Just stop eating and get off the couch

If you’re fat, or overweight, or just a little chubby, or have every once uttered that you wish you could lose weight, you have most likely been told by someone, somewhere to “just stop eating and get off the couch.”

I’d like to address both of these “solutions” with my own experiences. Sharon, a blogger friend, wrote about this a couple of months ago in A Plus Sized Rant . . . many of the points are the same, but as everyone knows, we all have our own experiences.

Those who have been following my check-ins know that I have struggled with weight most of my life and have recently reached an all-time high. I am not going to deny that I have an unhealthy relationship with food. I always have. And not just from overeating — I’ve gone to the other extreme as well.

If it was just simply a matter of “just stop eating,” it would be a hell of a lot easier. If I could quit food the way I quit smoking, it would be difficult, but not as difficult. But the fact is we all need to eat. And anyone who knows what he is talking about will tell you that the best way to lose weight is to eat more, not less.

Sounds easy, right? It’s not. Normally, I’m a once or twice a day eater. According to most of the doctors and nutritionists I’ve talked to, ideally a person should eat five or six times a day. During this week, there were two days when I forgot to eat until dinner time. Monday, I didn’t eat until 6pm. Tuesday, I didn’t eat until 11pm. I have to remind myself daily to eat.

I’ve heard remarks about weight and obesity and finances. I’ve heard people say of a poor person that he must not be that poor, look how fat he is! Well, guess what, it costs more money to eat healthy than it does to eat junk. I can buy 6 soft pretzels for $2.00 down the street. I can buy boxes of macaroni and cheese for 50 cents when they go on sale. I can get Bar S hot dogs from Walmart for $1.00 a pack. But produce, lean meats, whole grains . . . they cost money and good luck finding coupons!

Now, I’m not saying that I never over-ate. Here’s another fact for you . . . junk food is less likely to satisfy appetite than healthy food. Our bodies crave nutrients that cannot be found on a diet of mac & cheese with hot dogs. Add to that, the whole food as a replacement for love complex . . . yeah, I’ve overeaten plenty of times.

The point is that losing weight is not simply a matter of “just don’t eat.” It takes hard work.

Oh . . . and “get off the couch”? I cannot speak for everyone, only myself. What I can tell you is that I’m a walker. I’ve never had a driver’s license and quite frequently, it’s just easier to walk than take the bus. Take this past Tuesday. I went grocery shopping. I brought along my wheelie suitcase and intended on taking the bus home.

I left the ACME with my loaded up suitcase, plus a few extra bags rigged up so I could throw them over my shoulders. I went to lift the suitcase and came to the sudden realization that there was not a chance I would be able to lift it on to the bus. My solution? I walked the 2 miles home . . . but I got lost, so it was probably closer to 3.

This is not atypical behavior for me. I have never been sedentary. I admit that I’m not out and about as much anymore because I work from home . . . on a computer for several hours a day. What I can tell you is that unless I am sitting down to coupon or fold laundry, I am very rarely sitting on the couch.

So, that’s my rant, mixed in with my updates from the week. It’s not meant to make excuses. It’s simply meant to dispel a few extremely irritating and inaccurate statements. While none of them have been directed at me lately, I have heard the remarks several times over the past week – whether it’s been a Facebook status, a conversation I’ve eavesdropped on or the snippets I catch from the TV in the other room when I’m working. And well, what better way to oust my frustrations than to write about them?

I’ve done fairly well keeping up with my Energy & Mood Journal (save Friday and Saturday – you can thank the migraines). I’ve lost 2 lbs. this week, bringing me to 323. I’ve eaten really well this week (mostly) and overall, I feel great. Admittedly, this past week was absolutely hellish (totally unrelated to the not-a-diet), but I survived . . . and I’ve come out of it with some very tangible solutions to some ongoing problems.

18 responses to this post.

    I’ve been guilty of skipping meals because I am busy doing other things as well, and then I end up eating later than I want to. I have felt eyes staring at me because of my weight and I know people are thinking that I must eat pretty dang good because I’m not a bean pole and it never ceases to stop frustrating me…Regardless if a person got bigger by overeating or not, doing without eating isn’t going to make them skinny…..Starving yourself makes your body hang on to every pound!
    You’re right when you say it’s not as easy as quitting cigarettes….everyone has to eat to live…
    This reminds me of something I thought the other week……What if a person who is already heavy goes through a time in their life where they don’t have much money and are forced to be on a budget? People may look at you and think oh, you’re big, so you’re eating good, BUT how can they really know, huh? A heavy person could go without eating for a week or 2 weeks and guess what? You can’t really tell because they’re not going to magically be a size zero because of it….so how many kids are out there actually starving but are overlooked because they might have a physical problem causing them to be overweight….I think too many people overlook the fact that you don’t have to be stick thin with your bones showing to be going without food or starving…and there are people in America who look bigger but might be starving….


    • I had a feeling you would have a lot to say here! (Just as if I’m remembering correctly, I had a lot to say on your post!)

      I have completely screwed up my metabolism with all of the crash diets I’ve tried over the years. I have no doubt that all of the times I “just stopped eating” . . . literally, I’ve gone weeks without anything but a few pretzel sticks . . . are at least partly responsible for my current weight.

      And I completely agree about not really being able to know how a person eats just by looking at their size. It goes the other way too. My mom was very thin and worked with Italians who used to constantly shove food at her telling her that she needed to eat more . . . but my mom could eat whatever she wanted and never gained an ounce.

      It’s just one more reason why people need to stop judging people based on what they look like!


