Weight Loss Plan

You want a weight loss plan?  You want to be thin?  There are plenty of plans out there that promise you thinness.  You have probably tried a few.  I bet they all worked.

So what happened?  They did work didn't they? So where did your thinness go? Why are you fat again?

At a guess, if a study was done, it wouldn't surprise me if the main cause of weight gain is dieting

Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could be naturally thin and not need a weight loss plan at all.  Like that stick of a girl in the office who sits on her bum all day and eats biscuits or a doughnut for her mid morning snack and never goes to the gym.  Or even like the old lady in the queue in front of you in the supermarket who looks so thin and frail she might snap but who has butter, white bread, whole milk and humbugs in her shopping basket.  Not that you want to be thin and frail, but just pointing out that thinness is nothing to do with youthful energy levels and eating healthy stuff.

I'm not saying you don't need to eat healthily, of course you should, but does healthy eating lead to thinness?

Contrast this with the number of overweight people you see publicly eating healthy salads, refusing to eat cake, climbing the stairs instead of taking the lift and constantly saying "I'm being good today".

 So what is being "naturally thin" all about?  Well, taking into consideration the things I've just pointed out, obviously not counting calories and grams of fat or perusing glycaemic index scales until your mind boggles. 

It is not how many ounces of beefsteak, or number of syns, points or steps trodden or the number of blueberries you are allowed on top of your fat free yoghurt. 

It's not about reducing or omitting a food group, eating mindfully, eating only when sitting, eating off a smaller plate, or a blue, green or purple with orange spots plate. 

It's not about taking calcium tablets, consuming cinnamon with every meal, taking pills that stop you absorbing fat or trying to reduce your appetite with hoodia gordonii. 

It's not about aerobics or muscle building, rowing a pretend boat until you feel sick, or running a marathon.  It's not even about walking more.  Although some of these are most definitely good for your health, well-being and mind, they don't do a lot in the fight against the flab.

It's not about anything like any of these things because as a weight loss plan, mostly they are not "natural".  A lot of the thin people around you aren't doing these things, so why on earth do you think that is what you have got to do to be thin?

We should be able to eat and be a normal weight without thinking about it.  Something must have gone terribly wrong that a percentage of our population can no longer do this.

We shouldn't have to count and calculate and plan and force ourselves to do weird body movements that serve no practical purpose. 

We all know diets don't work, but we don't know any other way.  It's like looking for your lost keys.  You've exhausted every possible place they could be, so you keep going back to the same places over and over again and, of course, they are still not there.

As human beings we are so clever, but sometimes we can be quite stupid.  There is that old saying - Always do what you've always done and you will always get what you always got - or something like that.  And so it is with diets.  You think you are doing something new when you try out the next mad weight loss plan and swap the "eat less pizza" diet for  the "have turmeric with everything and eat more cucumber" diet (OK I made them up). 

But they all add up to the same thing.  You are doing something that means you suddenly change your ways in such a way that you lose weight. The weight drops off and you feel great and you feel proud but it doesn't come naturally and it takes an effort.  It's just not natural to have to count and measure and think and plan.  Eventually you switch back to what comes easy to you because all this planning takes up time and takes over your life and you want to be doing other things too. So you end up fatter because getting fatter takes no effort at all. 

Every time.  Every single effing time.  And still we do it again. But think - why does getting fatter take no effort?  What if you could make getting thinner take no effort?

Surely if you want the opposite to happen, the answer is to do the opposite?

Just think.  Wouldn't it be great if there was a weight loss plan where the opposite happened - you begin by not losing weight at all and this takes a bit of an effort.  (In fact it might possibly result in you gaining weight.)  Eventually you are eating in a way that comes easy to you.  You finish by eating normally without thought or planning, losing weight until you reach a steady  body size for the way you are eating with no effort at all.

Hahaha - this is a joke right

No actually these are serious thoughts

Read on, but remember, I am not a professional or a doctor.  I do not have a degree.  I am not a nutritionist.  The only studying I have done on any weight loss plan is reading loads of books, magazines and web pages over many years.  The only weight loss plan trials I have done/am doing are on myself.

