Where to start, really. I’m no expert on dieting – I mean, I know the theory of keeping healthy – plenty of exercise, don’t eat too much, cut down on refined sugar and processed foods, not too many carbs, 5-a-day fruit and veg, lots and lots of glasses of water, blah blah blah blah blah…
Who wants to do all of that? Personally, there’s nothing I love more than enjoying a carb-laden meal, followed by a deliciously sweet dessert, with a friend (and possibly a cocktail). So for me, this kind of healthy lifestyle makes me miserable. Sure, I get a kick out of it for a couple of weeks, being all smug because I’m the healthiest person in the world, but then I start to miss being able to eat what I want, when I want. And I get so miserable and grumpy to everyone I meet. And I inevitably end up back at square one.
In the last 5 years, I’ve come to accept that genetics and my lifestyle mean that I will never again be able to eat what I want and not gain weight. Sure, if I spent every hour in the gym… but then I’d miss out on seeing my fiancé, my friends, my family… and my work would undoubtedly suffer too. So that’s not an option. Damn metabolism.
So what’s the solution? Well, in the last 2 years, I’ve lost 2 stone, slowly but surely and with more than a few bumps in the road! My weight is still a little more than I’d like it to be, but there’s not much more that I can do, and I’m still average-sized (size 10 UK, 5’5” if you were wondering!). Here are my top tips.
1. Don’t beat yourself up if you have a bad day, or if you can’t make the gym. But equally, don’t talk yourself out of being good either. Honestly, are you really too tired? Sure, it sucks kicking yourself out of bed early at the weekend, but nothing tastes as good as a meal that has been earnt 🙂
2. Give yourself a treat. Some people have a treat day, some people have one treat per day… I like to have weekends off. It motivates me to be better during the week knowing that if I want to eat junk food at the weekend then I need to be extra good during the week!
3. Planning, planning, planning… I find that if I haven’t packed myself a lunch then I will always go for the most unhealthy thing in the canteen and use the excuse that I’m hungry and didn’t have a choice. If I plan my meals (and snacks!) carefully the night before then, ugh, effort before bed, but it means the next day is going to be good!
4. Snacks. Reasonably healthy ones. If I think I can manage from breakfast til lunch (I get teacher times for my lunch remember, so breakfast comes at 7am, lunch at 1:30pm…) then I will ultimately end up loading on biscuits in the staffroom and croissants from the canteen. Because ‘I was starving!’ Prepare those snacks and make sure they are within reach!
5. Last, but definitely not least, do not expect people to support you. Your friends and family might, but others (especially those who are a little insecure about their own weight maybe!) will offer you cakes and biscuits, and try to talk you into having another glass of wine, because ‘oh go on, stop being so miserable, it’s only one! It won’t hurt!’ Be strong, smile and say no thank you. You’ll feel better when you step onto the scales.
So, happy dieting and remember: nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.*
* DISCLAIMER This is absolute rubbish. If you believe this, you clearly have never tasted Frankie and Benny’s garlic dough balls. Or Ben and Jerry’s cookie-dough ice cream. Or halloumi cheese. Or Reese’s pieces. You know what, I’m going to bed. Hopefully when I wake up, it will be the weekend.