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Tara Gidus --registered dietician and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association

thinks that you all are wasting your time and not really doing anything. Is she right- maybe you can post your response to her quote as well as your experience on PT.

"Tara Gidus, a registered dietician and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, notes that while chatting and making friends online can help users form support groups, it also can be a time waster. "I think more people talk about diet and exercise than they actually do it," she says."

(this was from the wall street journal article that covered peertrainer.)

Wed. Oct 10, 10:51am

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I think PT has been both of these things for me. I have lost 20 lbs in 4 months and met wonderful people. However, there are times when I say to myself: "man! this logging and commenting/reading comments is eating up my time". I'm not complaining, (and certainly don't think the 20 lb loss indicates that "I've wasted my time) just saying that for me, it has been both, so I see where this gal is coming from. You gotta take the good with the bad and for me it was worth it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007, 11:05 AM

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I think I save a lot of time by being more active. Working out and eating right makes me more productive and efficient so the time I spend on PT is nothing compared to sleeping extra hours because I'm exhausted or watching TV out of boredom (what I used to do).

I understand what she is saying and sure, threads like "What's your hairdo down there?" have nothing to with me reaching my goal. So I choose to avoid them and read the ones that really matter. Thanks PT for helping us achieve our goals!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007, 11:19 AM

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We often don't see the world as it is, we see the world as we are. We also don't attack something unless we're protecting our livelihood. Maybe that's what she's doing. Maybe that's her experience from people she's spoken to. Who knows? I know that before peer trainer all I did was talk, frankly to nutritionists that never helped me. I don't know why but here I am and I work out more than I ever have in my entire life. I've also lost over 21 pounds. I would say that it has not been a time waster for me.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007, 11:32 AM

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I think she means participation in unstructured community formats like this one, not the groups. If she actually dug into the groups and logs and understood what PT is, I don't think she'd say that logging is a waste of time or that group support is a waste of time.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007, 11:36 AM

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I agree with the 11:32 PM poster, it does sound like Tara is both a bit threatened and a bit uninformed. This is the organization she represents, of course she is going to say this. She is not going to say "yeah, just log your food and get help from people online, because the truth is you really already know what to do"

American Dietetic Association

"With more than 67,000 members, the American Dietetic Association is the nation's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. ADA serves the public by promoting optimal nutrition, health and well-being. ADA members are the nation's food and nutrition experts, translating the science of nutrition into practical solutions for healthy living."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007, 11:44 AM

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It seems to me that she would rather people see her. For a fee of course. My experience was that from other PT memebers I got so much valuable advice and information for free, I lost 30 lbs.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007, 11:57 AM

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Well, the actual sentence, ""I think more people talk about diet and exercise than they actually do it," isn't really that offensive. At least from this I don't believe she's implying we're "wasting our time" rather that some people aren't making the most of a resource and what it's intended for.

I for one have benefitted hugely for my online support (I'm also on SparkPeople) and know that the added accountability has gotten my behind off the couch some days I wouldn't have under my own steam. Sadly I think she has a point. Many people use this (and other sites) as a virtual quilting bee to gossip, moan about lack of weightloss, make their home pages pretty (wasted plenty of time on that myself!) and make friends. None of these are "bad things" but don't necessarily help achieve the stated goal of improved health. In short, I don't have a problem with what she said, I'm just going to make sure it doesn't hold true for me.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007, 11:59 AM

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I actually read the whole article in the wsj, and it is clear that the "experts" feel the need to protect their franchise. This happens all the time now. Simple question- if the experts were so effective, why are obesity levels at all time highs?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007, 12:11 PM

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For me, what she says is untrue. Especially when I was getting started, I was in a group across time zones, so that the other 3 exercised earlier in the day than I did. I didn't always feel like exercising, but when I saw that everyone else had done it, I could get my butt into gear.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007, 12:39 PM

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Well of course more people talk about losing weight than are putting in a real effort - online or in the real world. As someone who has lost over 60 lbs, I do find those who clearly have no intention of "walking the walk" annoying and discouraging because it's too easy to go back to being one of them.

Think about the people in your groups. How many are actually losing? Of the 12 people I engage with, maybe 3 are putting in any real effort. My experience in the past year (I've been using PT longer than that) is that, for most people, it's a better tool for maintaining than losing. I don't see that as a bad thing though.

