How Not to Talk to a Fat Person


I’m fat.

I think that’s pretty obvious the moment you meet me. (Although it’s not always so easy to tell online. I’m a whiz at Photoshop.) What’s not so obvious is that underneath these copious folds of Fatty Daddy flesh is someone grossly unhappy with and sensitive about his weight. Unfortunately, all this corpulence doesn’t buffer me from the insane ways people have of talking to me about my weight.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the easiest person with whom to broach the topic of weight. When you’re obese, you’re defensive. At least I am. And the heavier I get, the more defensive I become. But when The One jiggles my stomach and says he’s rubbing the Buddha belly for good luck, I mean, come on, people! If you prick us, do we not bleed?

So when you talk to someone who’s overweight, especially at this time of year, may I make a few delicate suggestions?

1. Don’t ask, “What are your New Year’s resolutions?” We fatties know that’s a pathetically veiled way of asking, “Are you going to try to lose some weight this year?”

2. Never ask us, “Are you going to eat all that?” It may simply be an innocent question indicating you’re covetous of our meal and hoping we’ll share. But all we hear is, “You have the appetite of an American pygmy shrew!” (That’s an animal that literally must eat three times its weight every day or it will die. Why can’t I be so fortunate?) Keep your fork on your own plate.

3. If you’re a parent or significant other, nix the guilt, for cripes’ sake. It always backfires. (I think every time Mama Leite has guilted me about my weight, I’ve gained five pounds in rebound fat. It’s not out of spite, anger, or revenge. My response to guilt is to feel shame. Shame is an unpleasant emotion. I’m an emotional eater. So guilt = shame = eating. Second-grade math, folks.)

4. Don’t say to your adipose husband, “Hey, Hank! I’ll give you five dollars for each pound you lose.” Please. Bribery begins at $50 a pound.

5. Don’t buy one of those fat little pigs that you place in the fridge that oinks every time you open the door. We’ll hurl that thing at your head wicked hard.

6. Under no circumstances should you strike a deal with We Round Ones. No matter how well-intentioned you are, don’t say something like,”If you lose weight, I’ll stop nagging you about being such a rotten daughter-in-law.” That, too, will backfire. (Although I did strike a very shrewd bargain with Mama Leite during the holidays. We agreed that if I lose weight, she won’t hound me about my memoir. See, she’s paranoid about what I’m going to say about her and our family. It’s not the reason I’m losing weight, but it certainly took a lot of pressure off.)

7. At a dinner party, don’t say, “Here, why don’t you take this chair?” pointing toward the overstuffed club chair you dragged into the dining room. Do like my friend Carlotta does and sweetly say, “David, I’d love for you to sit at the head of the table.” And, of course, the only chairs that happen to fit at the head and foot of her table are her sturdiest ones. Not only do I get to preside over the evening, but it saves us both face.

8. Never ask, “Do you know how many Weight Watchers points are in that?” Because while you’re asking that, I’m plotting your murder. My Blubbery Brethren and I know the exact number of points, calories, and grams of carbs and fat in every food known to man. We can calculate to within .0001 percent accuracy the number of calories in a chicken-and-waffles all-you-can-eat buffet. A Turing machine has nothing on us.

9. Please don’t ask us to stand in the front row for a family photograph. We like the background. It hides our girth, and we can prop our chins on the heads of our shorter relatives to camouflage our onerous wattles.

10. And if you don’t know the answer when your beloved asks,”Honey, does this make me look fat?” then, my friend, I feel sorry for you.

Of course, this begs the question: What can you say? Well, that’s different for each person. When my friend Kate Jackson saw on social media that I was eating—wait for it, wait for it—quinoa, she texted me, “So proud of you.” Short, simple, and very encouraging. She even sent along a recipe. That is support.

In the end, it’s not what you say but rather what you don’t say that can help us. We know we’re heavy. We curse every time we have to wrestle with the seat belt. We know the relief that only sweatpants and Lycra can bring. In 2015, some of us will want to lose weight, while some of us will be content with the way we are. Me, I’m gunning to be 100 pounds lighter by Christmas. I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again. I’d love your help, encouragement, and support. But if you come around saying, “It’s just a matter of portion control,” I swear I’ll sit on you.

[UPDATE: If you’re interested in joining The Fatty Daddy Challenge on Facebook–a support page for whatever way you want to lose weight–you can request an invitation here.–David]

David Leite's signature



  1. I may be a bit late to the party (though I always am), but here are my takes.

    1. I am playing the Devil’s Advocate; not every resolution necessarily has to do with diet and exercise. It could do with getting a job or finding new employment, maybe furthering education or something else. Heck, something more fun sounding like “I’ll watch a movie from a different country each week”. For 2020, my resolution was mainly to go the year without eating sugary stuff (self-imposed, and seeing if I could).

    2. Horses for courses. With me, when I say that it is because I am hoover. For most of my life, I haven’t had steady employment so you got to eat where you can.

    3. I have never been fat per se, but have delved in skinny fat. In honesty, that is the real pits. Family members have attempted intervening all to mixed messages (e.g. pointing out a shirt is showing off the belly, but then a couple of days later not understanding “no thanks” to ice cream or soda), or results not going their way. Either way, it comes down to a failure to communicate.

    4. Those folks are going about it the wrong way there. At least to me, the real reward is in the dopamine or seeing slight improvements over time. Since I started weight training in 2014, I remember how stoked I was to do a single push-up from my toes; another breakthrough I got was seeing myself in the mirror (corner of my eye) with a better posture (no slouching, standing fairly tall).

    5. ……. That’s the first time I have heard about those things.

    6. I, uh …. don’t understand that one.

    7. Encouragement, not admonishment. Whatever the case may be, I agree. That primarily works when you have just begun changing your habits.

    8. There are some things I would say about Weight Watchers, dieticians, and whatever else in the diet industry exists. Then again, they would possibly break every rule put in place. To put in Minnesota Nice terms, it is my journey as I see it put; whatever anyone else thinks has little bearing to me.

    9. Along the way, you got to have fun. The whole shebang is about encouragement, results being inch-by-inch, and dopamine hits.

    10. I will admit it could be lovely to get a girl. However, sometimes I read that and think “yeah, bachelor life ain’t that bad”. In honesty, though, I tend to go for the bigger gals if I can.

    A lot of it comes down to the basic principle. You are on your journey, and no-one else is. Everyone wants to throw every bit of suggestions and advice your way, and all is useless unless you are asking and seeking that information. For me, I am an ardent weight-lifter, and more want to stack on the pounds than anything. Therefore, whatever I can do to clean bulk is more relevant to me than getting to a “healthy” BMI.

    Along the way, though, I reiterate the real results are in the little things (even in using the last hole in my belt, the pants are slightly loose). As a good friend of mine says “look after the little things, and the big things will sort themselves out”.

    Five years, 50 years, however long, always keep up the work.

    1. Thanks Mikey. It’s a long journey and self-care and self-awareness are so foundational in it, and it sounds like you’ve got those figured out! Good for you.

  2. David – there is something so calm and heartfelt about the way you write. It’s comforting to read, like eating warm apple pie. I suspect that’s why you are you and loved by many (including myself). I too struggle and am mindful of my food choices because I love life and want to be around…you know? We all have our flaws, whatever that is. Live, love, eat and laugh. You, David, are doing all this whether big or small. It’s just flesh. By the way, I am baking your Hershey’s cake tomorrow for a dear friend! Cheers.

  3. HI David-

    I see you’ve reposted an older entry. How did it go?

    I’m nearly 70 and I remember going for a dress to wear to school when I started kindergarten and my mother had to take me to a special shop for fat children. So, you can see losing weight has been a livelong pursuit for me and I know what you’re talking about.

    I’ve tried many things that have been unsuccessful and a precious few that were momentarily do-able and effective. Just before last Christmas I discovered intermittent fasting. I’m not sure it would work for everyone, but for me it’s been a godsend. I can now bake with pleasure and not be remotely tempted by any of it.

