreme, but the other extreme does not mean you are any healthier. And yes, it's really not hard to add calories... at all. It bothers me a little when people are given good advice and than claim it can't work. 

I personally think the reason some people don't understand their weight problem is because they may eat healthy, but are still over weight due to large portion sizes. You can have a healthy meal, but two servings of said healthy meal will pile the pounds on despite the nutritional value. Or the assumption that some foods are better than they are.  My boyfriend (albeit, he miraculously stays at a low weight, arg!) can finish an entire box of cheese nips or ritz crackers, because they are a healthy alternative to chips. But, they really aren't and should be eaten in moderation. I find people make those kind of mistakes with granola bars or certain cereals too.

And I mean, there are people like my mom. She has a thyroid problem, and the medication she should take deteriorates her jaw bone. So she will just be overweight, despite exercise and an extremely healthy diet. But I'd say these are the minority.

Honestly? I used to say something like that.  Well, I didn't say I BARELY ate, I said I don't really eat huge amounts of food.  And that was true.  However.  I realized after I started logging my food that a high proportion of what I was eating was calorie-dense.  Like chips. And fries. And creamy sauces on pasta.

I also had a "slow metabolism" -- slow because I have a desk job and wasn't exercising and when I got home, I'd be on the computer, watching TV, or reading a book.

Another thing: I think people don't realize how many calories there can be in stuff they drink. Sure, we all know soda is loaded with sugar, but most people think orange juice, or apple juice, or whatever kind of juice, is healthy, without realizing how much sugar there is in those as well.

 I'm actually eating more now in terms of volume, but I'm making better food choices, and it has helped with the weight loss.  I'm also working out, which helps. (Although I think I need to reassess my food again and make some more changes -- I've been plateaued for three months!)

 

I agree with roman on the idea that people don't realize how many calories they are getting from liquids. 

DH used to drink lots of juices and sodas and couldn't figure out why he couldn't lose weight when he was trying to diet because he didn't eat much.   Drinking 600-800 calories was completely offsetting his good eating habits. 

 

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