And come on, anyone timewasting on PT would just be timewasting elsewhere on the internet anyway, so that point is hardly relevant. The point the RD should be making is that journaling your food is the #1 habit of successful dieters, and if having an online forum makes you more likely to do it, then more power to us!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007, 12:50 PM

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in my experience PT is a weight loss tool for new users, but a weight maintenance tool and social forum for long term (more than a year) members. I lost 25 pounds over 6 months, and right now I am focusing on equally difficult areas for my overall health.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007, 1:02 PM

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I spend (waste?) SO much time on PT! If I spent half the time exercising that I do on here - I'd be ready for Ironman! That said, my group is fabulous and helped me get down to my goal weight :) And, I think, given the number of overweight people in the country and the brisk sales of weight loss books and tools - there's probably a lot more talk than action.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007, 1:07 PM

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I agree that we need to walk the walk not just talk the talk, but when I first started PT I was so depressed, discouraged and unmotivated by the latest diet failure of losing 30 lbs only to gain 40 that I was looking for a miricle. I did not find a miricle, but did find the encouragement to dust myself off and keep trying to make myself healthier. Now I am actually losing weight slowly but surely. To me that is a huge benifit.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007, 1:16 PM

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I think going to a nutritionist is the real waste of time. What on earth would they tell any of us that we don't already know? The reason I am overweight is not because I lack knowledge, it is because I lack will power and I medicate myself with food.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007, 1:41 PM

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I have lost over 100 pounds while on peertrainer.
I feel that you will get out of it as much as you put into it. Just as with exercise or any other endevor.
Sometimes the community helps. There have been great discussions.
There have been many times I wanted to eat something more and knowing I had to log it I wouldn't eat it. Peer pressure. Don't get me wrong my groups are wonderful and only encouraging.
I had a dietician once and all she told me was what a portion was and not to eat unless I was sitting at the kithchen table. I could eat anything but had to sit at the table.
Didn't work.
I am so thankful for peertrainer.

Thursday, October 11, 2007, 2:27 AM

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I second the notion that going to a nutritionist is a waste of time, they're not even a doctor.

Friday, October 12, 2007, 10:48 AM

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Nutritionists are not regulated - anyone can call themselves that.
Registered Dieticians meet national standards and have at least a bachelor's degree in a relevant subject.

When do you need an RD? When you're diagnosed with diabetes, heart disease, immunodeficiencies, colitis, HIV, etc. - in other words, health problems that can be minimized through diet. Do you need one for weight loss? Yes, if....

- you're clueless about nutrition and where to start (tons of people like that right here in our happy little forum, and millions more out there who think that they'll lose weight by eating Starbursts because they're fat-free).
- you need someone to review all of the details what and why you ate, kind of like a combination personal food trainer and shrink.
- you can't figure out why you're not losing, because they know all about the odd little signs of real medical problems like PCOS, intestinal worms, food allergies, etc that doctors overlook, and they will tell you what tests to ask your doctor for.

Not an RD or Nutritionist

Friday, October 12, 2007, 11:50 AM

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Like a treadmill...

In my case, Tara's comment is incorrect. I definitely spend more time exercising than I spend on PT. And I would not consider my time spent here as wasted time. With few exceptions, I'm on here commenting and reading comments because I want to keep my thoughts focused on diet and exercise. But she did not comment on what I think is the best part of PT -- that you report your food consumption and exercise for other people to see. Especially in the early weeks, each time I considered what to eat, in the back of my mind I remembered that everyone in my groups would see it. And every morning, as I logged my breakfast, I faced that "work out" section and consequently stopped and planned what my exercise would be that day. Plus I got all kinds of great ideas and inspiration when reading other peoples logs. Never before in my life have I been at this weight/fitness level, and I got here amazingly quickly.

But I'm sad to say, I have been in groups where people seem to be making very little effort. Week after week there is junk food in their logs and only a smattering of workouts. Worse yet, I have seen people in teams who are listed as having posted within the last hour, but when I check their logs (innocently wanting to read them and cheer them on), I see that not only have they neglected to log today but for many days.

So, in conclusion, it's like saying a treadmill is a waste of time in helping you get in shape. Sure, if it's collecting dust in your basement, but it's fantastic if you are using it.

Friday, October 12, 2007, 1:53 PM

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I read the article. Sounds like she's worried - or the association - is worried that the money that goes to them to give people advice might dry up if people continue to get help and advice through sites like this, and end up succeeding. People won't need people like her anymore. What she should have done, assuming I'm correct, is try to partner with the sites mentioned but yeah, I'm thinking money is at stake here. It usually is. People can use other people as a support system and be successful. It's been happening since the beginning of time.

Friday, October 12, 2007, 2:03 PM

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I think she completely understands that sites like peertrainer work. There are articles after articles in magazines, newspapers, tv shows etc with examples of people doing really well. That some men at the wall street journal are just figuring this out is the real story.

Friday, October 12, 2007, 2:07 PM

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Eat shit Tara. PT has helped me lose a lot of weight and keep it off. No it didn't motivate me to do it to begin with-I had to find that motivation myself (personal responsibility!) but once I was here it made a big difference in my struggle. Don't knock it till you try it sweetheart. You don't know that it is wasting time or not unless you try it. If you fail, you can label it as "wasting time", if you don't, you are a "weight loss success story". It's all personal, and some tools will work for some of us and some others won't and vice versa.

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