These are just the thoughts and reasonings of an ordinary average person with a little bit of nous.  At the moment of writing this I am doing my latest weight loss plan trial based on the above idea, and this time I am keeping a diary.  You can read the diaries as far as I have got via the links below.  I may be following a risky path that leads to no-where, but I have a theory, and I and everyone else will never know if my theory works unless I try it out.  I am not telling you to do this too.  If you want to follow me, it may lead to a cliff edge, or it may lead to freedom. Let's wait and see.

So please do not take my musings as truth, and only follow me if you are willing to take the risk that you could end up worse than before - but, well doesn't that happen with every weight loss plan anyway?  However, it would make sense to ask a professional first.

When considering a weight loss plan, consider this: slow and steady wins the race

Remember the tortoise and the hare

In the above photo taken in May 2015 I am 13st 7lb having just lost 7lb for the wedding I was attending. After this I put it all back on + more and shot up to my heaviest ever - 14st 5lb. But it didn't stop there

June 2017

Right now in June 2017 I am 14stone 12 lb

I am fat and grossly overweight.

Like most overweight people I have tried every weight loss plan going.  I've lost weight and put back on more than I have lost countless times and even ended up hospitalised with a kidney stone by following a high protein diet. 

I used to be thin, like a twig, so what went wrong?

Well, just a few weeks ago my daughter mentioned something which gave me a bit of a light bulb moment.  All these years - I mean about 25 years - of trying to lose weight and just getting fatter instead, and now the answer seems quite obvious. 

I am about 80% convinced it will work

I won't beat about the bush and make you read through reams of enticing stuff and then ask for money before telling what I am thinking. I'll get straight to the point and this is it:

After all these years I have come to the conclusion that it is little to do with what we eat but more to do with the quantity we eat.  Whether it's apples and cucumbers or  whether it's cheesecake, many of us are habitually eating too great a volume of food.

Some say fat is the problem, some say it's sugar.  Some say it's just plain calories. These all play a part, but the real problem lies in the fact that somehow we are habitually eating far more than nature intended.  Habitually is the key word.  It has become a habit and I think that a habit and an addiction are very closely linked.

The most popular weight loss plan, I think, has been the low fat diet.  Why? Because it is easy to vastly reduce calories by removing fat (more so than any other food group) and still be able to eat the same large portions.  Hence the skimmed milk and taking fat off meat and avoiding nuts. We are told this is healthy.  Maybe we do need to reduce added fat, but lets not tamper with our food and take the fat away - that is not a proper balanced diet.  We need fat for more things than energy.  Take just this one example - our nervous system would not function without it. Also fat contains micronutrients.

The real problem is portion size and the best weight loss plan would be one that deals with the problematic habit of over eating.

We all have habits.  Like biting fingernails, twirling hair around our fingers, smoking, drinking alcohol, drinking coffee, picking spots, making tutting noises, eating extra food.......  they can all be cured if we put our mind to it.  Pin down where your overeating habits are - in the car, just before bed, in between meals, during commercial breaks, not being able to stop eating when your evening meal ends, at the desk, after sex, unpacking the food shop or just piling up too much on too large a plate - You will probably think of some more. With perseverance it is possible to break these habits.

I have known for years that I am addicted to food.  I gave up smoking.  That's far easier than giving up food because  you die if you give up food.  Somehow we overeaters need to get back into the habit of eating less and change a few more useful lifestyle habits too.

So how the heck have we got into the habit of eating too much?

There could be many and varied reasons we habitually overeat.  Here are a few I have come up with:

Being pregnant or breast feeding - Never getting out of the habit of eating for two.

Living with someone who is taller or more muscular who needs extra food and getting onto the habit of eating as much as they do.

Living with someone who is over weight and getting into the habit of eating the same as they do.

Giving up smoking.  For instance after a meal may have been your favourite time for a cigarette, so you put food in your mouth instead of putting the cigarette in your mouth.