    There’s a growing library of information about the variations online as more research lends support for intermittent fasting as a strategy for losing weight and also for improving cardiac health, diabetes and even making chemotherapy more tolerable. Basically, you incorporate fasting into your weekly plan for eating. Some people do it every other day. Some people choose a couple consecutive or non-consecutive days and do it twice a week. A “fast” doesn’t need to be rigid — most people restrict themselves to 25% of their normal calorie intake. That’s not a lot of food but, chosen well, it can still be a satisfying meal.

    My own version is two consecutive days of water fasting. That may sound intimidating but the remarkable thing is it becomes a pattern and it doesn’t feel restrictive at all. It feels like a vacation from having to think about, deal with, or be driven by food. And on the days when I eat, I eat with pleasure, I’m far more satisfied with the foods I choose and I’m freed from the constant cravings I used to have even when had already had large volumes of food.

    I would love to request an invitation to your Facebook group but I don’t have a FB account. Mostly, I just wanted to offer an alternative to those who are still looking for a solution. And to them I’d suggest googling “intermittent fasting” to see how simple and effective and liberating it can be so they don’t have to take my word for it or pursue some unsupported or profit-seeking method. Just google it, read from any source you feel comfortable and give it a whirl. It may do for you what it’s done for me.

    (PS I don’t weigh myself but I’m down 5 jeans sizes and I hardly even noticed it happening.)

    1. rainey! That is so encouraging. And I’m happy to hear that you’re doing well, feeling healthy, and have lost weight. Perhaps others will look into fasting and use it as a tool in their weight loss toolbox.

      1. I’ve loved it and felt liberated by it. And you’re exactly right that it’s a tool.

        I’ve personalized it — as many eventually do — and included many of the useful tools from other diets and programs that were helpful to me.

        I wish you well and happy in your pursuit. Dr. Michael Mosley did a BBC documentary that explains more about it if you or anyone else is interested.

  4. That was very entertaining to read. I had a good laugh cause I can totally relate. I’ve had 2 people come out and ask me in the past, “What made you decide to put on weight?”, and the other asked, “Why did you put on weight?” As if it’s a deliberate choice, like I’m gonna say “Hey, I know thinner is healthy but heck, I think I wanna be fat and get put down all the time, cause I like being tortured by ignorant people”.

    What helped for me was listening to subliminal messages over and over about self acceptance, worthiness, self esteem, healthy eating, and weight loss cause those were my issues. I have noticed that I cannot eat as much anymore and I feel better about myself and I’m also starting to want to try things I wouldn’t have tried before that are healthy.

    1. Lorelei, thanks so much for taking the time to share your experience. I give you a lot of credit for your self awareness as well as your decision to make the changes you want in your life. Like you, I believe that when you set your sights on what you want as opposed to what you don’t want, it makes all the difference in how you knowingly as well as unknowingly move about your life. Many thanks for the inspiration!

  5. Oh man, I, too, am working on re-losing weight–and somehow this Northeast winter realllly took a huge gander on me. I also have a traditional family that can really comment harshly. (Asian! And if there is a natural skinny gene, it skipped on me!) I just wanted to add one more thing to the list of what you said: I always hear the argument (in addition to the “it’s just portion!! control”) of the “3 bite rule” Eat something rich and delicious, and you will only want 3 bites. Is this a joke because that would go against my fatty nature. I’ll eat 3 bites of a bad salad and several bites of cake, please!

    I read a lot about healthy and balanced diets and in my years of observation (based on what women’s and fitness mags recommend). Most people who follow them without much effort are people who don’t have huge appetites. Maybe they like food but in small quantities or aren’t that interested at all. The people I know who really love to EAT and maintain their figures mix up their bigger eating days with less delicious days of watching out. It’s just how it is. If I didn’t pull back and watch out, and instead just followed my natural inclination, I’d be a good 100 lbs heavier. I just tell myself that we all have our struggles. Personally, I don’t react to alcohol or cigarettes, just Nutella, and that only means that I have to consciously try a bit harder than some people in terms of weight.

    1. Jamie, you said a mouthful. (Pun intended.) Oh, that three-bite rule. The only way that would work for me is if I could jam my mouth as full as possible three times with über delicious food. And I agree with you about those folks who can eat moderately: I think they have less interest in food. I have a friend who would much rather buy a Hermes scarf that go to an exquisite dinner. Imagine that!

  6. So here I am, visiting your site for the very first time.

    You take me gently by the hand and you walk me casually past your playful, leafy liaisons, whetting my appetite and piquing my perspicacity. As your grip tightens–a gesture of comfort or persuasion, I’m not sure–you usher me through your soft, moist, fleshy offerings, luring me ever deeper into your realm.

    The surging tempo matched only by the beat of my heart, we dance past the sablée, the pastéis de nata, the flan. Tom Collins in hand, the brulée beckons, the fig tart tempts …I can almost feel the blood orange sorbet washing my palate like the first drops of dew …

    Then BAM!

    “Hey, fatboy, step away from the cookie jar …”

    Suddenly I picture my physician talking to my cardiologist, pausing, pointing at me and saying into his stethoscope:

    “You know he’s thinking about the cheese course now. How dair-y …”

    “I don’t know about Triglycerides, but he could certainly Try-salads instead …”

    Yeah, hilarious, completely makes me forget about the fact my fasting glucose readings suggest my blood is 97.4% Gatorade. God damnit.

    Anyway, from one fat fella to another, keep fighting the good fight. If I may be so bold as to offer two suggestions of advice:

    – Surround yourself with those who love and support you. Weight loss is tough, as we all know, but doing it alone is nigh impossible. Share your victories and your struggles as Team David deserve to share and want to help.

    – When you fall off the wagon, and you will fall off the wagon, that isn’t failure. Don’t give up and don’t punish yourself unduly. It’s just a bump on the road to a slimmer, healthier, happier you. Reset and go again, you’ll get there …

    And one final word, David, one last thing i must say to you.

    You bastard! I was so close to those portuguese custard tarts, I could taste ’em …

    Yeah, that’s the message I really want you to take from this. Grrrr …

    1. Bruce, so sorry for the delayed response. I was in the middle of the Atlantic of a ship, and it was nigh unto impossible to get a response out.

      All I can say is…wow! I was laughing all the way through. I think this might very well be my favorite comment of all time.

      Thank you for your concern and suggestions. I’ve done well; I’ve lost about 40 pounds. According to the scale, though, out little jaunty through the Azores, Madeira, Cádiz, Seville, and Madrid put back on a goodly number of pounds, but, frankly, I don’t believe it. I was walking four miles a day on average. I’ve gone back to my routine, and I think in a week or two, I should be back on track.

      Again, thanks for your encouragement, it means a lot.

  7. hi david, i’m a fatty too…also have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, asthma…and a whopping case of depression. so yeah, just go ahead and agree w me when i say, “i am a hot hot mess.”

    i read your post on corning beef, miiiiiight just try that, but for the mo, gotta stick w the store-bought chunk, which i happen to be cooking this very afternoon. (also, fyi, if you are ever near or IN Clarksville tn, i would LUV to make MY cb&c for you, i think it’s pretty damn good…)

    anyway, that led me to check out a few more posts, including this’n, and i can only say, thanks and i luv you lots. it’s easy for people to talk and wonder why i eat the way i do, they aren’t dealing w my head space. my sister is the worst. “i’m not like you, i don’t think about food all day.” i luv my sister, but i don’t much like her.

    her daughter, my 6 yr old niece, whom i call the “village herald,” and repeats EVERYTHING constantly, actually says to me as she wags her finger at me, “don’t eat all our food, aunt shelley!” knowing that she is just repeating what she heard her mother saying does NOT detract from the urge to punch a 6 yr old kid in the face, btw…so that’s what *i* get to deal with, ooh, yay me.

    wow, off on quite the tangent, there.

    anywho, your words above are very inspiring, and i will follow along more as you post… and also, if you weren’t already, 1) in a relationship and, 2) gay (damn you, david!!), i would soooo be on that like ants on ANYTHING edible!

    so, in short–i’m a mess, i’d luv to cook for you, my sister’s an asshole, her kid isn’t too far behind (luckily, she’s cute), and you rock…
    got all that?? cool. i need a nap.


