Should we listen to the food police?

It makes me realise, when I read the daily posts that interest me, how many people seem to be unintentional members of the food police. You probably know the ones I mean - they respond to posts with "You must eat breakfast or you'll die a horrible death" or "You must drink five gallons of water a day to stay healthy" or "You have to exercise or your legs will fall off" (of course I'm exaggerating but you get the idea...), rather than "I find eating breakfast/drinking water/exercising really suits me personally". Do people find it easy to ignore such well-meant advice or not? After all, what suits me isn't going to suit every other person trying to lose weight - we all have to find our own way and there are no magic answers that will be applicable to every single person, which is why I find it so interesting that there seem to be people who insist that there just ARE! Does it put anyone off to be told that they won't lose weight without exercise if they are barely able to walk down their stairs? Or to be told they HAVE to drink water when they hate the taste? Or to have it insinuated that they're somehow a failure because they're not counting every single calorie and watching their Fitbit every waking moment of their day..? And what makes people stick so rigidly to these mantras anyway - are they control freaks or just scared of losing it completely if they don't have "rules" to abide by?

Sorry - didn't mean to make this so long! Just thought it might make an interesting general discussion...


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31 Replies

  • Morning AnnTandy

    Welcome to the weight loss forum. We are a friendly forum who try to help and encourage our members along their weight loss journey, no one is trying to police anyone with their eating, drinking or exercise. They are just sharing their experiences and it's then up to you on what bits of information you take from the posts.

    Take a look at the Welcome Newbie post in the Pinned post section at the right hand side of the screen or if your on a mobile at the bottom. Have a look at the nhs 12 week plan, many members have had success following this plan. Use the BMI checker to work out your daily calorie allowance.

    Below the Pinned posts are the Topics where members share a range of weight related subjects.

    Take your measurements at the start along with a photo so you can see the changes when the scales don't move.

    We have weigh-ins every day so why not come and join us. You can find the weigh-in on the Home page in the Events section on the right. Just click on the post and state your start weight and any loss/gain or maintain for the week.

    To get the best out of the forum be active, share experiences, tips and recipes. Read some of the posts they can be very inspiring and motivate you along the way.

    Have a great first week.


  • From my experience on here, "advice" is always well meant and not a directive. Admittedly, its hard to trust the advice of a yo-yo dieter, but let's not knock the advice from Successful Slimmers - they have proved that their methods can work, so maybe try it and see?

    It's always easier to say "oh no, that won't work for me" , without even trying it. I know, because I was a cynical fatty for years before I actually got a grip with my eating habits ...and never looked back! So good luck, stay with us😊😊

  • I think generally everyone is sharing their views from their own personal perspective as to what has helped them. As Rose said, it's then up to you to pick and choose what advice you try for yourself! I have read things and known full well it wouldn't work for me - as a general rule though I think there's no harm in giving things a go where you can :)

    Obviously everyone has their restrictions whatever they may be but most advice can be adapted to suit your personal situation.

    Good luck!

  • AnnTandy i have never taken any of the wisdom shared as being the food/diet police. I really enjoy hearing all the advice/guidance/hints and tips and take from them the bits that resonate for me.

    I think you are quite correct in saying that it is different for everyone and I see the forum as a way of enlarging the sphere of consciousness around food/nutrition/lifestyle and diet in the sense of what we eat rather than losing weight.

    Really interesting post, thank you.

  • A very interesting post AnnTandy and not necessarily an easy one to answer.

    I belong to a number of Forums, apart from HealthUnlocked covering a variety of topics I am interested in, and they vary enormously, but all have an element, some way more than here, of people who have strong views on particular things, and speak their minds, sometimes without thinking or understanding the effect this can have on those looking for help.

    Personally, I try to avoid conflict, and dogmatism, and prefer to encourage and motivate - and even if someone told me they were about to have a lunch of fried chocolate bars with cream and chips, I would take a deep breath and try to work out a helpful way of suggesting alternatives, rather than verbally shouting at them. I also enjoy words, and that finds me, on occasions (probably this post being a case in point) really having to think about what to say, how to phrase it, I post it, I edit it .......... I read it again and think "whoops, that really comes over harsher than I realised when first posted it ......" Other people have different skills, and what they type the first time, is what is posted, and they may never re-read it and realise that it comes across quite bluntly or forcefully.

