Being supportive

Nearly 5 years ago I took an advanced autism course and part of that involved personal observation on shift. My tutor was an expert in the field of autism, giving lectures and running workshops on the subject. As most people know autism is on a wide spectrum, but many conjur up images of autism in the 'Rainman' movie. But my tutor was/is still an expert in the field, having worked right across the spectrum ( apparently). I asked the tutor pre observation if she worked with our level of autism much. Very smugly and condescendingly she informed me that was why she was the tutor and I the student. My first observation was to be at 7am 'when the child wakes up'. I said to the tutor, you had best arrive at 4am then as that was when the child usually woke up. She arrived at 6am and most of what was needed to be observed was done. On walking onto the premises and before I could allow her near our charges, I had to tell her to remove all her jewellery, put the id tag in her pocket and remove the dogtooth jacket she had on - I got a questioning look, but she reluctantly removed them. Earrings as well I said, that is if you like your ears the way they are. I received a barely concealed look of disgust. I told her that if I said to 'move' she had to get herself behind a locked door without question and stay there until told she could come out.

Without going into what happened over the next 3 hours, this expert caused many incidents which we staff had to battle to diffuse, and when I say battle I do mean battle. By the time the debrief came Myself and 2 other staff members were sporting cuts and bruises were starting to appear, fortunately no bites or breaks. We did manage to keep our charges safe and the expert only lost a little of her hair ( at one point it was save her or a charge from injury - no contest). The flat looked like a bomb had gone off and the maintenance team were unimpressed at the amount of work they now had lumbered on them. This expert had the grace to apologise to myself ( i asked her to apologise to my colleagues too as without them the situation would have been very different), in a shocked voice and very quietly she informed me that she had never ever met autism like this and how the hell did we manage to work day in day out as we did. One of my answers was to listen to what we were being told and doing it, time to question later. To be 100% aware, 100% of the time. Never ever underestimate.

I had about 4 more observations, funnily though never with her - always had other obligations to attend too, her underling ( no noted expert) was fab though.

So what has this tale got to do with healthy eating? Well, there are many experts in a wide range of healthy eating areas. One will advocate to not eat this and why - they are the expert after all. One will say to not have that and why - they too are the expert in that particular area. One expert will contradict the other, and it will happen for ever more. They will all have valid reasons and be very convincing. Many things will connect with many people and will be spot on.

We are individuals though, with individual minds and bodies. One size does not fit all, just as one way of trying to lose weight doesn't suit all. Some foods for some people are quite literally deadly for whatever reason. Some foods are more addictive to some people than others and have led to many health issues. Our bodies don't all process things the same way. My own sons pancreas works entirely differently to 'the norm' as well as other things.

What I am trying to say, albeit in a very long -winded way, is if the method to lose weight and be healthy I follow or the next person follows is not how you would do it, or visa-versa, try not to condemn it. It is working for them as an individual with an individual mind and body. The experts know an awful lot about an awful lot, they don't know YOU personally. My autism expert appeared to take pleasure in putting me in my place, it backfired on her in a way that was detrimental to all that day. I still supported her as best I could, as did my colleagues. Thankfully I have found, especially on this forum, that the vast majority find as much pleasure supporting and being positive with others as I do.

Your method of losing weight healthily is not wrong, neither is mine. It is just different. Embrace the fact you have taken a positive step to an improved you. With so many conditions and disabilities in this world we live, we need to find a way to eat what is best for each individual body.

I know that what I have just written will rankle with some, and they will be eager to 'have a go' and dissect each bit and rubbish it. PLEASE realise that this is just my opinion and how I try to be., what I feel and how I prefer to be treated and to treat others.

I wish everyone a really good, healthy week, whatever method you are using to lose or maintain ( even gain for some) your weight. ☺️

30 Replies

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  • I love this post ShellieL.

    You are so right. It's very easy for us all to believe that because we have years of experience, or have read every book imaginable, done the course, got the medal and the chest to pin it on, that we must be the expert and that everyone must conform to our way of thinking and that if they don't, they're to be pitied, because obviously they're too stupid to see sense.

    Whilst sharing our thoughts and experiences is to be encouraged and commended, forcing them down the throats of others as the be all and end all, is definitely not the way to go.

    We must celebrate our individuality and forge our own paths, grateful for the hands held out to us for support.

    Thanks so much for highlighting this ShellieL.