    1. Shelley, who isn’t a hot mess these days? The good thing is you have a sense of humor about it, which will always go a long way in my book. Hang in there and take care of yourself the best you can. Now go nap.

  8. David:

    I have been on Leite’s Culinaria.

    Congratulations that you are on the right track to right eating. The thing is to keep healthy. Remember God loves us for who we are!

    Have a Joyful Day :~D


  9. David, great tips! My policy is to not give people unsolicited advice about anything and to assume that overweight people *know* they are overweight without anyone pointing it out to them (as in, “You have such a pretty face, if you would just …”). And I applaud your friend Carlotta, mentioned in #7. Lovely, just lovely.

    1. Jean, thank you. you’ve made a simple but powerful statement: We fat people know we’re fat. I don’t buy 46-inch waist pants and think, Gosh, I need to put on a few pounds. I’m a stick.

  10. Dear David,

    You yourself said my last dinner party was the best you ever attended. Could it be because you sat at the head of the table? I’m sure of it. No matter where you sit, your attendance always guarantees a fun night by all!

  11. Way to go, David. Great post. I’m sure it wasn’t easy to write. Made me feel really motivated with my own challenges. Three cheers!

  12. David: You really opened up a happy can of happy worms here, with all us “fatty mommies and daddies!” LOL (Note to the posters: if anyone wants to pay me a mere $50 a lb. to lose my weight, I WILL lose my 40lbs faster than water rolls off a duck. LOL)

  13. A funny just sent to me by a friend…My 95 year old Grandfather took up exercising at 65; he started walking. We haven’t seen him since.

    This tendency that friends and family have to “help” us with our weight (because they worry that we’ll suffer eventually? or they’ll lose us? Or so they say. Do they add that sentiment to keep us from getting angry at their intrusion? I always wonder.). Just makes internet friends that much more appealing. They can’t see us so the talk is about whatever topic is at the forefront, it isn’t flavored with any judgment about our looks, health or choices. We are who we are and whatever that is, it doesn’t make us any less worthy to add to the conversation or be associated with. Unless we’re asses, then all bets are off!

    1. Well said, Susan. Well said. And for what it’s worth, I don’t care what your weight is or what you look like. You’ve always been a fascinating LC commenter and contributor.

  14. David, in March of 2014 I weighed 310 lbs. I was sitting in a restaurant listening to a couple of my friends talk about some plans they made–plans they made exclusive of me. Not that all plans need my approval, but these plans were out of the ordinary and I believed, as I listened to them discuss it, that I should have been invited as that would have been a normal thing. They assumed, maybe correctly or incorrectly, that I couldn’t or wouldn’t physically participate due to my size. That pissed me off to the point that I wouldn’t accept the status quo any longer.

    Now on Jan 13, 2015, I weigh 170 lbs and have lost 140 lbs in just over 9 months. I can honestly say I am in the best shape of my life. I think my point is that when we embrace the truth about ourselves and let go of our false perceptions our motivation and eagerness to succeed change. That has been true for me at least. I am hopeful that you find success in your journey and will be happy to help with any advice or “what has worked for me” kinda stuff. One hundred pounds by Christmas 2015 is completely doable!

    I almost typed “Good Luck,” but luck has nothing to do with it. Hope to see ya on the road one day.

    Here is a link to an article I wrote on the subject.

    1. Matt, thank you for that. That’s incredibly impressive and hopeful. It’s good to hear others’ success stories. Although each of us has to find his/her own way, knowing others are doing the same, in their way, makes it a lot easier. I wish you continued success. And again, impressive.

  15. Some years ago, I’d been tentatively hired by the director of a behavioral health agency, pending approval of the director & staff at the site where I’d be working (I’m a psychologist).

    I entered the break room, an informal area used for team meetings, group therapy, and interviews like mine. The group had assembled. I took a chair.

    As I started introducing myself, the team leader suddenly said–“No! Not there! The chair might break!”

    I grew up slender, but had gained 90 pounds during two difficult pregnancies and could never lose the weight. I’ve been self-conscious about it for decades. I’m sure my face was beet red, but I simply stood up while someone ran to get a sturdier chair, then sat down and resumed talking.

    I got the job. Before accepting it, I checked the chair and saw that one of its legs was half-broken. The director had been able to see its odd angle. Her concern had been valid. I’d been wondering if it was a setup to see how I’d do under pressure, but apparently not. Thank goodness! It turned out be a very good workplace… but you just never know.

    Being heavy can lead to paranoia, because sometimes people really are out to get you… yet sometimes they’re not.

  16. David,

    First, best wishes on your journey. I know that you will find your way.

    Second, remember that everyone has challenges. You need to lose weight. I need to …[not brave like you, so won’t say]. Just think of the poor soul who needs to lose meanness. Or, the one who needs to gain common sense.

    Third, if someone says something hurtful to you, tell him/her! Especially if it was said with good intentions. You are a kind person, so I am sure that you can find a way to gently educate folks (like you did in this article). You don’t need for people to wound you with painful support.

    Fourth, best wishes on your journey!

    1. Thank you, Baku, much appreciated. I agree telling people they have offended you is the right thing to do. But I just love it when they say, “Well, I did it for your own good. I love you.” Arrrrrrrgh.

  17. No, no, Bribery starts at $1,000 a pound. Plotting murder is hilarious. Do it your way, at your pace. I agree people need to lay off. I need to lose as well, but I know I can’t do it by dieting. If I diet I always get sick. I need to move to lose. So, I’ve started walking again, not long, have to build up to that, but I will. I have in the past. Then after I get good at walking again, I’ll yes hate to admit this, but it’s the truth, I’ll put in my Richard Simmons dancing or is it exercising with the Oldies DVD’s. Yes, I look silly doing the tapes, but they are fun as long as no one is around to see me and make comments like I don’t think you’re doing that right.

    1. Ha! A gold digger after my own heart, Lauralee.

      And if you did it before, you can do it again. We all can. I was thin for almost 12 years from my 20s to my 30s. I mean eat-whatever-I-wanted thin. I went to aerobics class six times a week, but it felt so amazingly good. I want at least some of that back. (Age definitely will have tempered some of that.)

  18. Always love reading what you write, no matter the subject…and I do want to read your memoir! It is true that words can really sting–and engrave themselves in your head… I am 55 and I still remember my (mean) older cousin, a sneering at me, when I was 16, self-conscious and “zoftig.” I made the mistake of asking for seconds of his gourmet-cook wife’s delicious dinner (she served tiny little “tasting” portions): “have a stick of butter, why don’t you?” I was so stunned that I literally went in the bathroom and cried… and try as I might to get rid of it, that memory just won’t let go… I will say that for me, diets have always been self-defeating by definition: you go “off” them and the weight comes back… at least it does for me. I packed on a LOT of weight when I hit 49 (and my metabolism apparently came to a grinding halt…), and nothing helped me lose it; to be honest I pretty much gave up. My husband is a chef, so I blamed it all on him. LOL In Nov, on the advice of a good friend who has had great success with it for health issues as well as weight loss, I started taking Plexus, which is simply a supplement, and does not involve dieting, and it’s working for me, so I am very pleased with it. In order to keep myself motivated, I post my weight loss photos on Facebook; I can’t fall off the wagon with 757 of my “close friends” watching! LOL

    1. Thanks, Elisse. So sorry you had to go through that. Some people are so insensitive. And I get what you’re saying about posting on Facebook and how everyone is watching. I started the Fatty Daddy Challenge on Facebook, and the members are really doing well–and supporting each other. #nicefeeling

  19. David, you know I love you. I remember your telling the exact number of WW points in the (yes, underbaked) cake I brought to Ann C’s class. I have been through, am still going through, and will go through for the rest of my life, my own experiences of losing excess weight and keeping it off. And I have read that, in general, men have an easier time losing weight than women do. But what I have to say to you is: unless you are able to accept a smaller weight loss in that time and still feel successful, I hope you will rethink your goal of 100 pounds in one year. That’s an average of two pounds a week, and that’s incredibly hard to maintain; might even be unhealthy. (I don’t know; I’m not a medical specialist. Just guessing.) I know how distracting it can be to feel very hungry all the time. And as you work on your book and everything else going on in your life, you cannot afford that major distraction. (We your fans need you to work, work, work!) Plus, it will require a big time investment in serious exercise, because changes in diet and eating patterns can take one only so far. (In my experience, anyway; I have yet to get my ass in gear for the big push[-up].) Losing weight should be part of your life, but unless you’re getting paid for it, it shouldn’t take over your entire life. Do what you need to do, and be happy with the results, even if it takes a lot longer to reach your ultimate size goal.

