ARE YOU A HOPELESS DIETER?
Laura is 26 years old, 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 220 pounds. She has a minimum wage job in a local store, no car, no boyfriends and lives with her mother in a small apartment. She’s a nice girl with a lovely personality and lots to give, but all this is trapped inside a huge body which fills her with disgust. Result? She feels completely worthless. Has she tried dieting? Yes, loads of times. In fact, she’s tried almost every diet on the market. But she never succeeds. Why not? Because Laura doesn’t know how to diet properly and keeps making the same old mistakes. Take a look at her last attempt at dieting and you’ll see what I mean.
LAURA’S LAST ATTEMPT AT DIETING
She was desperate. The day before, a guy at work had suggested she get a job at the zoo – as an elephant! People had laughed. Laura had laughed too, at the time. Then she went home and ate a jumbo pizza and six candy bars. She woke up feeling bloated and uncomfortable and depressed and decided that today was the day. She would start a new diet and THIS TIME she would stick to it. THIS TIME she would be perfect!
She dug out a diet book she had bought six months previously. It said she could lose 2 pounds a week. But this wasn’t fast enough for Laura. So she reduced her food allowance by half, wrote out a brief shopping list and left for work. She didn’t have any time for breakfast, but she didn’t mind. She had more important things on her mind. Today was the beginning of a new, perfect diet.
Unfortunately, the outside world was just the same as Laura had left it the previous evening. No one cared about her new diet. By lunchtime, Laura’s enthusiasm had evaporated. She was cold, hungry and feeling the pressure.
Then in the afternoon she tried to serve several male customers who ignored her and walked over to one of her colleagues instead. The one with the big smile and the tight butt. By the time Laura left work, her confidence was back down to zero.
Still, she didn’t give up. She went home, cooked herself a low-calorie meal and went to bed. The next few days were just as uncomfortable but somehow Laura endured them. Even so, she kept thinking how UNFAIR it was. Other people didn’t have to endure such torture. Other people didn’t get fat. Why did she? She was tired, moody, her head was constantly aching. And she was starving. Why did she have to suffer like this?
The crunch came a week later. Laura came home from work to find her mother had made a coffee and walnut cake – Laura’s favorite! “I thought you needed cheering up” her mother explained. Laura had a big piece and then another. By the time she went to bed the cake had disappeared.
The following morning she woke up in a deep depression. After eating the cake there was no point in continuing. In any case it would take months before she saw any results and she knew she could never last that long. All her ideas of doing it right this time had crumbled before her eyes. She hated herself, she hated her body, she hated the world.
POOR OLD LAURA
I see dozens and dozens of Lauras. I give classes to hundreds more. I listen to their stories and their tales of depression and my heart goes out to them. Then I remember that my job is to help them lose weight so I have to put aside my sympathy and give them some straight advice. I don’t have a foolproof method – human beings are far too complex. But my advice can make a big difference. Here are some of the things I say.
HOW TO START A NEW DIET
These suggestions apply when starting your umpteenth diet. Follow them exactly, or don’t bother dieting. Do something else instead. Open a pizza parlor or stick a banana in your ear.
Don’t worry about your present shape
Yes, yes, yes – I KNOW it’s hard not to worry. But you HAVE to make a conscious effort to stop fretting. Why? Because worry makes us WOBBLE. It makes us feel uncertain, negative, miserable and depressed. It makes us doubt ourselves and our diet. What does it matter if you look like an elephant? It’s not how you look NOW that counts, it’s how you look in a few months. Besides, the fatter you are now, the faster you’ll notice a difference. [Laura never stopped worrying about her shape – that’s why she failed]
Focus on the future
Instead of wasting time and energy worrying about your present shape, focus on how you are GOING to look. Think about it, dream about it. See it in your mind. Never stop thinking about it. Devote all your energy to thinking about the lovely slim figure you are going to have. Keep it in your mind at all times. If it helps, make plans. Make a list of all the new clothes you are going to buy when you get slim. Or plan a holiday on some exotic faraway beach. The point is, the MORE you imagine it the MORE REAL it will seem. [Laura never bothered to make it real – that’s why she failed]
Never look back, never look down
Desperate dieters wallow in their past failures. They keep saying things like “I can’t do this” and “I can’t do that”. It’s like listening to a radio commercial for failures. No wonder they never succeed.
If this sounds like you, then wake up and say Hello to the real world. Because there is NOTHING to stop you from losing weight except your mistaken belief that you are a failure. Trust me. I have seen the most incredibly useless lumps TRANSFORM themselves into lovely slim women.
But you ain’t gonna do it girls, unless you STOP looking back and give yourself a clean sheet.
[Laura never stopped thinking about her past failures. So she failed]
Believe it or not, the way you WALK has a big effect on how you think.
So walk tall and don’t slouch. When Diana was being groomed to become a Princess, she was advised “Never look down. Never look at your shoes.” Try it. It worked for her.
Don’t be shy. Talk to yourself every day. Remind yourself what you CAN do.
Why? Because we’ve spent years reminding ourselves how useless we are. That’s one reason we have such a low opinion of ourselves. So reverse this process and remind yourself of all your good points.
Always have a back-up plan to copewith disaster
Things always go wrong when we diet. They always have, they always will.
But desperate dieters ignore this fact. They never plan ahead. They wait until disaster strikes and then try to rely on willpower. Who are they kidding?
Don’t make the same mistake. Make a plan for when things go wrong, so you know exactly what to do (e.g.) when you eat a whole cake!
For example, make an arrangement (in advance) with a friend to do something or go somewhere the day after a diet-disaster. Why? Because it’ll DISTRACT you from your diet worries. Use your imagination here. Think up something that suits YOU. The point is, you must PREPARE for disaster. It’s no good relying on willpower. You must know exactly what to do BEFORE it happens. [Laura had no back-up plan after she ate the cake. That’s why she failed]
Follow these suggestions and you’ll find dieting a lot easier. Trust me.
Remember: dieting is 75% attitude, 25% sensible eating.
© 2001-2002 Anne Collins. All rights reserved.