Thursday, January 24, 2013

Eating "like a normal person"

I was listening to Jillian Michaels's latest podcast episode. The caller really got to me. She had lost 100 pounds on a low-carb diet, but as soon as she tried to eat "like a normal person," she said, the weight started coming back on.  Jillian asked her what eating like a normal person meant, and she hemmed and hawed and finally admitted that she had gone to lunch with a friend and had a bacon cheeseburger and fries.

Here's a reconstruction of the conversation from there:

"NOOOO!": screamed The Jillian

"Normal people can do that," said the caller.

"No, no they can't."

"They do!, normal people do."

"Well, half our population is obese, this is why!"

"I see people eating like that."

"Did you look at their bodies? They look like crap!"

I was a little disappointed that Jillian didn't explain that with a low-carb diet, your body dumps water, but when you eat carbs, the water comes back so that the extra carbs can be stored. But the larger point is right.  We have kind of a messed-up idea that some people can walk around, drink Coca-Cola and eat bacon cheeseburgers, and stay thin, if they're the right kind of people. This woman had gotten herself in a cycle of a very strict, boring diet to lose weight, and then going right back to her old bad habits when she got to her goal.

Sound familiar?  It does to me.

Jillian explained that if you lose weight the right way, the only difference when you get to maintenance is that you get to eat a little more. End of story.

This is why I'm so determined to do things the right way this time around.


  1. Replies
    1. Full disclosure: I have never eaten a bacon cheeseburger.

  2. I know a very thin women who eats like that (burger fries) every day. But that is all she eats, every day. She eats whatever she wants for lunch and then nothing else. And these are not rolling meals that last for hours. She eats one plate full of what she wants and then done. She eats out each day (family owns restaurant). But she cooks for her very large family. Her nutrition has got to be truly shocking, because I think her veggie/fruit intake must be nearly nil. She exercises and you would never know (about the nutrition) to look at her. But at some point it has got to catch up.

    I know another one who only eats dinner. She eats from home and eats healthy. But her calorie intake has got to be very low. She is about 5' without one extra pound on her and is an avid runner (in her 60's).

  3. The Beck Diet Solution addressed the perception of normal eating very well. Reading the chapter "How thin people think" was a real eye opener for me.

    From her research, Dr. Beck groups thin people into two groups: people who don’t have to work at staying thin and those who do.

    Characteristics of those who don't work to stay thin include naturally small appetites, eat only when hungry and exercise sufficiently. The other thin people work at it, eating smaller portions, low-calorie foods and eat fattening foods only on occasion.

    The difference between the two groups: those who don't have to work to stay thin and those who do is their mindset. The thin people don’t dwell on or struggle with restrictions and can manage the overwhelming barrage of sabotaging thoughts.

    What Jillian's caller doesn't see is what those normal people eat the rest of the day or week. She only sees is one meal, one moment. You don't know what one person does (or doesn't do) to be thin. Heck - that normal person may have an eating disorder.

    The caller may also not realize that the normal eater is probably not interested in eating the same amount or types of food as the other patrons. I thought that everyone wanted to eat chocolate, baked goods and french fries every day, but most normal eaters don't.


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07