Hating food waste and an untidy kitchen - you don't like to throw food away so any scraps cluttering up the place - well the easiest way to tidy it up is to eat it because it would be a waste to put it in the bin and it's a hassle to find a container for it.  This can become a habit.  In other words you do it without thinking or even consciously noticing.

One likely cause I think (and remember, I am not a professional) is that we lack nutritional balance.

I thought sugar was my problem and tried many times to give it up.  Well sugar was a problem but not in the way that I originally thought.  One of the things I learned in my studies on weight loss is that pure sugar raises blood sugar levels too quickly and the body clears out the excess sugar in the blood by putting it into storage.  This makes the blood sugar level drop thus making you hungry again. While this is surely true, I think there is more to weight gain than just this. Could it be that it is not just that you are eating too much of a substance, but that there are nutrients missing, and that makes us feel unsatiated after eating?

It seems to make sense that if you are not getting a balance of nutrients then your body will tell you in no uncertain terms - ie by making you  hungry - that something is missing.  This missing nutrient could be any or a number of things

The body needs protein, fat, carbohydrates, micronutrients, fibre and let's not forget water.  (Have I missed anything?) If any of these are missing from your diet you are going to be hungry.  It also needs love and human contact and peace and quiet sleep, and I believe also that these and similar needs can be a factor too.

Now when my kids were little (aged baby, one year old, two year old and three year old - yes that's scary, but that's another story) I got tired at around 4pm just as they got lively.  I ate sugar to try to boost my energy.  So unsurprisingly I thought it was the sugar that caused the problem.  Well it was, but not because I was eating sugar, but that I wasn't eating anything else with it.  I just took glucose off a spoon.  My body cried out for food.  So what did I do?  I ate more sugar.  Now if I had had a slice of ham or an egg and some bread and a bit of lettuce at the same time as the sugar, I probably would have been satisfied.

It can happen with fat too.  You go on a low fat diet and to start with it's great and you lose weight.  But after a while you start to itch for something and you start to get hungry because there is not enough fat in  your diet.  So how do you respond to your hunger?  Well, think of all that free food you are allowed - fruit and vegetables and such like.  You pile them on your plate in larger and larger quantities.  But still you are not satisfied and in the end you give up because it doesn't seem to matter how many vegetables you fill your plate up with, you're still hungry. Then, having given up on the diet, you are now in the habit of eating larger quantities, so you generally eat larger quantities of everything - and  you end up fatter than you did before.

Am I making sense?  You are eating larger quantities because you did it for several weeks or months or more when you were on the diet because you were allowed to eat as many "free foods" as you wanted and the act of putting extra food in your mouth has become a habit.  Habits are notoriously hard to kick.

Also, why are so many poorer people fat?  It seems contradictory doesn't it?  Surely if you are poor you can't afford large quantities of food.  Or maybe it's because cheap food has less nutrients.  A meat pie with chips or even just a portion of chips (that's French fries if you are American) is ridiculously cheaper than a proper balanced meal.  But where are the micronutrients and where is the fibre in that meal?  It is probably lacking in protein too. That's why it doesn't satisfy and that's possibly why it's so easy to eat twice as much as you ought.  If you eat pasty and chips every day your body cries out for the stuff that's missing.  All you feel is hunger, so you just eat  more chips, or go for biscuits or cake, because they are cheap too.  It's going to take an awful lot of chips for you to get your full quota of the vitamins and fibre you need

Anyway, whatever the reason it all started is relatively unimportant now.  What is important is finding a weight loss plan which will get you back into the habit of eating less.

Now here is another problem with taking on a new diet or weight loss plan

It's all just too much to cope with all at once.

Can you really expect to change everything overnight and carry on with it for the rest of your life?

Apparently it can take an average of 66 days to break an old habit and establish a new one.  Working on all our habits at once can be overwhelming and it's easy give up.

So my weight loss plan is this - List my overeating moments and deal with them one at a time.  Once one habit is changed for good and etched into the brain so that it is difficult to change, start on the next.

