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Dieting didn’t work for me

I worked out that over the years I have tried and failed, and tried again, over 34 diets to lose weight, and those are the ones that I can remember. There is a lot of hype around at the moment, that diets don’t work, and for me they really didn’t.

I want to tell you my own weight story, how I lost 5 ½ stone, but more importantly, how I have kept that weight off. This wasn’t achieved by restricting what I ate, by cutting out food groups, or by counting calories. Instead, it was about how I ate and learning why I binged in the first place.

I was aware of my body from a very young age. I was really teased for being skinny. I would get so upset, I would cover myself up with clothes and I was always eating. I don’t remember an interim phase where I felt my body was acceptable.

When I started developing, I went from skinny to fat overnight. Again, this brought unwarranted attention to my body. I was teased for having big boobs, told off for eating desserts, shouted at for eating a chip. I was really unhappy and secret eating became my comfort. I would be in the kitchen eating packets of biscuits, toast, cereal, mint chocolate ice-cream… I would hide the empty packets so no one would know.

And then of course the dieting took over.

I think my first diet was eating 1000 calories per day (not enough). I used to write everything that I had eaten in a book, and add the calories up after every meal. I became obsessed and all I could think of was what I was going to eat next. I did lose weight and I felt amazing. For once I didn’t get negative comments about my body, I was being told how great I looked. But then, I couldn’t maintain it and once I started breaking my diet, I was back to secret bingeing.

I was so ashamed of myself – what was wrong with me? Of course I put the weight back on, plus extra pounds. So I went on my next diet – low fat, taking laxatives, one meal a day… I even went to Harley Street for injections and pills, I was so desperate to lose weight. But the story was always the same – weight loss- feel amazing – can’t maintain it – binge – put on more weight than I lost – more ashamed and hating myself more.

I couldn’t live this way anymore.

The first thing I did was actually stop dieting. I would make myself delicious meals. I loved potatoes, rice, bread… and because I could eat them when I wanted, I didn’t feel the need to binge on them. It was the same for biscuits and ice-cream, if I wanted one, I’d have one. It stopped being a big deal. I started to lose weight. But for a long time, I still had times when I struggled with bingeing.

Working on myself, I discovered that bingeing was my coping strategy.

For example, when I felt insecure, or when I felt stressed, it comforted me at that moment, but afterwards I felt guilty and ashamed. I have been identifying and breaking down all those areas that have kept me stuck in that bingeing behaviour. I still get stressed, I still feel insecure sometimes, but I don’t need to binge to help me through those times. I focus on other coping strategies. And if I do occasionally binge on Dairy Milk (my favourite), it’s ok. It doesn’t change how I eat at my next meal.

I now have so much freedom around food. I don’t spend time worrying about what I’ve eaten, whether I’ll be able to eat, and the effect that food is going to have on my body. If you would like to discuss your weight story with me, please get in touch here.

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