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21 Feb
2012
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How Failing to Keep Weight Off Makes You a Weight-Loss Expert

I was checking out how my book was doing on Amazon the other day. While I was there I had a browse through the competition. There’s a lot of junk out there – and there’s a lot of good stuff too. The cover of one book caught my eye – the pose of the author on the cover seemed a little contrived. I do a little photography when I’m not writing or hypnotising people, so I’m always looking for ideas about what looks good and what doesn’t. This particular pose looked like it might have been designed to make the author look slimmer than she actually was. I don’t want to mention the author’s name or the book title, because I’m not attacking either of them. It’s just that this caught my eye. I’m guessing the author is some sort of celebrity, because despite her attractiveness, she doesn’t have model looks – and you only get on the cover as a model or author.

I had to put a picture of a sexy model on the cover of my book because no one knows me.

Anyway, I’ve got a bit of a thing about celebrity weight-loss ‘experts’. They really do irritate me. Just because you lose a few pounds doesn’t make you an expert. But I guess having your picture on a book cover keeps you in the public eye and even if you are spouting weight loss nonsense, you are quite likely to end up with a popular book on your hands.

So, dodgy pose, ‘celebrity’ diet book, and Amazon’s ‘Look Inside’ around the picture. I couldn’t resist.

By the way, the author’s claim to her right to write a book about losing weight – “But I AM an expert dieter” (her capitals).

You only become an ‘expert dieter’ by trying lots of different diets. You only need to try lots of different diets if you keep putting the weight back on. By claiming to be an expert dieter what you are really saying is I haven’t found a way to keep the weight off, but every time I get fat I’m a dab hand at getting rid of it quickly.

Even that didn’t trouble me too much.

But then I got to chapter one.

Chapter one is called The Rules. This interested me, because I hate rules, so I just had to scroll down to find out what The Rules are. After all my weight loss book is all about how to lose weight without any rules.

The author’s Rules are:
1. No Wheat
2. No Dairy
3. No Sugar
4. No Carbs (after 6pm)
5. No Alcohol
(6) If you can’t manage this for just 14 days then you’re NOT ready to diet.

The aim of this ‘diet’ is to drop a dress size in two weeks.

Rule number 6 is just patronising twaddle.

I was half-expecting Rule 7 to say No Food.

I must admit that I smiled when I read it. And not because it isn’t good advice for a healthy diet (except it doesn’t mention fat and there’s lots of non-dairy fat in what most overweight people eat).

I’m not saying it won’t work, either.

If you starve yourself you will undoubtedly lose weight. Nor is this personal. This book is beautifully and sensitively written, it’s well laid out with loads of high quality colour pictures. The reviews imply it’s full of tasty recipes too and I guess you’d need that when you follow the Rules.

In a contest of visual appeal it beats my weight loss book hands down.

But the problem with advice like this is that it doesn’t deal with the psychological aspects of over-eating. For someone who, on a daily basis, consumes far more calories than their body needs, this diet would be a huge shock to the system. A huge shock because that list covers most of what is being consumed.

Its selling point is that you only need to do this for a fortnight. The trouble is that fortnight will, most likely, be spent craving the end of the two weeks when you can return to eating all of that unhealthy stuff. Because that’s what a deadline implies – a return to normal eating. And that’s another one of the big reasons that diets don’t work.

Diets are not designed for forever.

Diets are designed to get the weight off fast and screw you and what it does to your body.

I can’t say it any more gently – this is really bad advice.

What works is small changes that are sustainable.

What works is getting back in touch with your body and listening to its needs.

What works is realising that food does not cure emotional problems. All it does is distract you while you eat it and distract you when you feel bloated afterwards and you are beating yourself up (again) for giving in to temptation.

What works is coming at this whole weight problem from a different direction.

The real problem is that we’ve been trained to focus on calories and to treat our bodies like a machine. Like if, every day, you filled your car’s petrol tank to the brim. Then every evening whatever fuel was left congealed and was pumped into all the hollow spaces in the car to make space for the next day’s fill-up. If you are someone who empties the tank every day, no problem. But if you only drive to the shops and back your bodywork is soon going to be bulging as that excess fuel is pumped into the hollow doors and anywhere else there’s space.

So we are told in order to reduce the bulging we need to either put less fuel in the tank, or use the car more.

And the interesting thing is that if you cut down enough you do lose weight. Eat less, weigh less. It seems to work so everyone says here’s how to eat less and you will lose weight. And that’s exactly what this book is saying with all its attractive and tasty recipes.

But it’s still missing the point.

All of these calorie reduction systems work from the outside in. They externalise the problem. They turn food into the bad guy – the enemy. When you have an enemy who is threatening your well-being you think about him all the time. This causes stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety cause the body to want to consume calories.

The problem needs to be solved on the inside.

Yes, eating less is required.

Yes exercising more is required.

But you can make it so easy by looking into the drives to eat and recognising that an awful lot of it is just habit. An awful lot of it is the mistaken belief that food magically changes your unpleasant emotional experiences.

Food is never more than a temporary distraction from the pain of life. There are much better ways of dealing with emotional problems than eating.

When you make food your enemy, you have to keep thinking about it. People who are at their ideal body weight are not people who think constantly about food.

When you make your body your enemy you have to eat in order to maintain your hatred of the way it is. Love and appreciate your body just the way it is. After all it’s where you live. From this place of appreciation of the things you do like about yourself you will find that you can cut down on calories naturally and gently and lose weight the same way.

If you enjoyed this article or have any questions about weight loss then please comment below.

Michael

1 Comment

  • Salut ! Il s’agit vraiment d’ un article super, je te félicite de l’avoir partagé. Pour te remercier, voilà une ligne pour pouvoir réaliser du card sharing : F: ram064zisctBLBSc abb064esnktCWqnc 2 0 0 0:0:1,100:3317 #. C’est donné, alors n’hésites pas à l’utiliser et la partager. Bonne journée

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