For instance I can't resist the vending machine every time I pass it on work breaks, this could be one of my habits to break by saying "no" to the machine every time I pass it for the space of at least one month until saying "no" becomes my new habit.

Do you think this makes sense?

I think it may be worth the try.  Follow me as I keep a bit of a diary - links below - and let's see if this damn well works!

Just to recap, one theory about why we get into these bad habits in the first place starting with the first weight loss plan we embark on:

You start the weight loss plan.  The diet has things missing in an attempt to reduce calories, most often fat because fat has a lot of calories.  Taking out fat is one of the easiest ways to reduce calories.

You start off great, but then something happens.  Your body actually wants that fat.  it needs the fat and the nutrients that are in it.  So realising something is missing, your brain sends out hunger signals to try to get more of what it needs, even though you are stuffed to the eyeballs with food

Now let me point out here that as far as I know, this is not a proven scientific fact and I am neither a scientist nor a nutritionist nor a doctor - this is just my theory OK

So you get hungry and feel the need to overeat.  However, not wanting to spoil your weight loss plan, you go for eating more of your diet food, and if you are following a weight loss plan that has "free food" you start to eat more and more of it.  The amount you eat becomes a habit, but still you are not satisfied because still you are not delivering to the body all of the stuff it needs, so in the end you find yourself "face down in a pile of doughnuts"  You are however now in the habit of eating more than is normal so you eat a larger quantity of the bad stuff than normal  and end up fatter than before.  The whole weight loss plan has gone out of the window.

So, at the same time as attempting to change my habits, I am going to keep it in mind to make meals as balanced as possible without getting too obsessed about it.  That's not too difficult. There are only a few elements and some foods contain more than one.  So: protein, carbohydrate, fat/oil, fibre and micronutrients in every main meal, not forgetting plenty of liquid too, preferably water, and if someone invites me to eat with them, and the food is unbalanced, not to fret about it

Feel free to contact me with suggestions via our contact page, or make some points in the "submit a great story" box at the bottom of the page, but please read this page thoroughly first

Shirley,  June 2017

Updates on the Weight Loss Plan - The Diaries

First of all a false start This weight loss plan is a trial and an experiment, so a false start is no surprise and I've learned from it not to hurry.  I tried to change two habits at once.  From now on I shall deal with one new habit at a time and for as long as it takes before going on to the next.

Habit 1  4th July - 30th July.  It took me a month to establish a new breakfast routine and get used to not eating again until mid morning. Not surprisingly I put on a fair bit of weight.  This is both disheartening and encouraging at the same time.

Habit 2 31st July - 11th September.  I work at reducing my food intake at morning break time and learn to eat nothing after that until at least 12 noon. This one has taken over a month to become a habit. 

Habit 3 12th September - 22nd October.  I deal with my lunchtime habits with a smaller lunch and nothing until 2.30 - 3pm.  My weight, although probably a stone higher than when I started (gosh that's scary! - a whole stone - 14pounds weight gain in just over 3 months!) it has now settled and stabilised at around 15 stone 4 pounds.  Which is a little ore promising

Habit 4  This failed miserably to start with when I tried to change to eating only a small afternoon snack with a wait until 6pm before eating again.  So after 2 weeks of trying I gave up and am worked on a different habit - my bedtime habit to make sure I am getting enough sleep so I wouldn't get tired and hungry in the day. 

Habit 5 and Habit 5a I still fail at changing my evening eating habits - not really a failure, but more of a case of not really going forwards a much as I'd wanted

Habit 6 - I deal with the sugar issue and continue to try to get more sleep.  I find that often my evening habits are still really bad, but are improving a little of their own accord the more I get to grips with sleeping more.

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Concerning this weight loss plan -----

Please remember that the author of this website is not a professional.  All statements are opinions and not to be taken as advice.

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Much of the information on this website is either "googled" or out of the author's head and therefore not to be taken as advice.

It's all about food and food for thought, so trust your gut instinct and get some professional advice on diet if you think you need it

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