Sunday, August 1, 2010

Don't be the Food Police

I know, I'm supposed to be working my race report. But I'm steaming mad about something that happened over on the "My Fitness Pal" site where I log my food.

I came back from dinner and went to log my food. Of course, because of my race yesterday, I'm way behind on calories and I've been eating like crazy all day trying to catch up. Which means, anyone looking at my food diary and only looking at today would see that I'm over my "daily" allotment and by quite a bit. (And yet, I'm still behind in my calories for the week... sometimes I just love being a triathlete!)

This is actually something that bothers me a bit about all the online food tracking sites. They only look at a day at a time. It's not a big deal when you are trying to lose because you generally don't want to go over your daily allotment. But it's not realistic when you are maintaining and some days you are over and some days you are under. There just isn't anyway to make sure that overall you are good except to do math in your head. Or export things to Excel and look at averages, which I do, but not every few days -- it's too much work.

Anyway, I go to log in my food from dinner and see I have a new message from someone on the site. I click over and this is what I read:

Subject: Too far to fall back
I saw your meals today. You were over a little. Do not get distracted. I hope you did not come this far not to learn about proper portions, not over eating and keeps fat low.

And I'm thinking: WTF?

First of all, who is this guy? I don't know him, except I got a friend request from him the other day. He doesn't read my blog and he hasn't been around the site very long so he doesn't know my story at all. All he knows is that my ticker says I lost 110 pounds and that I use the site.

Yet apparently he thinks it's okay to go snooping around in my online food diary (which I stupidly set from private to 'friends only' the other day) and then send me messages about what he thinks he's seeing.

I can sort of see a message like that being okay if you are dealing with someone you are close to, who is a true friend that you confide in and who confides in you and maybe they asked you to be their food police. (But even then, it's probably not a good idea, because people rarely appreciate having their eating critiqued even if they think they want you to do it.)

But to think it's okay to lecture someone you don't even know based on one day in their food diary? A day that isn't even over yet so maybe they just haven't posted their exercise for the day?

Secondly, the way I have my food diary set up, I only have times... before 9 am, 9 am to noon, noon to 3pm, etc. So there really isn't anyway to know how much I am eating at any one sitting or how often. You can't really tell if I'm grazing or eating really big meals or anything. The info just isn't there.

Not to mention, I think this dude (and, yes, it was a guy) doesn't even realize I've had weight loss surgery (even though it's not particularly a secret -- I even list my surgery type and date in my signature so it's every post I make on that site) so that the whole "proper portions" thing is not really something I can forget about, at least not if I don't want to end up in the bathroom yakking up my dinner and feeling like crap.

Finally, one of my pet peeves is the whole industry that's sprung up around eating "low fat". Eating fat doesn't make you fat -- eating more calories than you burn makes you fat! Most of the low fat food that is pitched to dieters is full of sugar and other additives and it's not as fulfilling as the higher fat versions. I personally think it's no coincidence that our nation has a problem with obesity at a time when this fake food is flying off the shelves and I won't eat it. I'd rather have a small amount of the real thing than a large amount of some fake crap.

Anyway, I put my food diary back to private and unfriended him and told him to bugger off (and why).

But, if you have someone in your life who is an adult and is trying to lose weight or has recently lost a lot of weight, please don't pull crap like this, okay? Don't even think: "should you be eating that?" when you see them eating something that you think is questionable. It never helps to be someone's Food Police. They won't appreciate it and you risk making an ass of yourself like this guy did, lecturing someone for something that is actually perfectly okay in the grand scheme of things and was a choice on their part made after carefully weighing all the options.
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