It’s a common phenomenon I see on a daily basis especially on the internet. A 22 year old male bodybuilder “Fat Loss Coach” will tell a 52 year old post menopausal female with obesity that she just needs to hit her calorie and macronutrient target to lose weight.
Young Fat Loss Coach: It’s all about calories in, calories out. You’re eating too many calories.
Menopausal Female: I have tried counting my calories. I lose weight in the beginning and then I regain it back.
Young Fat Loss Coach: Well you’re eating too much.
Menopausal Female: But I feel like I don’t even eat that much. How am I not losing weight?
Young Fat Loss Coach: You’re still eating too much.
Menopausal Female: ……….. (Quits)
Don’t worry, I am not going to go into some diatribe about how calories in vs. calories out is wrong and that it is all about hormone balance. This is simply a post about having some damn empathy for those with obesity.
Obesity is complex (Read my post here). Some people will have obesity at a young age and fight it their entire life. Some people will be lean/thin their entire life and have no idea what it means to have obesity. It is very easy for someone who is thin to tell someone with obesity to just “eat less, and move more.”
Did you know that there are people out there who try to GAIN weight the same way people try to LOSE weight and fail? Maybe they gain weight in the beginning but eventually they naturally lose the weight as their body automatically pushes them to be thin again. I know because I am one of them!
Yes, it is true that the post menopausal women above does not defy the laws of physics and energy balance. It is true that in order to lose weight, she needs to be in a calorie deficit. If you have been lean/thin your whole life, do her and others with obesity a favor, and check your “thin privilege”.
Have some empathy. Understand it is hard to lose weight and keep it off. Understand that some people will need medicines or surgery in order to continue that energy deficit. If you’re a physician, dietitian, trainer or coach, learn from others who understand obesity and learn the lingo they use to help their patients/clients who have obesity.