Exactly a year ago, just as I moved into maintenance, I blogged about my dieting ‘secrets’. I said that probably everybody who has lost a lot of weight is asked “what’s your secret?”, so I listed my top ten. I was very keen to point out that we all have different bodies, and we all have different attitudes to things, so I was not saying they would work for anyone else, but they worked for me. A year later, I wondered whether they were still working for me!
1. I had a lot to lose, so my first ‘secret’ was to use Nutracheck to help me change my eating habits forever. I wanted to become a calorie expert, so I did the cooking, and I weighed and recorded absolutely everything. Still working for me? YES – I learned good habits, and roughly how many calories are in what, although I no longer weigh or count exactly.
2. I realised that my smaller and smaller body would need fewer and fewer calories, so I figured out the ways I was going to keep eating fewer and fewer calories and doing more and more exercise over the coming year. Still working for me? YES – my daily calories and exercise regime are more-or-less the same as a year ago.
3. I have a big appetite and I hate being hungry, so I changed my eating habits so I was eating a lot of filling low-calorie food. Still working for me? YES – if anything I have discovered more and more filling low-calorie foods.
4. I learned about weight loss from scientific sources, so that I knew what was the truth and what was a myth. Still working for me? YES – I have done more courses and read more scientific books and articles.
5. I didn’t confuse healthy eating with eating to lose weight. I counted the calories, and it turned out that doing that led me to very healthy eating habits anyway. Still working for me? SORT OF – I have started to eat more healthy-but-calorific foods (nuts, for example), especially as nowadays I have more calories to play with to ‘afford’ to eat them.
6. I did not allow myself to switch my new eating habits back to my old eating habits because of unexpected weight gain, getting fed up, going on holiday, or for any other reason. Still working for me? GENERALLY YES – but I am learning to loosen the reins a bit (for example on holiday), because I can afford the calories. But I am also getting good at losing the weight on my return.
7. More and more I changed my idea of what was a ‘treat’, so most ‘treats’ tended to be expensive to buy or difficult to prepare – rather than high in calories. I didn’t think I was having a treat if it was something with a lot of fat and sugar in it, where it would take me a couple of days to lose the weight I had just gained from eating it. Still working for me? NEARLY ALWAYS YES – but, again, I can afford the calories to – very occasionally – have a sticky toffee pudding.
8. I was nearly always able to refuse food, even where it was socially a bit awkward to do that. I was focussed on me and my weight. Still working for me? YES – I have become totally comfortable with turning down things I don’t want to eat.
9. I did not let people put me off. Some people were telling me that I had lost enough, I should stop losing weight, I would end up anorexic, I mustn’t be eating properly etc, etc. I didn’t take any notice of any of it. Still working for me? YES – people sometimes still say that sort of thing, and I have got really good at ignoring them!
10. My final secret was that I was married to the most supportive and lovely person in the world, and none of this would have been possible without her help. Still working for me? YES, YES, YES!