    What to say to a fat person? All that totally non-weight-related stuff others have mentioned, of course, the stuff that acknowledges the brain and heart in the body. One weight-related thing I love to hear, when I know it’s true, is: “You look great! Have you lost weight lately?” Because I like to know that my effort is paying off. And I don’t look for any hidden messages of “you could look better” or “you should lose more.” I just relish the acknowledgment.

    1. From what I’ve read, losing weight at the rate of a pound to a pound and a half a week is pretty safe. Your first several days might find a precipitous weight loss of several pounds (as happened to me–something like 6 to 7 lbs) but a gradual pound a week is reasonable. It all depends on who you are, how much exercise you do, etc., keep up the practice of eating well and reasonably.

    2. I know, I know, Suzanne. And you know me….I gotta do it big and with a flourish. But I won’t die (literally or figuratively) if I lose fewer than 100 pounds this year. I know it’s an aggressive goal, but I do need to shed a ton of weight. The good thing is I exercise everyday–something I haven’t done in years. And I’ve dropped 14 pounds so far.

  20. Great post! I know these things may seem like common sense to most (and some seem that way to me too), it really does help putting this out there. As much as we can try to understand what words hurt and which don’t, it’s hard when you don’t share the same shoes. Thank you!

    Oh, that pig/fridge thing? Not okay in any way…

  21. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that nagging gets one nowhere and change comes from within. The motivation, ultimately, should be one’s own improved health (lower risk of long term degenerative conditions, etc.) rather than “looking sexy” etc. When YOU are ready, you will do it.

    1. You’re completely right, dontctallmechef. The only person who can do that (and for whom it should be done) is me. This is all about health. I’m way too married and old to worry about sexy!

  22. Your article made me sad. Where have our manners gone and why do so many want to be a kill joy? I thought you catch more flies with honey than vinegar but then that IS more calories…
    Be healthy and happy David that is what matters!

  23. When I married my skinny husband, he said he’d quit his 2 to 3 pack a day cigarette smoking if I lost weight. At 154 lbs I was chunky, but far from obese and 20 pounds lighter than I was in 7th grade. When we divorced 5 abusive and insult-filled years later, I had gained 40 pounds, and he smoked like a chimney. You’re right, dear, those “if-then” bargains don’t work when issued as a threat. Now, 36 years later, I’m still single, have gained 30 lbs. more and am happier than I’ve ever been. You have to do what makes you feel better. I’m proud of you and will still love you even if you get skinny.

  24. “I love ya, man,” no matter what you look like, sound like, or smell like. Your still, sweet wonderful you.

  25. I was svelte it’s true, according to PanAm my former employee maybe even slighty underweight. I was fed heavy cream 3 times a day to pass the final interview and become a stewardess.
    Today 50 years later I run into former colleagues who exclaim, “How could you let yourself go like that?” Easily done, it’s called food, glorious food, and the noble grape. Cooking is what I have done professionally for most of my later life, and I eat large portions.

    David I salute you, I am rooting for you as I am going to try to start a regime of mindful eating. Be well and more than anything don’t beat yourself up, there are enough other people who stand in line to do that.

  26. I’ve gotten a very thick skin working for an optometrist the last 14 years. Patients come in year after year and say things like “You sure have gotten bigger since last time I saw you.” Then of course they complain they cant see a thing. Hmmm. Seems like your vision and rudeness are about the same as before. I wish you luck in your weight loss journey this year. I don’t know what it will take for me, but maybe something magical will happen and I will suddenly hate the taste of food or no longer want to eat with every emotion. Keep up the good work!

  27. Shorter version of How To Talk To A Fat Person:
    “Hi! How are you?”
    “What have you been up to lately?”
    “How is (spouse/parent/POSSLQ name)?”
    “Have you seen (movie name here)?”
    “Have you been to (new restaurant name here)?”
    “When can we get together?”
    Etc., etc., etc.

    And here’s how a FP should reply: with a relevant answer that does not call attention to personal issues with shame/weight/food/addictions/fraught relationships, etc. In other words, quit being such a narcissist and GROW UP. You’ll find nobody really cares much about your weight if you are kind, thoughtful, good-hearted and have a great sense of humor.

    P.S. I am a lifelong fat person. The only thing it’s kept me from doing is …. hmmmm. I’ll get back to you on that.

    1. Joanne, I agree with you. If others ask me those questions, my weight doesn’t even come into play. But when others nag you about your weight, tease you about you weight, say things like, “The last thing you need is another piece of pie, on Thanksgiving day” etc., the conversation is about weight. And I hardly think if the subject of my weight is brought up by someone else it’s narcissistic and immature.

    2. In my experience, often when it comes to weight, all politeness goes out the window. People who would never think of commenting on the state of your marriage, that you weren’t at church, that you drink too much, that you drive too fast often think nothing of talking about your weight. I agree we need to try to not think of ourselves as fat quite as much as we do and focus on what makes us great. But others need to leave it alone. Frankly, it’s none of their goddam business.

  28. You inspire me in more ways than I could possibly tell you. I’m proud of you over and over again for so many things, and I’m guessing we’re all going to get some rocking good quinoa recipes out of your journey. Love you my friend!

  29. Many of us are fighting the same fight, so thanks for saying it out loud. A friend and I who are in this together have a little code word we use to encourage each other, and to be sure we keep things in perspective on days when we falter: Onward!

  30. It makes me so sad that your health is at risk. I read this site daily. What will your fans do if you are not here? I will miss you very much.

    1. Betty, look at it this way: I’m getting better everyday. And I can’t tell you how much your comment means to me. It so gratifying to know people I’ve never met care. Thank you.

  31. I just wanted to congratulate you on your courage and thank you for reinforcing that I’m not alone in my feelings and struggles. I have felt, thought, or voiced all of what you mentioned at one point or another.

    I have struggled all my life with my weight. Most of my relatives are overweight. I even lost 147 pounds and kept it off for 10 years only to gain 95 of it back. So as I work to lose it again, I don’t want to hear “I know you can do it because you’ve done it before.” All I hear is “Why did you gain all that weight you worked so hard to lose? That was stupid of you!”

  32. Amen and amen.

    I’ve always suspected #3, even without the shame part of the equation. I think my mother just mentioning it at all added on the pounds from the sheer force of her words. (And she wasn’t even Portuguese.)

    I’ll never forget sitting in a bar many years ago, back in my thinner but still curvy days, chatting with a (male) friend when an acquaintance of my friend came up to say hello. After a few minutes, my friend had to use the facilities. Mr. Handsome-and-knew-it said to me, “You have such a good personality, if you lost a little weight, you would be so attractive.” I smiled my best Sugar Honey Iced Tea smile and replied, “You’re very handsome. If only you had a decent personality and some manners, it might not be a complete waste of my time to talk to you.”

