Over the years, I tried diets. Lots and lots of diets.
Well, I pretended too at least. For many years I was partial to a dramatic announcement that I was, sound all of the klaxons, ‘GOING TO LOSE SOME WEIGHT’.
I joined Weight Watchers once. I went to my first meeting held in a local school hall near where I worked. Paid the money, had my initial weigh-in, got the books and the points calculator and listened to the motivational speech. I joined in with applauding those who had lost weight since the previous meeting. It all sounded excellent. I’m not sure I was entirely committed to the process though. One of the colleagues that I went with is fond of reminding me that on the way out of the meeting I telephoned my husband and told him to put a steak pie in the oven. I hadn’t even made it out of the building before I was cheating on myself. I preserved with the points system for a while, but it didn’t work for me. The problem was that the book gave you the points value of all the really bad food too. So I very quickly figured out the points value of everything from a Mars Bar to a McChicken sandwich. I’d usually have eaten my entire permitted points amount (mostly in chocolate) by say, 11am. It was my only trip to the school hall.
Then there was the juice detox diet. This was sure to work. After all, didn’t all the celebrities do it? So I ordered from a juicing website three days’ worth of juices, to be delivered frozen. I figured that even I could stick to three days of just drinking juice. They arrived. Juices made with broccoli and spinach. Others based on carrot or beetroot. And every, single one tasting like the devil himself had invented a drink for the sole purposes of torturing the souls of the unworthy. Imagine drinking thick, gloopy, cold carrots. I drank each one with a receptacle on hand to throw up in, so sure was I that my stomach would never tolerate such foulness. By day two, the vegetables were fermenting in my stomach. Certain lower bodily emissions were a regular occurrence. I looked like I had a beach ball up my shirt so swollen was my belly. On day three I decided I would rather be fat forever than drink one more bottle of frozen green sludge. The rest of the bottles went in the bin. Which is where I might as well have put my £120.
Then there was the 5:2 diet. With the enticing promise that if you could just restrain your piggy little self for a 24 hours period twice a week, you could eat what you liked the rest of the time. The unintended consequences of this diet were a vile headache and even more vile temper. The day following a fast I felt sick and faint all day. I’d lose a pound of so, but then put it straight back on once I returned to more typical eating. I tried for a week or two but I gave it up before all my friends gave up on me for being so unpleasant to be around.
I also tried drinks that were intended to fill you up, to help you eat less. They came in sachet form and cost me the best part of another £25. You mixed the powder with water and then drank it – three times a day. In terms of taste, I would rather clean my toilet bowl with my tongue. One day I made a sachet at work, and before I had chance to drink it headed off to a meeting, leaving it on my desk to ferment. An hour later I came back to find it had expanded right out the plastic cup, and was now a fluorescent pink thick goo that looked something like ectoplasm. If you ever watched Ghostbusters you will know exactly what I mean.
These weren’t the only diets and quick fix solutions I have tried over the years. I know that some of these diets have worked very well for people, and they have found them of much greater benefit than I did. But here’s the thing. Every single time I had tried one of these diets, I hadn’t changed my underlying beliefs or behaviours. I wasn’t committed to making lasting change. With the WeightWatchers attempt the hoped for behavioural change didn’t even last as far as the car park. If you change how you think about food and exercise, then you can lose weight and achieve your dreams. If not, you will just be going through the motions. I can remember talking about going on a diet, and following it up with an additional comment along the lines of ‘only it never works and I never stick to it’.
So I got exactly what I subconsciously expected.
Change you thinking, change the size of your trousers.