    I am personally (at the moment, but not always) tough enough to read and enjoy the posts which help me, where I know people have "been there, done that", accept that we are all fallible, and that life is for living, and pass over those which do not encourage me on my chosen path - I can guess the type of posts which you might have found more dogmatic - I probably do too. In my own way, I choose to read these and move on, because there are far, far more people on here who will come up with alternatives and suggestions for improving things, than those who say "you must not, should not, will not".

  • Well said, I was trying for this and posted before reading your post! :)

  • I'm glad you did post first Sazkia before reading mine. The comments you made below are extremely valid, and are very thoughtful. Different perceptions of this are useful.

  • Good morning MissisB. What a wonderful Sunday . You have a 3 stone badge. What a super achievement. I'm struggling to get below , I hate to say 30st. Who knows maybe next week 🐒 I'm doing well with Healthy choices, slightly slip up with the portion size amount etc. I have the scales but still to use them. I don't check our count the calories. I probably would need some help with this. I do like the group forum members. I have joined in with Healthy Tanja Health to Happiness project. I think I have went on enough now so happy Sunday. George 56 ☺

  • Good morning, AnnTandy :)

    I think I know where you're coming from and thank you for raising this issue. :) Your feelings on this matter are valid, even if every single member on this forum inform you that they don't see this or have experienced this. As you said, your examples in the original post are exaggerations but again, I think I understand you.:)

    I have felt this occasionally too but usually realise that some people may not be aware of how they come across or are so passionate about what they deem to be 'the only way' or 'the best way' that they don't mind coming across a bit pushy. I'm sure it's not done to deliberately cause anyone distress but I do understand that those kind of responses and/or posts can be off-putting and may not have the desired result the OP wanted to inspire. Again, you actually highlight this in your post when you state: "unintentional members of the food police" so I also understand you're not having a go at anyone and realise some people might not be aware. Heck, I could be one of those people and not realise it? If so then let me take this moment to apologise and I will work on making advice, encouragement etc more constructive and less personal. ;) :)

    In general though, I find most members to be exceptionally kind, very thoughtful, aware and considerate in their posts and responses. All I can advise is that if you come across the behaviour you have mentioned in your post again then to try and ignore it. We don't have to respond to everything or even take anything on board that anyone on here responds with. You get to choose what to take in and I know it might be frustrating at times but next time you think someone is unintentionally being a member of the food police just say to yourself that they are trying to be kind or they're passionate but you don't have to agree or even respond. We all have our own opinions and we could try to just let those responses and/or posts to simply pass on by and work on not allowing them to bother us because you're right, we all have our own methods and opinions and we're not always going to agree. And you know what? That's perfectly okay.

    I think each and everyone of us need to be mindful of what we say to each other and maybe take a step back and think that just because we're convinced our way is the right way it might not work for another person or if we can't consider that then perhaps try to understand that not everyone wants information told to them in a certain manner. This can be difficult, I know. It takes a lot of practice and we won't always get it right. This is an online forum and mistakes, misunderstandings and clashes will happen.

    With that in mind I will be determined to take everything you have pointed out on board, AnnTandy, and thank you for highlighting this. Have a great day and I hope I have not bored you to death with my long post!! :P

  • Not boring but may I say very interesting post. It's good to hear & read & learn from others. I have had nothing but politeness from the group forum members. The Administration are a life line. I thank for your support and information. A very nice essay.☺ George 56 ☺

  • I miss your voice on the forum and hope you are doing well, Sazkia ❤️

  • With every aspect of life that people are passionate about, there are people with ideas, suggestions and advice to share. Mostly its people taking time to share what has worked for them. Whether its right for you or not, is a decision for you to make, not anyone else.

    Once I made the mistake of announcing in a crowded allotment shop that I was having trouble with growing leeks. OMG it was like being run over by a bus - people with a lifetime of leek growing expertise couldn't wait to bestow their wisdom upon me. But, at the end of the day, it was just that - people enthusiastic about what they'd discovered worked for them and just wanted to share, and help me, with the best possible motives at heart.

    I tried out some of the suggestions that appealed to me, and now I have my own way of growing leeks (which I am happy to share with anyone who cares!).