  33. Love the post…best of luck with the journey this year. I have to admit though, I really like quinoa, lol…found a recipe for stuffed peppers and modified it to use ground beef and the peppers, quinoa, a bit of fresh basil, and beef are delicious! It’s not bacon, but it can be tasty! Can’t wait to see what recipes you share. and truly, thank you for sharing…

  34. Feeling your pain. For me, stress-eating was the real culprit, and the only remedy to deal with nasty colleagues. Once I decided to leave their company, I started dropping weight. Once I left their company, I dropped more weight. Once I decided to move across country, I dropped more for a total loss of 35 pounds. Now that I’m in control of my eating, I’ve maintained this new weight from 1982 for nine months. You may have other triggers, but once you identify them, you can get rid of them. Hugs and best wishes! PS: At least you have “The One” who loves you as you are; some of have “The None.”

    1. Stress eating is a killer for me, too, Bret. But I also eat for just about any emotional reason. I think I know my triggers; I just don’t have enough strategies to combat the tough times. But that’s changing.

  35. People need to stop being prejudice. I look a people for their personality and heart. I couldn’t care less about their body type. I do care about people’s health ,but that doesn’t make the person. Ignore the haters.

  36. Helpful and necessary post, David. Thank you. Great reminders for all. My bugaboo is working out, which I hate. I have the best luck when I start small and slowly–I find it less painful, more realistic, more motivating as I can make continual small strides up and forward, and better for building healthful habits. Giving yourself a whole year sounds very sensible. Best of luck to you in 2015! Julie

    1. Thanks, Julie. I hate exercise, too, but I started slowly at the gym this year, and I like it. Just the treadmill. I started with 15 minutes, and now I’m up to 50 or so minutes. Plus I walk for 5 minutes every hour–just around the house.

  37. Very nicely said and I wish you the best of luck. I’m right there with you. I have two things to add to the list. 1) Don’t assume that weight gain is just from eating unhealthy foods. I have some serious health issues and have had to be on long term prednisone! My weight gain has been from a combination of things which includes the food I have eaten, but it’s not the only thing. 2) Don’t give me your dieting advice unless I ask. What works for you, may not work for me. I have bought all the books, gone to the meetings, spoken with doctors, etc… It’s a very personal thing, please respect that.

    1. Linda, you’re completely right. Extra weight isn’t just from eating poorly. I began really packing on the pounds when I started talking medication for manic depression. It’s been a bitch to take off.

  38. I really loved reading this. I have a dear person in my life who is struggling with her weight. And although, I do know how not to be a thoughtless, crass person, your article is so important. It says all the things that I think she would want to say.

    Plus your wit and charm makes it so readable. Thank you!

  39. I wanted to wish you luck this year in all your endeavors. As someone who really loves to eat and who is constantly battling back and forth with the results of that appetite…it is not easy to lose weight. It is harder to keep it off.

    I really love the blog Weighty Matters (he also has a book). It is sensible….no shame, no gimmick, and best of all, he advocates sustainable change and living a life you can actually enjoy (not just tolerate). If you are looking for any sort of guidance, I would start with the blog and consider his book (The Diet Fix).

  40. Love you, David, and thanks for writing about weight and being a lover of food. Live to eat or eat to live is my husband’s and my dialectic. We both want to be healthier in 2015 but steak, stews, braises, pancakes, sausages call our name–comfort food!

    I’m 52 on Jan. 24, and I remember my “diet” back in 1985 when I was at my best weight in college; I don’t think I could or should do this now, but seriously here’s what I ate:

    Breakfast: One of those tiny cereal boxes of Shredded Wheat from the cafeteria with Skim Milk (not even 2 percent); hot tea (black)

    Lunch: tiny salad from cafeteria (iceberg lettuce with a cucumber slice and a carrot curl). I would grab a lemon wedge and squeeze that over it; no dressing. It came with a package of 2 crackers; I would eat those and then go to class.

    Dinner: Hot-air popped popcorn with soy sauce; or pasta with sauce; and alcohol (beer or wine)

    I don’t know how I survived on that! And if that’s what it takes to be skinny again I don’t want to be.

    I hear you, David, and I love your blog. I would like you to come up with a Fatty Daddy challenge for people like me who aren’t ready for a Gwyneth cleanse and who don’t want to say no to pork sausage at breakfast, but maybe need to dial it back it bit and add some casual exercise to the daily routine.

  41. You are the bravest man I know. It does hurt when people say, “You have such a pretty face,” and you know they’re thinking, “but the rest of you is shit!”

    My husband had a bad heart attack last Sunday so we’re going to eat some quinoa and other healthy things because I don’t want to lose him. I wish us all luck in 2015. One step at a time; one day at a time and no beating ourselves up if we eat a packet of Oreos.

    I love you for writing about the things many of us wish we could say.

    1. Maureen, I don’t know about that…but thank you. I’m so sorry to hear about your husband. Is he doing better? I wish you much healthy in 2015 and a very long life together.

  42. Good article. Some people can really be insensitive and judgmental. After making sure that my weight gain wasn’t due to being pregnant, my husband’s cousins (who are not much older than I am) felt compelled to tell me that being overweight isn’t healthy. Ha! That was coming from two people who smoke like chimneys.

  43. David, thanks for this post on your beginning to lose 100 lbs. I did this 18 months ago after having a gastric bypass. I judged it to be my last best chance to lose weight that was beginning to have a very serious effect on my health. I knew there would be foods I would not tolerate after surgery, but I figured that I’d had my share of cheeseburgers. I am not thin now, but I consider myself to be at Weight Healthy for me. Pounds are still very slowly coming off, but I’ve hit the long, hard slog of keeping it off. Walking has been a huge part of my weight loss, and this from someone who parked in the handicapped parking because I couldn’t walk 500 yards to the front door of my office building. Now I can walk for miles and miles and, in warmer weather, I can walk 30 miles a week.

    Your posts about depression and weight issues have really hit a chord with me, as I am sure they have with a great many of your readers. Keep up the good work. We all love you and know what you’re talking about. We are not alone. You remind us of this fact when you write about your struggle. Keep it up. You’ll fall off the wagon, as we all do, but we’ll still love you.

    1. Wow! Thirty miles a week. That’s awesome, Louise. On New Year’s day, The One and I took a stroll around the backyard–not even 2/10 of a mile. I had to sit down several times because I was out of breath and had tremendous pain in my lower back. In July we were in Scotland, and we walked for miles every day. I was 35 pounds thinner. I miss that, and I want it back.

      I don’t know if you saw Deb’s comment above. She’s going to have gastric bypass. I mentioned you to her.

  44. I’m laughing and crying, David. Like I always do with your best writing. More power to you, my friend, and YES YOU CAN. You have a juggernaut of love to ride on here!

    x Ling

  45. Like a lot of your commenters, I have fought the same battle for the past 34 years–since my daughter was born. In high school, I was thin and hot. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m still hot (like you, David) but there are 100 pounds more of me. Still, I want to wear the size 12 again. It’s realistically stupid to have this size in my head but it is what it is. Also like you and a lot of your commenters, I have tried every stinking diet (even convinced myself I loved Atkins, but hot sourdough got the best of me). And the main problem is–WE LOVE FOOD. Plain and simple. Love cooking, love reading about it–I skip everything else on Facebook to get to the cooking bits.

    So…next month I am undergoing what I said I would never do in a million years…gastric bypass. It’s a very scary proposition for me, not to mention expensive. But a high school friend who remembers me at 120 pounds had it done. A year and 150 pounds later, she doesn’t look a bit different than she did in high school. She posted pictures of what she had to “eat” the first month or so, basically a liquid diet. Now, she eats everything and anything she wants. Granted that might just be 2 tablespoons of each thing on her plate, but she’s stuffed after that. Then she goes and plays tennis and has dates with hot guys. So I’m going to do it. No more Jenny Craig crap or piles of steak with butter and mayo. I wish you (and all of us) success with our battle and the thick-skinnedness we need to bounce away the stupid comments from stupid people.

    1. Deb, thank you. I wish you the very best with the gastric bypass. Take a look at Louise’s comment, two below this one. She had the surgery is is happy with the results. Please let me know how things turn out.

