People have said to me it’s all very well I’m suggesting they stop dieting but how does that help them lose weight? I mean, with dieting and especially if you’re following a particular diet programme or club, there is a clear path that includes what you can and can’t eat, what is forbidden and what is restricted (treats). Then there’s the daily/weekly weigh-in that is used to track progress. The scales cannot be argued with, they display a number which will, in no uncertain terms tell you whether you are closer or further away from your weight loss goal. These two actions coupled together make it so much easier for people to know what they are supposed to do and whether it is working in order to shed unwanted weight.
I totally get that, I really do and it’s no secret that if you do as they say, you will reach your goal. There is a BIG problem with these diets though- It is almost impossible to keep them up. Some people only last a few days but others last longer and do manage to lose weight. A study mentioned in a BBC article on 8th August 2013 found that, of the people that lost weight when following a defined plan, only 20% kept it off for at least two years and of these only 16% maintained their weight loss after 5 years!!!
So let’s get to what are the outcomes when you embark on a diet, either with a plan or not, in order of importance:
- Follow it strictly and lose weight for good – A very small percentage of people achieve this.
- Follow it for a couple of days/weeks/months, lose weight then give up and regain the weight – This is more likely to happen then point 1.
- Follow it for a couple of days/weeks/months then give up and start again, then give up and start again – Remain in a constant state of yo-yo dieting – The sad truth is that this is the most likely outcome!!
- Follow for a couple of days/weeks/months and then give up completely without having lost weight at all – This is more likely to happen then point 1.
With the statistics quoted above, I think the only winners here are the slimming clubs!! I have noticed a very scary trend lately where they are suggesting you remain members not only while you are on their plan but for life because otherwise you will put the weight back on!! This is clearly to frighten their members into retaining paid up membership or else risk the chance of gaining weight. You only have to google such clubs to find out the astonishing cost of fees, specially prepared ‘diet’ meals, membership, magazines etc, etc!
Now, back to the question asked by my readers ‘what actually led me to losing weight and for good?’. Firstly, I am in no way judging anyone who is on one of these plans and I truly wish you the best of luck. What I know for certain, is that for me, they do not work and I recommend you look up the statistics for yourself to see how much they work for others. If you are new to my blogs, let me quickly summarise what the Anti-Diet Lifestyle – 4 Crazy Steps to Weight Loss Success’ is all about. After years of being in a constant and unrelenting cycle of bingeing and starving myself and having tried numerous diets in a really desperate bid to lose weight, I stumbled across a formula that worked for me.
Crazy Step 1 – Stop Weighing Yourself
Crazy Step 2 – Stop Dieting
Crazy Step 3 – Break Up with Food
Crazy Step 4 – Let Go Of …… Anything negative about yourself
I have identified two main factors that led to actual weight loss:
- I ate less without realising it. – Because I didn’t have a set calorie or unit/points limit, because I knew I wasn’t on a diet and because I didn’t feel like I was breaking my diet I learned to relax around food. The old me, once I’d eaten something forbidden, or exceeded my daily calorie allowance would go on a ‘what the hell, I might as well make the most of it’ binge! My view was, if my diet was already broken, I might as well eat anything and everything that I craved or fancied at the time. I’ve even been known to go to the late-night shop and purchase chocolate bars, crisps, pies and of course the diet cola to wash it all down with. To top that, I carried on eating even if I was full, even if I had to undo the zip on my jeans and even if I had to change into loose fitting tracksuit bottoms!!
When I stopped dieting, I realised:
- I no longer needed to treat myself to anything! This took the pressure off massively from me wanting all the things that were forbidden. I found because I was allowed to have them, I craved them less and less as time went on.
- I learned to enjoy my food, to taste it, to smell it. I ate more slowly because I wasn’t in a hurry to stuff it down in case it would be snatched away. This process helped me discover what feeling full and satisfied felt like, something I hadn’t experienced since my teenage years. When I was full, I could stop eating and not feel like I was missing out!#
- I no longer felt desperate around food and this stopped the constant ‘foodie’ thoughts that used to rage inside my mind, leaving me unable to focus on anything else but my next meal.
- I no longer had to binge eat like time was running about before I’d be on a diet again. This allowed me to enjoy food, even what is classed as ‘treats’ without fear that I’d never be able to eat them again!
Because I wasn’t weighing myself all the time (at my worst I used to weigh myself about three or four times a day!), I didn’t throw in the towel each time:
- I’d starved myself all week and found I’d not lost any weight
- I was excited because I felt I’d lost weight but when I weighed myself, I found out I’d gained weight
- I’d tried my very best all week, sticking to my calorie allowance and found that I’d actually gained weight
Ignorance certainly is bliss because not weighing myself freed me from constant judgement and constant fear of weight gain. I no longer gaged a good or bad day by the number displayed on the scales. My self-esteem remained intact as a result and I learned to focus my attention on other areas of my life.
2. I ate better without realising it. – As I began to master the art of not dieting and not weighing myself, I was then able to focus more on what I was eating. I began to research nutrition and healthy eating, I actually enjoyed discovering new foods. An easy fix for me was to begin by adding vitamins to my diet (what I ate and not to be confused with dieting!). This quest led me to:
- Try lots of new fruits and find the ones I really, truly loved.
- I naturally, and without feeling I was losing something, began to gravitate towards foods that were not only good for me but that led to weight loss!
- I began to love the extra energy and zest I now found I had. There was a spring in my step that I hadn’t experienced in years!
- Researching and adding great herbs and spices to foods I already loved, instantly making it a win-win because I loved the food and the herbs and spices made them healthier!
Throughout my transition phase, I focused heavily on self-care and self-love. With this new-found lens that I used to view my life, I automatically and happily made choices that resulted in positive outcomes for me! I read any inspirational blog, book, quote, article that I could lay my hands on. I surrounded myself with positive statements, I journaled about things I loved about myself, I stopped reading dieting stories and articles and I stopped focusing on weight loss. The result? I lost weight and years later, I have retained that weight loss!!
I sincerely wish the same for you and wish you the best of luck in your own journey. May you find your way there too!
If you are serious about losing weight but fed up of dieting, please like and follow my blog for great advice and tips to help you finally lose weight for good!
You can also read my book, The Anti-Diet Lifestyle – 4 Crazy Steps to Weight-Loss Success! This book contains all my weight loss secrets in an easy to follow formula. It’s available on Amazon in paperback and E-Book. I am serious about helping you achieve your weight loss goals!!
Written by Sherry Taylor
Author of The Anti-Diet Lifestyle