  2. Posted by Karen Garnica on October 24, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    Dayle, you are so right that to buy healthy food for healthy meals 24/7 one must have money. It is a comment on our society’s failings that the poor cannot get healthy food. I would love to see more fruit trees in parks, and free community gardens…it’s a huge problem to be poor and try to eat in a healthy manner. It’s a downward spiral, no healthy food, more health problems, etc. Great article.


    • I’m lucky right now because there’s a community farmer’s market I can go to every week. It’s always hit or miss on what they have, but it’s been a huge help in keeping fresh produce in the house. You get community dollars for donating items or volunteering and then everything costs 1 community dollar and 1 real dollar.

      When my daughter was a baby, we were completely flat broke. We survived on credit cards for months. I was able to get the food I needed for my daughter (with a lot of help from WIC), but my exhusband and I pretty much lived on hot dogs and mac and cheese for a while.

      I love the idea of fruit trees in parks and free community gardens . . . I’ll have to look into that more!


      • Posted by Karen Garnica on October 25, 2011 at 11:30 pm

        oh a community farmer’s market, donate and receive…great idea….urban foraging particularly on foreclosed properties is a new thing I guess now…harvesting berries, trees, etc on foreclosed properties or where it is going to rot – years ago everyone had fruit trees and gardens and it seems canned etc…shared…it seems to have kind of gone by the wayside but I think fruit trees in parks would be a great idea…we have a community garden at a park – rent 25 ft by 25 ft for $25 per year – city plows and provides water – but only one that I know of and it’s soil not so great…far from me too…read about casita trend in NY’s neighborhoods some years ago and loved the idea of it


  3. I love your honesty and courage. You are obviously trying to get yourself to a healthy place and if someone wants to crap all over that, that just shows their true colors. It’s SO easy to say, say, say, and much harder to DO.


    • Thank you, Jen! You’re absolutely right . . . and really, that goes for everything. Someone who has never had a substance abuse problem can tell an alcoholic to “just stop drinking” all he wants, but it’s just not that easy. It’s the whole walk a mile in another’s shoes thing, which is why I am firm believer in “it’s not my place to judge” . . . Can’t say that I always uphold that. I make my mistakes, of course. But I try 🙂


  4. You are SO right that junk food is far cheaper than healthy food. I feed my children a ton of pasta because it’s affordable.

    My “trick” is drinking as much as possible instead of eating. I’d like to say I’m drinking tons of water. But I’m pretty much drinking no water and lots of coffee. But I’ve lost over 20 pounds so far! Oh yeah, and I’ve been depressed and stressed out and ready to check myself into a mental hospital. Those are my special secrets. 😛


    • ::HUGS:: I’VE MISSED YOU!!!

      Ok, just had to get that out of my system.

      I’ve lost weight before because of depression, stress and the desire to check myself into a mental hospital . . . not a fun way to do it! My thoughts and prayers are with you always!

      And as for drinking more . . . yeah, water would be better for you, but coffee is soooooo good! 😀


  5. I tell ya what, going crazy for a while is totally worth it if it means I get to lose 20 pounds. But maybe that’s just me. 🙂

    I have missed you so much! My husband got really concerned about me using the Internet too much, so I’m not online at night anymore. I was hardly using it at all, actually. But now I’m checking in a few times a day, just not for lengthy periods of time. So if you want to chat, e-mail would be a great option: shawna.mcallister@yahoo.com … I really don’t like Facebook anymore.


  6. Let me add something about only eating once a day, which you already know. You are really making it hard to lose weight because your metabolism isn’t working at top function. You shouldn’t go more than 4 hours without taking a few bites of food. You don’t need to sit down and eat 6 small meals. But you do need to at least eat a carrot or something every few hours because it revs up your metabolism in a major way. But it also makes you hungrier, which is frustrating. It’s a lot easier to go all day without eating because your metabolism dies down and you really don’t feel that hungry. But you’re also not burning very many calories that way. I know you already know all that. I just wanted to say that it helps me a lot to take a few bites here and there. I just NEVER make a plate of food. That’s what gets me into trouble and causes me to overeat. 🙂


    • Knowing is the easy part . . . . acting on that knowledge, not so much 😉

      I’ll be in the middle of working and think, “I haven’t eaten anything today. Okay, let me finish this one last thing and then I’ll go grab something.” I’ll finish my “one last thing” and by then, I forgot again. That’s what I did all day on Monday and Tuesday. I’ve been trying to write down my meals every day to help remind me that I need to eat more frequently . . . even if, like you said, it’s just a carrot.

      So, you are so very right and I am working on it! 🙂


  7. Oh man! This is something that’s definitely been on my mind lately, especially because, like you, I sit at home in front of a computer for my job. Unlike you, I’m often on the computer all day instead of just a few hours because I’m really slow at my job. =P

    When I was on a nutrition plan in Canada, the 5-6 meals/day worked really well for me, but it’s nearly impossible here in Peru where they generally eat *much* more than what I’m used to and where meals are family events. =P

    Loved this post!


    • Getting up and moving when you work online is really tough! I’ve been trying but I haven’t quite found what works yet. My errand-running days are always great for moving around . . . It takes up half my day just to do my regular shopping. And when there are school events for my daughter it helps because we usually have a couple of hours to kill from the time I pick her up and the event starts, so we walk around downtown. But otherwise, I’m struggling with this one! When I find something that works, I’ll let you know!

      Meals as family events is another issue. As the holiday season approaches, it becomes even more pronounced (ha – which is pretty much what I wrote about today :P).

      Thank you, as always, for your comments Sam! Maybe we can figure out this exercising while working at a computer thing together!


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