Obesity and Self Control
Fat bashing is very popular, and all the time, lean people tell fat people that they should “just have some self control”. Thats about as helpful as telling an alcoholic that they should just stop drinking. I speak from personal experience here, I have ZERO self control when it comes to sweets. I can easily polish off a pound of chocolate and want another. I can eat two dozen donuts in one sitting and want more. I can eat a whole pound jar of Nutella with a spoon. When someone tells me “you should just have some self control”, it makes me furious. Seriously, who are THEY to tell ME what I should do? If you are lean, please realize that although “self control” might work great for you, it doesn’t work for everyone. My brain is not wired that way. When I taste sugar, all I can think of is MORE.
Everyone is different and needs to find a way to get healthy and fit that works for them. I have fierce sugar cravings and the solution that works for me is just not to buy this kind of stuff nor to have it ever in the house. Not even the ingredients to make it. There is NO butter, sugar, or flour in our house. If other members of your family want cookies, candy, and chips then ask them if they would keep it in a lockbox like this one I made for our house. Problem solved without the need for willpower. Calling me ‘weak willed’ is rather judgmental, who is to say your solution is better than mine? I eat a very healthy, near vegetarian diet and maintain low bodyfat by insuring that 24hrs a day I am surrounded by quick healthy foods – thats what I eat because thats all there is. All that matters is that you find a solution that works for you.
Lacking self-control when it comes to eating is neither an excuse for being obese nor need it be a hinderance to getting lean and healthy. Here on this website I try to give people the tools they need so they can find a method that works for them. The #1 best tool to lose weight is nutritional education. To lose weight and keep it off long term you have to understand the basics of nutrition and that isn’t taught in most schools anymore. Want to start your nutritional education? Just for one single day, count calories. Absolutely everything you consume down to the dash of cream in your coffee, count its calories. This one day of hard work will tell you why you are obese, its because you don’t understand where the calories are.
If you are lean and want to help someone who is obese, start with a gentle education. Education is the #1 best way to combat obesity. Knowing where the calories are coming from and how much they are burning off goes a long way to starting them on the path to being lean. If they are open to it, help them set up an app on their smart phone that counts calories and help them input what they ate today. I know, I know. You say you “have tried to help them”. Remember that people who are obese are ridiculed and made fun of constantly so understand that their armor may be a bit thick. Don’t give up. Don’t mention the “D word” (diet). Just see if you can get them to count calories for one day, or even one meal. As an example, have them make a lunch with you watching and logging the data into Lose It (or whatever smart phone app you use). Its the little “Ah ha moments” that will help them when they realize that the four tablespoons of mayo on their BLT sandwich just cost them 250 calories.
I have always exercised tough love with obese people and I am not flip flopping here. Obese people do NOT have a disease. With the exception of those with mental illnesses, all obese people have it within their power to become lean and fit all by themselves without surgery or pills. Making fun of obese people and calling them “weak willed” or telling them to just have some self control is not helpful. Everyone needs to find a method that works for them but getting lean and staying lean will require lifestyle changes. You either have to increase energy expenditures or decrease energy intake, how you do it depends on what works best for you- for me its the lockbox.