So, I mentioned Debra’s Just Maintaining to someone I know, talking about the intense exercise regiment she goes through every day to maintain her weight. She gets up at 4:30 in the morning to work out hard and fast, doing almost an hour of aerobics with 20-30 pounds of weight. (I think I actually misquoted how much she works out.) He said, “You know how else she could keep weight off? Stop eating so much.” I think my jaw may actually have dropped. If you read the blog, you know she eats 1600-2000 calories a day, carefully portioned out and strictly measured. This is the number she’s tweaked deliberately to make sure she doesn’t get so hungry that she feels the need to binge, or so full that her body has a chance to create fat stores. She describes it as “spend[ing] the day ice skating on a single blade at the edge of hunger.” Stop eating “so much” indeed.
But this guy is naturally very thin. He’s one of those people that it’s easy to be jealous of if you’re not happy with your own body, because he’s built like a runner and yet seems to eat everything in sight. It’s easy to assume sometimes that your body works the way everyone else’s does, that if you can eat 2500 or 2800 calories in a day and be skinny, that a fat person must eat much more than that. If he spends an afternoon at my house and drinks two full-sugar sodas, he probably thinks I drink four or five a day. (I might drink one in a day, and only if I’ve run out of diet, or at least caffeine-free diet like Sierra Mist or Slice.)
This is why when people honestly describe what they eat, they aren’t believed. The doctor or nutritionist or random internet know-it-all may be judging based on their own body, not realizing or accepting that bodies are different. The people preaching “calories in, calories out” ignore a zillion variables to make that seem like a simple equation. How many calories does your body actually wring out of the food it takes in? What’s your body temperature and energy level? And at what point does your body go into a panicked starvation state and start burning muscle for energy? It’s not anywhere near as simple as it looks.
*This is not in any way meant to rag on skinny people in general, just on a particular behavior I’ve seen from some people.