Are weight loss diets ever really successful?

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Having battled my weight for over twenty years, I’m finally hoping I may have conquered it once and for all.That said even if I remain at my current weight for the next twenty years, I’m not sure I will ever stop fighting my inner fat girl. I’m an addict in plain terms and an addiction to food is not an easy one to admit too. People often assume that an overeater is simply greedy and are unaware of the often complex emotional issues involved. Don’t get me wrong, for me, there is definitely greed involved as well. I LOVE MY FOOD! That said, I admit that I often use it as an emotional crutch as well. If I’m feeling sad or depressed I comfort eat and conversely even if I’m as happy as Larry. (Larry most definitely did not have weight issues, or he wouldn’t so happy all of the time!) I will celebrate with a nice big cream cake. So I’m well aware that my weight struggles are probably a lifelong battle.

Fortunately things have got a little easier after losing over four stone in weight. Life still has it’s many and varied ups and downs, but on the whole I do feel a lot better about myself. I am no longer depressed about the way I look and it really does make me happy to fit into size 14 clothes. That may make me seem a little shallow, but it’s something I have strived to achieve for a very long time and I want to enjoy my small victory. I really do hope that this time, I will manage to keep the weight off.

I’m hoping one of the main reasons, will be because I have done everything a little bit differently this time around. I’m a bit of a diet veteran, you name it and I have probably tried it. From Atkins to Weight Watchers, the Rotation diet to Slim Fast shakes and everything in between. I’ve even tried prescription pills, those marvellous little pills also known as Orlistat. Actually I’m being highly sarcastic when I use the word marvellous, because despite two months of regular pill taking and strict adherence to a low fat diet, guess how much weight I lost? Well it certainly wasn’t the promised 1-2lbs a week, nope it was zero! All that effort and dicing with the most unpleasant side effects, I’ll let you Google those …. Suffice to say I would NOT recommend those pills to anyone.

 

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I’ve even invented my own diets, perhaps the least successful being the Mint Diet. I was probably around 17 and finding it hard to give up on sweet treats. So in my infinite wisdom I thought, why give them up at all? Why not just give up every other food group instead?! So I did, I carefully measured out 800 calories worth of Murray Mints and 400 calories of Imperial mints. Divided all of the mints into three ‘meals’ and that’s all I ate(!) You probably won’t be surprised to learn that after 36 hours and with a huge headache, I ran screaming to the nearest McDonalds. Not my finest dieting moment. It did however, teach me something, although it took over  twenty years for me to figure it out.

I had it a little bit right with the sweets, because every time I have denied myself something, I would fall off of the dieting wagon and right back into overeating again. So it was time to try a diet that didn’t exclude any of the major food groups, but did include a small amount of whatever I was craving. For a long time it was Magnum ice creams, the basic ones are around 270 cals each. So I ate one every single day on my diet, until I got fed up and switched to a small piece of chocolate fudge cake. I also LOVE Kettle Chips or Tyrrells crisps, so I would eat a quarter bag of the sharing bag size every day. Not very healthy but then weighing 15.7 stone was even less healthy.

So I stuck to 1500 cals every day and included treats. I also took into account my inner greedy girl and ate little and often. That way I never went too long without eating and for a little piggy that’s always a good thing! I learnt from the Orlistat pills that I needed to shock my body into losing weight. It’s a sad fact that your body actually battles to keep you at a certain weight. Great if you weigh 10st not so great when you weigh a lot more! So I decided to exercise. It probably won’t come as a surprise for you to learn that I previously viewed exercise as diets’ evil twin brother. That said it was marginally less evil, I knew I would rather exercise than give up my Magnum every day. So I went to the gym five days a week for an hour of really intense cardio exercise. I researched everything I could, about the best way to lose weight through exercise. I wouldn’t allow myself to miss out a certain machine, even if I hated it – yes I’m talking about you Mr Treadmill. In short I worked my rather large butt off.

I wouldn’t leave the gym unless I was tomato red in the face (sometimes even a fetching shade of purple) and sweating profusely. I was too shy to attend gym classes, I didn’t want to be the big girl who couldn’t keep up with anyone. Until one day a lovely fitness trainer told me to stop being so silly and attend a half hour spin class. The studio was dark and I could hide away in the corner and because after three months I had lost a stone and a half I finally felt confident enough to give it a go …..

This isn’t the end of my weight loss story, but I’m approaching 1000 words and don’t want to bore anyone too much. So I will post again in the not too distant future. I’m not vain enough to think that my story is particularly unusual or exciting enough to be of interest to many people, but I hope someone might find it a help. I also took great inspiration from other dieters, whilst on my diet and hopefully someone might find this useful. If there is one thing I regret about this diet, it’s that I didn’t do it a long time ago.

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