  46. I’m right there with you my friend. I start on Monday, but likely at home since the IBS makes it hard to “go out”. I concur with all of this. I’ve been thin and I’ve been heavy, and the difference in the way people treat me and talk to me, when heavier is appalling. I’m a pretty confident gal but having someone point out flaws in public is horrifying. I would never walk up to a skinny person and say “you should probably eat a burger”, so why is it okay for someone to tell me not to? It’s just so unnecessary to critique other people over what they eat. My mom taught me manners. If you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all. It is amazing how many times I’ve just stared at someone who said something vile, and just walked away shaking my head. Society is messed up. They place importance on all the wrongs things.

    I am here if you need to vent or if you need moral support. I’m fighting the same battle.

    Strength and Balls Forward, my friend.

    1. Kim, at home is perfectly fine. Mama Leite has lost a lot of weight and has kept it off. Her exercise? Walking several miles around and around in the basement, using a step my dad made for her, etc. She has never once hit a gym.

      And, yes, I agree. Society is f$#ked up sometimes. All these rules around weight….

  47. Thank you for sharing that David.

    I have struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember. Just before the holidays the book Women, Food and God was recommended to me, and I have found it life changing.

    In my experience, going to the gym and making good food choices is necessary but not sufficient. Having the right mindset makes all the difference :)

    If you are worried it is sounds too “women” and “God” focused, there is no need. It is only “women” because the author is female and more of her clients are women and as an atheist I can say I don’t actually remember any distinct bits about god.

    Good luck on your journey.

  48. You can so do it! And the best part is you know, and can speak about, what makes the cycle roll for you. That can be half the battle. And that you spoke your piece so eloquently. I say Bravo! “Fat” truly can be a four letter word.

  49. #9!!! And also what @Tracy Rowan said.

    I’ll add to that when I am visibly fat, have visibly gained weight, and I tell a person I’m laying off the sweets for a bit, they look at me like I’m crazy and/or try to push them. WTF.

    1. I tell them I no longer have a sweet tooth. It’s hard for them to push sugar at you. And far less rude than the truth, I only want to spend my calories on good food – real food.

  50. No one will ever really understand until they have walked in your shoes. I needed surgery to help me. I love your blog, It is one of my favorites!!! Thank you and good luck!!! Jen

  51. At the risk of making it seem like fat people are the tetchiest people on the planet, I have to disagree with “I’m proud of you” being okay. For me that reads like “Thank GOD you’re finally doing something positive for yourself.”

    Eh, we’re all different and different things set us off. We’ve heard enough commentary on our weight to write books about the stuff people think they have a right to say to us about what they perceive as our moral failing. My advice would be: Don’t talk about what we eat at all. Or if you must, I’d suggest, “Quinoa? I love that stuff. How do you fix it? Any good recipes?” For me that’s encouragement. That’s someone saying, “I’m with you on this, let’s share our love of something that’s good for both of us.”

    1. Tracy, Kate has never, ever said one thing to me when I’ve reached for my umpteenth handful of fries. No eye rolling, or “Do you really need that.” So I knew where it was coming from. That being said, I do see your point.

      And brava on not talking about what we eat. it’s our business.

  52. My dearest friend. Since you have done absolutely EVERYTHING that you have set your mind to, I have no doubt that you can accomplish this. I’m working on my own weight loss goal, so if you need menu help, you know my number. Think kale. Lots and lots of kale.

    1. With wonderful friends such as yourself, I’m bound to make it. And I know when I beg you, just beg you to make me a tourtière, you will make me an Easy-Bake oven size one, right? xo

      1. It so happens that I have little pans (Table Talk) for that purpose. But in order to get one, you will have to walk off the same amount of calories. :-)

          1. The deal I made with myself is that I have to walk for a half hour for a glass of wine. They cancel each other out, calorically.

  53. David
    I don’t even know you and I love you! (Not in an icky, stalkerish way but the way a reader loves the voice of a writer of a blog. That kind of love, the kind of love all authors hope for.) So. You are writing about IT. Again. Here is the thing I want to say back: if losing weight is important to you, and you really and truly want to commit to doing what it takes every day, you will do it. If it matters because you will live for more years, or because you want to make sure you won’t become diabetic, or for whatever really good reason, then I have confidence that you will do what needs to be done. But if you decide it’s not worth it, let me say that you have contributed to the sum total goodness of the universe in this blog and community and that is also something to dwell in with happiness. To savor even. To relish with relish, I mean. And it’s not either/or either.

    1. Sharon, I completely take it in the non-icky, non-stalkerish way you meant it. I do want to lose weight because of health reasons. I’m relatively okay, but, boy, am I on the wrong road. A few more years, and who know where I’ll be. I want to be around for a long time and enjoy those years. But it’s such a lovely thing to know I have contributed to the joy of others. Thank you.

  54. Good on ya! I with you this year – no matter what the goal it feels lofty when you’re standing staring up at it. one day at time. Best to you!

  55. When I went to Weight Watchers I had the misfortune of going to the same meetings as the wife of one of my duffo colleagues. On a daily basis he asked me how “my” Weight Watchers was going. I showed remarkable restraint by not killing, him, his wife, or beautiful daughter. I just quit going to WW.

  56. Another comment I’d add to the list: “Calories in, calories out. It’s simple.” I see this one far too often on comment threads (and in person), typically uttered by self-righteous ultra athlete wannabes who probably struggle to keep weight on. Any suggestion that science (yes, SCIENCE) has shown that it actually *isn’t* that simple brings on all kinds of new self-righteous dismissals.

    On quinoa: This recipe for quinoa chocolate cake will convert even the most ardent quinoa naysayer (skip the cloying icing, I use plain, unsweetened whipped cream and sour cherry compote for a kind of nouveau black forest cake.)

    Finally: THANK YOU for totally nailing it! Over many years of yo-yo-ing, I’ve certainly heard many of these. Anyone who thinks I have no willpower has no idea how much it took to keep my fork from flying across the room!

    1. Sisi, you are more than welcome. And thank you for the recipe for the chocolate cake. Before last week, I would have said nev-ah, nev-ah, nev-ah. But after my little ancient grain epiphany, I might just try it.

  57. Go for it! You can do it! Share your yummy and healthy recipes with the rest of us who aren’t built like Twiggy. Oops… dating myself big time!

  58. So well said! Those of us who struggle with weight know that all of these things are true. Also, under the What Not to Say things: if you have a teen struggling with weight, please never say that the kid’s on a diet. I was crushed when my own mother, a normally caring person, inexplicably did this to me when I was 14/15. You can’t go around privately convincing a teen that beauty comes from the inside and publicly announce the need for a diet.

  59. David, kudos to you for this, and one possibly helpful addendum: the answer to “are you really going to eat that?” is “Yes. I am a professional. Stand back.”

  60. I loved this piece. My grandmother always struggled with her weight — I think at her highest she was 300 lbs — and your closing sentiment reminded me of her. When we were kids, she’d threaten to sit on us when we were bad. She was funny. I miss her.

  61. Love this post. Here’s another one: If I ask you not to post a picture I’m in because I think it makes me look really large, don’t say, “Well, you could stand to lose a few pounds, but that’s okay.” I will NEVER FORGET THOSE WORDS.

    1. We need to learn from the selfie-taking teens… Instead of dodging the camera so that they snap us at an angle that points up from the middle- making it look larger. We need to lunge for the camera so as to get a big eyed look instead. And if we fall on them in the attempt, oh well, maybe they’ll learn to keep the snapshots to themselves!

      1. Miles, you have a point, but I think if someone says, “I don’t want my photo taken and I certainly don’t want my photo on Facebook,” that should be the end of it — no matter what the reason. I don’t get angry with people often, but I’ve declared open war on people who pull that “oh, ha ha, I’m doing it anyway” thing.

  62. Found you via David Lebovitz on FB. This post was spot on! :) Also, those fridge pigs/cows are absolutely vile. If anyone did that to me I’d grind their offensive offering up and force feed it to them. Seriously. >:-<<

    Good luck on the weight loss journey! I'm aiming to lose a hundred by Christmas, too, so I'm really looking forward to any recipes you might be cooking up for healthy and/or vegetarian food. I could use something healthful that doesn't taste and feel like sawdust. Ha.