  • Well hun, you have just put into far fewer words what I wrote, lol. Perhaps I could do with a few lessons in getting to the point quicker, hehehe. Thankyou for being kind to my ramblings. 😊

  • Hi ShellieL

    As someone who probably eats slightly more carbs than current wisdom indicates, I am in complete agreement with what you've said about individual methods being suited to individual people - I am sure there is no 'one size fits all' approach to healthy eating, because we all react differently to food, both physically and psychologically.

    I do sincerely hope that any posts I've made with suggestions from experience to particular problems are taken in the spirit in which they are intended, and not construed to be dictating a particular approach :-(

  • Lucca, your posts have ALWAYS been positive and supportive. I don't think anyone could take offence to anything you have written, quite the opposite in fact. You keep on posting and replying chick, no unhappy 'smilies' from you please, great big grinning ones only. Happy and supportive as you are yourself 😊

  • Phew - I know I rabbit on a bit about kitkats, but hopefully no-one thinks I'm on a '5-a-day kitkats for all' crusade (lovely as that may sound :-D )

  • You keep on rabbiting hun, i for one love reading the little 'droppings' ( rabbit - droppings - get it, lol) that you post. Now if your kitkat posts were that you were going to die a slow, clueless death because you had the stupidity to eat even one bite of said kitkat daily then I might just have to rethink things........... I rather enjoy a kitkat every blue moon even though I don't have a sweet tooth. Crisps, my achilles heel, on the other hand, with the amount I can put away, I give you and everyone else permission to call me every daft beggar name going if I stuff my face with them. πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜ŠπŸ˜ŠπŸ˜†πŸ˜€πŸ˜Š

  • Oooh no - I would NEVER say that about a kitkat ;-)

    I did mean to say as well that it sounds like you have an extremely tough job - you can be forgiven the odd packet of crisps I'm sure - sounds like you deserve them :-)

  • I wondered why I was in such a Kit Kat mood today. Must be taking in this Kit Kat crusade subconsciously. πŸ˜„

  • Have a break, have a kitkat. Blimey, kitkats on the brain. Will buy one on the way to work tonight and have it with a cuppa around 3am. Now the dilemma, 3am so does that come into todays calories or tomorrows!!!! Oh eck, decisions decisions. lucca10 you have a lot to answer for.


  • Just don't smoothie them ;-)

  • Wonder what they would taste like? What would you blitz with them I ask myself. Let me think.... perhaps an orange, some oat milk and a few poppy seeds plus a carrot or two. Nah, as is will be just fine.

    Actually, I might just have a go at that smoothie tomorrow!!! You are leading me astray lucca, lol. It will all be calorie counted of course.πŸ˜ƒ

  • Ha Ha Ha <evil laugh> - my work is done ;-)

  • Love your attitude Shellie. Your post seems to highlight the difference between experience and knowledge. We all share our experiences on here, but along the way we gain knowledge too, and end up seeking out more knowledge based on what we have individually experienced. It's useful to bear in mind that when we are sharing information that we've found that this comes from a biased perspective. We all look for new information through the lens of our own experiences. It's easy to slip into the role of 'expert' if we become convinced that we've found the 'right' way to do something. For example couch to 5k may have worked for me, but may be entirely the wrong thing for someone else. We have to remember our starting points are all completely different. Good to be reminded of that. Have an excellent day :)

  • Hey Ruth, you too have managed to say what I wrote in far fewer words!! I DO need a lesson in getting to the point. Hope I didn't sound preachy, apologies if did. 😊

  • Not at all. What you wrote was an illustration, which definitely needs more words. I did end up feeling sorry for that expert though. I know you said she still lectures etc but it must have been a big wake up call. I hope you got your advanced certificate for autism care after all that :)

    Perhaps, if all such experts could be made to see what we actually experience in our different lives and different circumstances, the way we do things already might not seem so 'wrong'.

  • Oh dear, I know one thing she learnt, never have long hair loose in our kind of setting. We may look twits at times with beanies on our heads and wrapped in hoodies, especially in summer. You learn fast in my job, that or are destined for a REAL tough and painful time. 😬

  • Wow, that's pretty hardcore Shellie. You're totally at the coalface!

