Just is a word that gets slung around by everyone from doctors who fail at practicing evidence-based medicine to the self-styled, self-declared (or is it self-deluded) internet health gurus in the comment sections who try to tell everyone how to live:
- Just eat less and exercise more and you’ll get thin
- Just send your kids out to play and they’ll be thin
- Just lose [random number of pounds] and your [whatever health problem] will be solved
First of all, this is all about making assumptions. I can’t even count how many times I’ve been told to “eat less and exercise more” by someone who has literally no idea what I eat or how much I exercise. It’s also condescending and insulting to be told to do these things after a lifetime of doing them and still being fat.
There’s also the problem that “just” connotes something that is both simple and guaranteed. But when it comes to the human body there is no such thing as simple and guaranteed. There is so much that we don’t know and so much conflicting research. When people say “you just have to eat less and exercise more” it’s because they erroneously believe that weight loss is simple. The fact that almost nobody maintains long-term weight loss should very obviously call this into question. Often it’s said by people who want to feel superior, or who haven’t done their research, or who haven’t thought things all the way through. For example the idea that we can “just send our kids outside to play and they’ll be thin” ignores the fact that many children can’t do that safely and the fact that there is no guarantee that the activity will lead to weight loss. Saying “just eat less and exercise more” ignores the millions of people who have tried this advice and had short term weight loss and long term weight gain.
Whenever anyone says “Just…” and then tells you how they think that you should live, I would certainly suggest that you consider the source.
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