    See you on the other side! We can do this! :)

    1. Thank you, Lakad Dito, Lakad Doon. I wish you luck, too, on your journey. If you’re interested, I’m thinking of starting a challenge page on Facebook (link at the top of this post)–friendly, noncompetitive, support page. If I get enough people, I’ll create it.

  63. Oh David! I can recognize my almost entire life in this list. I am not thaaaaat fat, but fat enough to get those kind of comments from people since I was a little girl. And I recognize my Portuguese mom in yours ;) People don’t realize how judgemental they are when they think they are helping. Please God!

    Thanks for being who you are :)

      1. I’m older than you, David, and I’ve been pretty consistent with the obesity, By the time I was 15, I’d read everything in the library pertaining to weight loss, and I’ve kept up. To this day I haven’t met a doctor or dietician who can teach me anything I don’t already know. Speaking of that, if you’re overweight, you can go to the doctor for a sore throat and get a lecture on weight-loss. If knowledge or intelligence had anything to do with it, you and I would both be models. When you lost 100 pounds before, you found out you had willpower of steel The skinny people of the world don’t have a clue. Low-carb is the least painful way I know, but it’s HARD to get started! Much success!

        P.S. When I was young and stupid I swore I’d never wear a size 18 again. And I never did. (Never tempt the gods; they like jokes.)

        1. Carolyn, I hear you. I agree about going to the doc’s for a sore throat and being lectured for weight. I changed doctors because no matter what I went for, he said it was compounded by my weight. Even the indelicate subject (sorry, folks) of a prostate exam was impacted because my butt was too big.

          And you me had cracking up about tempting ye gods! March on, my friend.

  64. Whether Sofia meant “Strength and balls forward” or not, that sounds like good advice to me! Onward and downward, David. We’re with you.

  65. ‘specially like #7…such a kind person! Sending loads of positive thoughts to smooth the rough bits for you.

  66. Eh…. those fridge pigs are a Thing? Colour me entirely unamused.

    You can do anything you set your mind to, D. Lose 100 pounds? You’ll nail it.

  67. More on the weight loss topic:
    I have so many “Weight loss” books on my book shelves, so many that a circus dog couldn’t jump over. Every January, new books to tell us how “they” became successful and how”they” eat. Well, what I figured out is that YOU have to “write” your own “book of success” and not relying on others success to be yours. You are most likely setting yourself up for failure, for years I stare at those books with contempt and usually end up putting them on the “bottom shelf of shame.” A recent perfect example is the obvious and wonderful success of Mara… who lost 90 lb and wrote her story in Thinspired. I have not read it but I have seen her on many am shows about her journey. Here is a perfect example of a “guide” through HER journey, but you have to make your own. She said she gave up wine, flour, sugar because that’s her trigger for failure? Well, right there that is setting ME up for sure failure. I am a student of wine, wine blogger and teach cooking classes. I can’t ever have a piece of birthday cake or King Cake ever again? I can’t imagine a life without those wonderful things and it wouldn’t be me.

    I decided I was going to figure out how I can become friends with these foods and incorporate them in my life. The foods themselves are not “evil,” it’s what you do with it. I made the conscious decision to enjoy “trigger” foods without guilt or punishment. It’s a work in process from habits of guilt and punishment I formed many years ago. How do “normal sized” people enjoy all of that? There is no guilt associated with it for them, there is no one telling them “you shouldn’t eat that!! By the way, I HATE that! Don’t tell ME what I am supposed to and not supposed to eat! That was one of my first steps to live a “normal” life. I don’t set myself up for failure by eating “forbidden” food and then beating myself up because of it. I have learned to just eat it, drink it, enjoy it and move on! Once you get in your 50’s you figure out that you don’t have 50 more years to figure it out, so you better do it now and ENJOY THE JOURNEY!

    1. Lisa, I love your passion. And I love “bottom shelf of shame.” Great line.

      Your road has to be your road. No one can walk it but you, and no one can decide the route to take but you. There are some things I’ll never give up, and I know they fly in the face of many “diet” programs. But I have to have them or I feel like I’m on a diet. And diet for me = failure.

    2. Yes, yes, and MORE yes! A few years ago I lost 35 pounds. How? I cut back, I didn’t give up anything! Coca-Cola is my crack. I’ll be damned if I have to stop drinking it altogether! I also walk to and from work. That’s 7 miles a day. Use the advice out there as a guideline and not as the absolute only thing to do and experiment.
      As my doctor told me, bodies aren’t interchangeable. Do what works for you and you won’t go nuts. :)

  68. Great letter and wonderful points for everyone to remember. Have a great and super successful year. Keep the recipes and blogs coming.

  69. Dear David,

    1. Love your blog.

    2. Amen and thank you.

    3. Only a (unasked) suggestion because it’s helping me and maybe it will help you as well: Consider using a Fitbit (or similar product). I just started using one three days ago and thus far it has motivated me to move my *** to meet the daily 10,000 step goal :)

    1. Dear Caryl,

      1. Danke.

      2. Bless you, child. You’re welcome.

      3. I have Weight Watchers new ActiveLink. I really like it, although there have been some syncing problems the past several days I could barely make a one-loop walk around our backyard on January 1, 2015. Now I can.

  70. Oh David, you are my favorite. Giggling now.

    Years ago I made myself the promise on New Year never to make a resolution about weight again. I have kept that one. Now my resolutions are about things I care more about.

    Gonna have to say that I love quinoa. I am appalled that it is a health thing. :). Try it with lentils as a modified mujadarra. And I just made a bunch of homemade frozen burritos with everything’s under the sun plus quinoa (okay, yes, for health, because it doesn’t budge hubby’s blood sugar) and they are totally wonderful.

    1. Linda, yes, I don’t like making resolutions. It think they’re disappointments waiting to happen.

      And this quinoa thing is weird for me. Really weird. I never thought I’d like it–and I do. I will never give up my duck fat and chocolate chip cookies, but I will add quinoa. Who knew?!

  71. David, I feel your pain. It is so hard to be “the Fat One”, as if someone has to make the others feel better about themselves. So I decided to start losing weight and have not told anyone. 50 lbs gone and people are just beginning to notice. I use Spark people (a free website for healthy eating and weight loss). It’s good that you are working on this and I can’t wait to see what recipes you come up with!

    1. Marla, thank you. And Congratulations on the 50 pounds. That is amazing. I wish you great continued success. I’m using Weight Watchers as of right now. We’ll see.