  • Ruth, knowing when to stand your ground and when to run is vital, as is the total support of colleagues. We have a tough job, yes, but It is a great job too and I really wouldn't want to do anything else. Even being experienced at what we do, there isn't a shift goes by without at least 1 minor injury or incident, newbies think we are mad when we double up laughing covered in, putting it delicately - bodily waste of some kind! My work bag is a bit 'Mary Poppins' I carry everything from a complete change of clothes, to cartoon stickers, to a hand fan!! You need it, it's in there lol.

    Now you realise why I do the row machine at the gym and walk a lot, I need the stamina, lol.☺️

  • My goodness Shellie, what an interesting read! I also worked with special needs pupils, for more years than I care to remember. Heaven preserve us from "experts"!

    As far as nutritional advice goes, one of the problems is that it is a 'young' science. I fear it has been treated as something with simple solutions, when in fact human biochemistry is very complicated. We are now faced with experts almost fighting over different interpretations of research, a multi-million pound industry selling us weight loss solutions and a food industry apparently intent on fattening us up.

    There certainly isn't a one size fits all solution, but it's very easy to become almost messianic when you have found what works for you!

  • Penel, I agree, agree, agree! I did rather ramble though, lol. I talk to much in person too, oops. 😊

  • Hi ShellieL,

    I totally 'support' your post regarding the virtues of being supportive to one another in our weight loss journeys. :-)

    It was very interesting to read the experiences you described in relation to working with the autism tutor, during those observations, and how she reacted to being out in the 'field' so to speak, and attempting to face the daily challenges of interacting with a challenging client group, and working with such experienced staff teams. Hopefully that experience will have helped her to appreciate the valuable work you are undertaking on a daily basis, and hopefully she'll have some compassion when she undertakes further observations in the future.

    Regarding this community forum for Weight Loss, I think it is mainly supportive. I try to support others, and talk about my personal experiences of weight loss, and what has been helpful to me, but I also acknowledge that everyone is different, and that what works for one person may not work for another. I hope that I don't ever come across as it I'm 'pushing anything' onto anyone else. I hope I come across as a supporter and someone who is supportive. If ever I don't, then I hope someone will let me know! :-)

    I do speak positively of the NHS 12 week plan, because it is linked to this forum, and I do think it's a great framework, and that people can take from it what they find helpful, and disregard anything that they don't like about it. I dislike it when occasionally some people seem to almost evangelically push particular ways of eating that may not suit or be appropriate to the individual needs of other people, as if it is a 'one size fits all' approach. I don't think that is helpful or supportive.

    I appreciate your thread, and find it very interesting and thought provoking.

    I hope you're enjoying your week so far.

    Lowcal :-)

  • Lowcal, your posts and advice are amazing. You are, in my opinion, a shining star of support and positivity on this forum. Your commitment to others is fab. The 12 week plan is a good place to start and get someone on the right track to losing weight in a healthy way, as are some of the other nhs plans. You are spot on. From one poster to another, thankyou for all you do. 😊

  • You're right, we're all different and different things work for us.

  • Love the post Shellie...well thought through and such an insight. My dad was a coal miner and he would understand the different burning time we get from different coals...we may think that all coal is the it is but the different types of coal will give out energy in very different my point is, if the food we take in burns in many different in my case..the old boiler it goes into....effects that burning of energy I really do agree with you.

    ..I love hearing about the things that are working for people here on the forum...I learn from them , copy their ideas sometimes ....and enjoy their company....You're such a positive contributor ..πŸ˜‰

  • Thankyou hun, I do try to be supportive. You Dad was a clever man, and it has rubbed off on you. Knowledge is fab, without common sense though can be a little wasted at times. Whatever anyone thinks they know, there is always something they don't. It is great to pick up little snippets on here, some things are so simple that you think yourself a bit dim not to have thought of it yourself, lol. I for one have gleaned and put into use quite a few things, one such thing I will be ordering today thanks to Ruth-c-r. Have a lovely day. 😊

  • Brilliant post. I've said the same thing a few times recently. I have been very successful with my weight loss but I know a lot of people would disagree with how I've done it. For instance I get weighed twice a day which I feel helps ME to keep control of my weight but I know others would throw their hand up in horror at this. I also know that at the beginning I lost a lot of weight but I know now it was a unhealthy diet. Unhealthy does not just mean calorific or fatty or carb heavy. I just wasn't eating enough.

    It's taken me a long time to get to where I now feel I eat healthily with a decent exercise programme but I'm sure despite almost an 8 stone loss some people would disagree with what I'm doing.