    The point being, I don't really feel there is diet police, just a virtual room full of people who are committed to losing weight and trying out lots of different things to find what works for them. Some are relaxed, some need rules, but all of us are deeply involved or we wouldn't be here. Of course we all need to find our own methods, and not all advice will work for everyone. But I do think that mostly its offered with the best possible motives, for you to take or leave as you see fit.

    And following MissisB sensible advice - I have read this back and its very preachy and more about leeks than is sensible, but I'm going to post it anyway....

  • Yes please JiminyCricket i'd like to know how you grow your leeks. I love my allotments and I am always trying to improve my knowledge. Which, I guess, is a bit like everyone on here learning as much as they can about, food and nutrition from whichever angle they can.

    I have this lovely image of the entire allotment shop taking a communal breath in and then bombarding you with their life's work!

  • Yes that's quite an accurate picture!! It was just after I got my allotment, I was 30, and possibly the only person my age on the whole site! That was 15 years ago and its better now as suddenly its 'cool' to have an allotment and there's a lot more people my age!!!

    I dig a leek trench about 8-10" deep in the autumn and start filling it with weeds, shredded paper and manure. Its almost full now, and my leek seedlings are growing in a pot at home. In about a month I'll finish off the trench with compost or soil, to about 2" from the top. I plant the leeks as usual, then earth up like potatoes a couple of times (hence the 2"). This is generally quite successful, and certainly better than I was doing before the advice onslaught!! I do a similar thing for runner beans, but thats mostly so I dont have to water them.

    I love learning from other people experience - there is so much knowledge around.

    Do you have a speciality?

  • JiminyCricket thanks for that. I do that with runners but hadn't thought to transfer it to leeks.

    I love my asparagus bed. Only had allotment(s), it's four now such is the addiction, for five years but can remember saying to my first grandchild (babe in arms) that we would be having asparagus from it for his 21st birthday. I also love the alchemy of compost making and tend towards no dig and mulching/feeding with homemade compost.

    Allotments not in the best of states at the moment. Have let work take over-which is partly why I was so ill and now need to loose weight. Back at work soon and determined that there will be time for me, the allotments and proper cooking. One big health scare is enough.

    Lovely to have done allotment chat on here, thank you.

  • Oh I so love asparagus too!! I love that the uncooked spears taste just like peas, but the taste completely changes with just 2mins in a steamer. Amazing. Only a few weeks to go before the ones start poking though...!

    Good luck for the spring - hopefully all the weeding will show on the scales x

  • I have never read any advice on here which came over like that. Maybe I'm reading different posts. I have found everyone on here incredibly helpful and supportive. It's the reason I have stuck with NHS Weight Loss for so long. I hope you will not be put off by anything which you feel is too bossy and prescriptive. As someone else on here said, if people find something which works for them, they can be quite evangelistic about wanting to spread the word! Good luck on your weight loss journey.

  • I've only ever found love, support, passion and compassion on this forum. Plus humour and celebration.

    If you havnt found the same Ann then perhaps it's just not for you.

    I was given some advice 8 weeks ago on here, I could have easily been offended but chose to embrace it, it has changed my life. If only someone had said the same 20 years ago :)

    Wishing you well on your journey xx

  • thats wonderful x

  • I'm really pleased that so many of you have responded with views, thank you all so much for taking the time. Some interesting points raised and it's good to have the opinion of so many experienced posters. I should perhaps add that I hadn't intended to criticise - as people have so rightly said, some folks are really passionate about things and good on them for being so - and I've not experienced what I would consider negativity in my reading, only that some responses are more opinionated than others. Nothing wrong with the people who write those responses and I don't mean to suggest that there is, I merely wondered about people's reactions to them.

    My first post - at least it got people talking!

  • I thought it was a good post, actually. I certainly didn't feel you were critising anyone. Have a nice evening, AnnTandy and don't fret; we're quite a good bunch here. :)

    ♥ Sazkia ♥

  • Your post did not come across as critical at all AnnTandy . To me your post simply sought to find out what other people had to say on this subject, and the replies have been thought provoking to say the least.

    I have certainly been very interested on how people perceive this, and think it is something I can learn from - and intend to.

    Keep on posting - can't wait to see what you are going to have me thinking about in your second post. :)

  • In a word - NO. I'll be brief. In the UK we have a couple of tv and radio programs looking into this kind of thing. Inside health, inside sciene, both on radio4. Trust me I'm a doctor on tv, and more. OK they still make good journalism. BUT We've just been told to go from 5 a day in fruit and veg to 10 a day. This was apparently from a limited survey in Japan some decades ago where no firm diaries were taken.