  72. Hi David, I just read your article. It has been my lifetime struggle to reach that “magic weight.” After going up and down for years, since September I have lost 26 lb and down 3 sizes, I have tailor-made a plan for me, not for anyone else and you are right, it’s not about that magic portion size. I have been a life time Weight Watcher several times, gained and lost and have every size in my closet. Well, all I can say is something clicked with me. My passion is wine, food and sharing that passion. I am someone who wants to and loves food and wine. I live to eat, not eat to live. That is who I am. I cannot be someone else who is okay with a bite or two and says “Im full.” That’s not me. Someone told me one time, Lisa, you’ll never be able to manage your weight in this business. Well, I am here to tell you it’s can be done. I will always be plus sized- I will be elated to be size 12 or 14, I’m curvy anyway. And, I am glad that this is the year of the butt! I am half Sicilian and we got butt! Doesn’t matter how much I lose, the butt will be there, at least I am finally in style, for once. Something just “clicked” with me. At almost 56, I decided to accept me for who am I and how I look, and went from there. I will always look like me, just a smaller and toner version. If I try to tell you what I eat and how I eat, it may or may not fit into your life. YOU have to find that yourself. I always hated when other people told ME how to eat. One things for sure, I don’t eliminate any food group from my daily eating. I love wine, food everything else that is considered “trigger foods.” But this time, I have figured out how to eat more of the “green light foods” for lack of a better name, and use the other trigger foods more as a treat. I still eat pasta, but that is a treat. I still drink wine, DUH! but not everyday–that was hard but I’m used to it now. I don’t cut out carbs, but I eat better carbs an d choose wisely when I eat them. I can go on and on, but I no longer punish myself, you know that’s what its all about, punishing ourselves because of our obvious “lack of control.” I knew I was getting okay when I could walk into the gym with gym clothes in September — it was rough, I felt like everyone was staring in disgust but I got tough, put blinders on and now I do Cross Fit, kettle bell classes and TRX. And its paying off. I can’t tell you what to do or how to eat, that is YOUR journey, but I CAN tell you that if you “just do it” Take care of yourself for YOU, it just starts working. NO PUNISHMENTS ALLOWED! This is a way to treat yourself. I eat high quality meats–all kinds, veggies. We have an edge over those who don’t know how to cook, we are gourmet cooks and know how to make food taste and look amazing with less of the bad stuff and more of the good stuff. It’s amazing what you can do with veggies such as zucchini, spaghetti squash and get as satisfied as eating half a box of pasta, I know because I’ve done it.Cauliflower has become the new potato chip. Toss in olive oil, seasonings and roast till crispy, dip in a curry dip or just eat from the pan. Much more satisfying that a a chip. So eat that during the week and have a burger with chips on the weekend, your treat. It works. I too have as much to loose, I am 1/4 of the way down and that has inspired me to go on. Every pound down, I look better, younger and my face looks more youthful. I need every bit of that–I’ll be 56 soon. I am not ready to go “to seed” I am not ready to wear old lady clothes and be dismissed by everyone that I pass by. I want to be noticed still and feel good, and not torture myself being a victim to a fork and wine glass. You can still be you and be successful at feeling and looking good. Wouldn’t it be fun to write that article?

    I also forgot to say, “I have changed my “story” We all define ourselves by our story—I am in the process of changing mine–and I have had to change the story I tell people–for instance, I had achilles tendon reconstructive surgery and also screwed up my knee which has prevented me from running-which was a HUGE part of my life. So, I walked into Crossfit (X Factor at my gym) and immediately started making excuses about my plight about what I could and couldn’t do. So, I looked over at another person in the class—she had one leg, young girl 24, freak accident. After that, I changed my story.

    No one else can do it as good as I can for myself because I know myself the best, so dammit, I did it (in the process of) myself. Becoming a better version, updated version of me, still the same girl, just better.

  73. Delightful, as always, David.

    And — speaking as a reformed glutton who earned every single pound gained and lost — if I can do it, you can do it.

  74. You are a handsome man David, and when you lose weight you will still be a handsome man, not more handsome, only a smaller good looking man.

  75. 2015 will be a great year David. You have two amazing projects ahead of you and somehow I believe you will be helping others in the midst of it.

    Quinoa, and other ingredients some people may make fun of, are delicious as long as well cooked and cannot imagine you not doing your magic.

    You know you can do it. As you yourself said, you’ve done it before. We are all here to support you and care very much for great results. Please keep on sharing via social media what you are cooking and eating as you will influence others as well.

    Força e bola pra frente. Beijos.

    1. Sofia, I can’t, CAN’T believe I like quinoa. I wouldn’t marry like like i would bacon, I could consider having the occasional bottle call it it.

      And, what exactly are you saying in Portuguese? It looks like, “Strength and balls forward.”

      1. Well bacon IS BACON… though I no longer buy it. Simply make it at hom,e using your recipe.

        Força e bola pra frente = Strength and keep on kicking that ball towards the goal Do not forget Portugal is a soccer country. Makes sense?

      2. Very well put, David. I’m no stick myself, and totally identify with what you wrote. The Portuguese probably refers to soccer, no?

    1. Thanks, KalynsKitchen. Yeah, it’s a bitch. I did go to the gym yesterday. But like I said on Facebook, just as a person who is terrified of flying goes to an airport and watches planes as the first part of his treatment, I went and just looked at the machines. Panic ensued!

      1. Dear David, am caught in the ultimate conundrum – a retired/disabled chef who has lost/gained/lost weight. On one hand, no one trusts a skinny cook (as the saying goes; The other side says morbid obesity and diabetes controls the conscience…and I’ve worked with those who’ve died from both).

        What to do, I ask, of someone who’s recipes I dearly like?


        1. Michael, first, I’m deeply touched that you, a chef, like the recipes I feature. Thank you.

          Now, on to what to do. A friend of mine–a chef at the school of which I’m on the advisory board–was coming to our house for Christmas dinner. I was thrilled because it was a very chef-y dinner: prime rib with an olive-caper coating, potatoes gratin, some fancy greens, and sticky toffee pudding for dessert. He called me a few hours before and said he was sorry to inconvenience me, but he couldn’t make it; he’d had a heart attack. I was floored. It was he who got me into the gym.

          Are your numbers okay? Just because a person is overweight or disabled doesn’t necessarily mean his numbers are bad. Mine were so sky high, that if my investment portfolio matched the upward trajectory of my blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. I’d be a billionaire!

          A few things that are working for me (caveat: at least for now):

          1. Being accountable to people. Starting this Friday, a friend and I will be brutally honest with each other about how much we’ve gained or lost–without judgment. Having others you can trust and be open with I think help.

          2. I’m modifying my diet. Foie gras will never go (sorry, vegan!). I love it too much. I’m not so much taking away things that I adore as adding more things that I never really bothered eating. Hence the infamous quinoa. I made an excellent cod and shrimp stew last night. (I was going for cioppino but didn’t have all the ingredients.) I served it on top of quinoa. Truly, truly it wasn’t bad. The One and I liked it.

          Cod-Shrimp Stew Recipe

          3. Are you able to do any yoga–gentle yoga? That could help in the physical department.

          4. Restaurants are out for now. I’m enjoying playing in the kitchen and trying new ingredients. (Farro is next!) Okay, I did have a Sausage McMuffin with Egg yesterday, and I don’t feel guilty.

          5. I’m thinking of starting a support group on Facebook (maybe here). You might want to join.

          Does anyone else have ideas for Michael?

          1. Michael,
            Due to always having tendency to gain weight, thyroid problems and diabetes in my family, I decided a few years ago to slowly change my diet. Let me start by saying that I love all that is bad for you (bacon, pig’s feet, oxtail, or any other part of the animals that has a high content in fat). I wanted to make sure I was being followed by the medical field. My nurse practitioner decided to first get me into an elimination process diet. Meaning the first two weeks, all I ate was salad (with just lemon juice and olive oil), a few fruits, lots of water and that is about it (YUCK…the hardest two week of my life). Slowly we started incorporate different types of foods (much as we do with babies, really!). That is when I found out I had gluten and fungi intolerance.

            Since then, I decided to switch to as much a plant-based diet as possible, so that I could splurge on the things I absolutely love such as oxtail, fois gras, and so on. For fat I only use olive oil and vegan butter (make my own). I only eat “real cheese” on special occasions. The rest of the time I also use plant-based “cheese.” To make the switch easier, I fill my plate with grains first (brown rice, quinoa, brown rice pasta…) then add the main dish that is mostly vegetarian and on the top, to trick my mind I use meat as a condiment. I eyes see the meat first, so i feel I am actually eating lots of meat, though truthfully I may only adding 5% to 10% of in in my diet.

            The most important thing is to find what works for you and to see it as a life-style and not a diet. Yoga is great of one’s body and mind. I am not a great fan of gyms, so I prefer yoga and lots of walking. The first year, without even realizing I lost a little over 30 lbs. Hoping this helps.

          2. Michael, if you haven’t tried meditation it may be helpful. I decided to try it to handle stress better (I used to wake up in the middle of the night in a panic about everything I needed to do the next day/week/month) and it worked for me on day 1. I downloaded the free app Headspace – a very calm Australian gentleman walks you through 10 minutes of meditation. That’s it. It has seriously changed my life. Good luck!

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