    When I first came onto this forum I did offer more direct advice on what to eat etc but the longer I've been on here the more I realise that there are so many different ways to be healthy and you must do what suits your own lifestyle and body and that you can live with in the long term.

  • Hi Andy...eight stone is an amazing achievement...I personallly enjoy hearing how people have achieved their own personal journeys...yes we're all different and celebrate this...but the forum is all the better for the variety of advice and suggestions..advice is free so it's so easy to decide what we do with I'm now going to look at your old posts..and well done you! There are a few newbies who would love to hear from you....

  • Hey Andy, 8 stone off!! Wow, superb! I am sure that there has been many times on here that someone will have picked out something in a post you have written and thought, ' ooh, i'll give that a go'. Like you say we have to find the way that works for ourselves, whether someone else likes it or not. Blasting a type of food or weigh method isn't going to support anyone to keep trying, personally I think the opposite would happen. Many overweight people feel rubbish enough about themselves without someone intimating indirectly that they are also rubbish about how they have chosen to tackle the weight. Have a lovely day, the sun is shining here with a little breeze - perfect! Unfortunately I am going to be sleeping through it (hopefully), I finished a 14 hour shift an hour ago and back in tonight. All is good though, weekend off - whoohoo. πŸ˜ƒ

  • It's almost 8 stone. 2 lbs to go and 1 1/2 lbs till I get to my healthy BMI. I can remember when I started off at a weight of 21 stone 3 lbs and a BMI of 40.2 looking at the NHS site thinking that the healthy BMI weight of 13 stone 3 lbs was totally unrealistic and impossible for me to achieve.

    Can't believe I have had the self discipline to get there (or almost there).

    I still think my top,tip is to get weighed every morning, just so that you know exactly where you are and can control what you eat. I think if I left it to every week I would not be as strict as I am.

    I know lots will say this is wrong so I would say to anyone do what suits you but a weekly weigh in lets you have a few less good days together before any consequences are seen.

    If I go out for the occasional meal I can see immediately the next morning the effect that this has had and tailor my food intake to immediately lose the weight again.

    Some will say your weight fluctuates naturally by the odd pound or so and I'm sure it may do but it's funny how it only fluctuates upwards for me when I've had a bit of a treat or a meal out. The thing is not to worry about a little weight gain, just use it to motivate a weight loss over the next day or so.

    I'm off on a two week holiday in the sun in three weeks. I will be reasonably careful but I know I will gain some weight, probably as much as 1/2 a stone. I know that by being very strict the week I return I will be able to,lose it within a week. I think at lot of holiday weight gain is retained water as it goes again so quickly. I must have had at least 4 holidays in the last year where I have gained weight and the worse was 10'lbs in 5 days. All of this weight disappeared within a week of getting home so try not to let the worry of some weight gain spoil my holiday.

    The daily weigh ins lets me be in control of what I eat, when to be good and when I can relax a little. Other than a lack of knowledge about nutrition and exercise I have always felt I was in control and other the past nearly 15 months my knowledge in these areas has increased massively although not on a scientific level as I really can't be bothered with things like macros whatever they may be or obsessively counting calories. It all comes down to what we know to be good and what we know to be bad.

    I.e. Chips, cakes, massive portions, biscuits, crisps, takeaways alcohol bad.

    Fresh veg, salad, chicken, salmon, fish, porridge, fruit etc good. It really is as simple as that.

    If you pick from the bad list only do it very occasionally.

    I do have to keep repeating that this works for ME. Wouldn't try to say this is the only way. Others find that obsessing about macros and calorie counting works for them and if it does then keep it up.

  • If weighing daily is working for you, then keep doing it - it is a personal tool you use and right for you, as weighing only 2-3 times a month is right for me. Neither of us are wrong. I prefer to calorie count, but am not strict, whereas others are fanatical about every single calorie, again neither way is wrong to the one doing it.

    Sometimes I think folk miss the part where you/I / others impart that it is a personal view and way of things that work for them. Sadly, this can hurt some quite deeply whether by intent or unintentional. I for one ramble, it is both cathartic and helpful in my battle to shed the blubber. Hopefully what I write is helpful to some too, to support is to be supported, if it isn't helpful - anyone on here can feel free to ignore my postings.

    You have done tremendously well Andy, and you seem to have this lifelong journey cracked. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses and acknowledging this is a powerful tool to have. I hope you have a super holiday hun. 😊

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