Diets don’t work? Oh yes they do!
If diets don’t work how did I lose over four stone?
I started this Substack because a number of people asked me how I lost all the weight - over four stone in 18 months. The average diet isn’t sustainable based as it usually is on a temporary eating pattern that you come off the minute you’ve lost the weight. No one wants to be on a permanent diet so what’s the solution?
This is what worked and continues to work for me. As ever your mileage may vary but I’ve fought weight gain my entire adult life so I’m an expert on me at the very least! And since the personal is often universal I’ve used this Substack and my Twitter account (@MissLauraMarcus) to pass on tips which may help others likewise struggling.
Lifetime juggling act
I think if you have an issue with your weight, by which I mean you’d like to lose it and keep it off, then you must first accept it’s a lifetime juggling act. Balancing a love of food between a love of being fit and healthy. I emphasis health deliberately. While vanity plays its part I truly believe it’s only when you do it for compelling health reasons that you’re most likely to succeed.
For me it was fear of catching Covid while very overweight that acted as my motivator. But I also have Diabetes Type 2 in my family, on both sides. It can be hereditary and over eating and under exercising add to the likelihood of developing it. So while you can’t do anything about your family’s health history if you keep your weight down and do at least some regular exercise that’s a huge step towards prevention or delaying onset. And if you do develop Diabetes Type 2 it can help you manage it.
No one likes being told they’re fat!
For some people a doctor or other health professional telling them they need to lose weight - or a family member or friend - can have the opposite result. No one likes being told they’re fat! If you’re carrying more weight than is healthy chances are you’re very well aware of it and don’t need to be reminded. Your desire to lose weight, if you do desire it, has to come from you. No one can give you motivation. Your closest friends and loved ones may desperately want it for you because they love you and they know being overweight is a huge health risk and can even be life limiting. But they can’t give you the energy, focus and sheer determination to lose weight. That has to come from you.
People think all it takes is willpower to lose weight. I disagree profoundly. I think you have to be in a good place to start on a diet you intend to see through. You have to feel good about yourself. You have to feel you deserve to succeed. You deserve to do something that’s just for you. Yes your family, friends and colleagues will also benefit from having you around for longer and having a healthier you. But it has to come from you.
Harder than giving up smoking, alcohol or drugs
Though it’s similar to giving up smoking or for an alcoholic or drug addict facing that they want to give up, losing weight is hardest of all because we cannot give up eating. But we can commit to eating healthier and taking better care of ourselves.
You may need to lose weight but it’s only when you really want to that you’re most likely to succeed. So start with where you are now and how you feel before you even look at a diet sheet. Do whatever it takes for you to feel better about yourself. Self care is the first step to losing that first pound/kilo. If you’re feeling low or experiencing depression you will probably find it much harder to lose weight. And in fact it could exacerbate low feelings. So treat that first, if you can.
Birthday gain and loss
I gained four pounds over my birthday weekend and it took me nine days - NINE! - to get them all off again. It goes on so easily but took me more than four times as long to get it off. It may be easier not to gain in the first place but who wants to live like that? Feasting occasionally is good for us, especially if we’re celebrating something. It’s going back on the diet that’s tough. If you gain over the coming Easter holiday give yourself time to get it back off. It won’t come off as easily as it goes on. You have to accept that. But it will come off again. Give it time, enjoy your Easter feasting, and don’t give up! Keep going. Think of the long term not the short.