    The 3 litres of water comes from a 1947 US study which added "but you will get most of this in your food anyway". So can I add a healthy pinch of salt to any of these so called recipes?

    1. what suits YOU is probably best

    2. deep down we all really know what a healthy balanced lifestyle is - note, I didn't say diet.

    3. There's a tendency to keep doing what we do because we don't know any better. Not necessarily because its right. Sadly the authorities can be as bad at this as the rest of us.

    4. there's no such thing as a superfood, but clearly again, some are better than others.

    I think if any 1 of these fancy statements would work for all of us and it was easy, we'd all be slim. Clearly we're not. Whatever strategy you look at, check who sponsors it and who stands to benefit.

    Good luck to all.

  • Hear hear fenbadger!

  • I agree with @anntandy. The advice is well meant, I'm sure, but can sometimes come across as a form of 'mansplaining'. And since our knowledge of all scientific areas is constantly changing, no mantra can be taken as gospel. Indeed, I do find that being given unsolicited advice tends to irritate me and I doubt that I'm alone in that.....

  • Hi AnnTandy thought provoking post. I've been on other forums in the past and what I like so much about this one is that in general people here are very friendly ,encouraging and supportive despite having a wide range of different ways of eating and approaches to weight loss. I think because the "you should, you must" posts are a relatively small proportion of what you see I can mainly filter them out without noticing them ( though I did have a little issue a few weeks ago with someone claiming to be an authority dictating factually incorrect , physiologically impossible, advice to another forum user - that's different to a passionate member of the general weight loss public! ) if someone is asking for advice and it's something I have some experience of I try to phrase it along the lines of " this is what works for me perhaps you'd like to try it?" - at least I hope that's how it comes across!

  • Wow, AnnTandy , lots of replies there!

    I presume you are here for the same reason as all of us, to obtain or maintain a healthy weight and be a bit fitter, so I hope you'll stick with your journey (with or without the "help" of this particular forum) We are a well meaning bunch who encourage and commiserate with each other as best as we can. Welcome aboard.

  • Love the discussion!

    I agree with some of the previous posts. Some people don't think and read back what they've written before they hit the "post" button. I'm guilty of that! However, I am sure all of their intentions are good ones!

    As I am on other discussion forums around weight loss and diet, I have become rather immune to those kind of posts! I have been losing weight for 5 years now, and during that time have worked out what works for me - and recognise that it may not work for others.

    I personally don't eat breakfast as I'd rather have a good lunch - plus I exercise for an hour each morning once I've got up and showered and don't feel hungry for an hour afterwards (by which time it is lunchtime!) As I am close to my goal weight now and a sedentary shortie... my calorie allowance is very low and I have to make them work in the best way for me!

    During my 5 years of weight loss, I have also had to chop and change what I am doing lots of times - doing the same old 24/7 can only work for so long before our clever bodies get to anticipate and adapt. Plus of course, changing how we undertake this journey keeps it interesting and that in turn keeps us on track.

    There are other posts here and on other forums that I find equally as frustrating, but I just scroll on by.... we are all at different places in our journey and some have yet to discover what works well for them, usually through trial and error.

    On the other hand, I have managed to find a few individuals on forums who live both here and in other countries who have become firm "virtual" support buddies. I know if I met them in real life, we'd probably get on like a house on fire!

  • Nice one ☺ George 56 🤗 Hi ! It's a nice day. ⛅ sun's out. Cool kind. Have a nice Sunday. ☺

  • This really made me smile. I'm not great at taking advice and I do think everyone needs to find their own answers, or find a way to accept themselves. Sometimes things are simple and so easy to fix, sometimes they are very complicated and need a different approach. My Grandmother used to say 'It's a fool who gives advice, and a bigger fool who takes it'.

  • Hi I understand what you mean about the food police but i keep the ones that work for me and ditch the rest there are daily instructions on what we should be eating and drinking in the media and on instagram etc but like i said in prior messages to eat healthily and achieve your goals is a very personal journey i have found this site inspiring as the people on this forum do not benefit from any financial or pr gain and genuinely

    share their experiences. Enjoy your journey and enjoy the good and learn from the not so good

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