Healthy diet after an overindulgence during the festive season

Anna Richardson
diet1 300x225 Healthy diet after an overindulgence during the festive season

Getty Images

To prepare for this blog, I decided to do two things: strip naked; and then get on the scales in front of the mirror and take a long, hard look at myself. To begin with I didn’t particularly like what I saw. But then who does? Unless you are Madonna. I could see a 42 year-old female body that had overindulged over the festive period, and had all the associated saddle bags, cellulite and spots to show for it. “God, I look FAT” I thought. Because like an ex-smoker or a former alcoholic, once a dieter, always a dieter and the temptation to fall off the wagon and smash face forward into an all-you-can-eat buffet is but a forkful away.

But then something struck me. I remembered the secret; the golden key; the holy grail of weight loss. I squared my shoulders, turned to face myself and said “You’re not fat…you have a sexy, curvy body. But I enjoy being slimmer. I feel happier and when I’m lighter. And I know exactly how to achieve that. Starting now.”

The fact is that positive thinking and having a positive image of yourself IS the secret to successful weight loss. 100%. There are a million diets out there supporting a multi-billion pound diet industry that rely on our unique ability to fail. Again and again. But it’s not the eating plans that are failing…it’s us. In a recent survey by Special K into how positive thinking can affect weight loss, a staggering 71% of women used the pejorative word “fat” to describe their own body whilst in contrast a mere 34% of them start a diet actually believing they’ll lose any weight at all. By talking to ourselves in a negative way, by denying responsibility for ourselves, and by creating a belief system that presupposes defeat, we set ourselves up to fail. As the presenter of the Channel 4 diet show Secret Eaters, I can pretty much guarantee which contributors will succeed with their weight loss versus those who won’t. It all comes down to the language they use. All our overweight contributors have a face-to-face consultation with an expert dietician and a personalised healthy eating plan that encourages weight loss. Time and again I’ll hear one of those overweight people saying “I’ve tried this before – it’ll never work”. And then I know that for them, it probably won’t, just because they’ve told themselves it won’t.

And it’s not as if I don’t know this myself. For years I’ve struggled with my weight, and I’ve literally tried every diet. I was the reporter for Channel 4’s diet series Supersize v Superskinny and my challenge was to immerse myself in the world of extreme diets and to communicate back the truth. At the time of being asked, I was a little insulted. In my head I was a svelte 9 stone, size 10 stunner – whereas in reality I was a hefty 11st 7lb size 16 porker. Overweight and in complete denial. A fact that only became apparent to me when I agreed to weigh myself on camera, for the first time in seven years. I was devastated. So I threw myself with gusto into the diets I was trialling, which included: The Apple Diet (apples…that’s it. Favoured by supermodels); Diet pills (ditto); the Baby Food Diet (beloved by Hollywood A listers); the Maple Syrup Diet (beloved by Beyonce); the Baked Bean Diet (beloved by no-one); and as a last resort, Liposuction (which went wrong). I was by turns constipated, flatulent, hungry and in pain. And after all this, did I lose any weight? Just a few pounds.

The change came when I went to see Marisa Peer for a session of hypnotherapy. It was while I was under that I quite had a ‘lightbulb moment’ – an acknowledgment of where my issues with food began, and the realisation that I didn’t want to be a prisoner to food any longer. Put simply, I made a decision to change.

From that moment on I became mindful of what I was eating, lost two stone in the process, and went on to write a successful diet book. As a healthy 9st 7lb size 12 woman, I can look any overweight person in the eye, tell them that I understand what they’re going through and point them in the direction for change. And it all starts with the mind and trying to focus on positive feelings with losing weight.

Here’s how to succeed:

  • Take responsibility for yourself. No-one else is going to lose the weight for you. Identify what type of eater you are. Emotional? Addictive? Bored?
  • To get into a positive mindset, try a session of hypnosis.
  • Be mindful. Remove all treats or snacks from your kitchen cupboards or office drawers. Plan your meals to avoid temptation. Keep a food diary. Weigh yourself regularly.  Research has shown that these are effective tools for weight loss.
  • Never eat in front of the TV or computer screen. When distracted, you eat more. Fact.
  • Go on a calorie controlled, sensible diet. There’s no miracle cure. If you eat less and move more, you lose weight. Simple.

For more information:

Tagged in: , , , , , ,
  • Hannah Leverett

    The thing that really changed my attitude is so simple – counting calories. That’s it. If you burn 500 more calories than you consume a day then you’ll lose about one pound a week. I do this through a combination of exercise and diet.

    It’s not particularly pleasant at first because your body isn’t used to having a calorie deficit so you get phantom hunger pangs, but honestly after two weeks I didn’t really notice any more. I’d echo the people who said that exercise is important, especially strength training – muscle burns more calories at rest than fat so it helps maintain weight loss in the long term.

  • robertinjapan

    Gave you a thumbs up, brilliant name.

  • L.S. Joyner

    Anyone who has been through therapy should know that not every type of therapy/therapist is right for you. “Trying hypnotherapy” is suggesting one type and no one can “fail” at hypnotherapy. It’s administered and it either works or at the end of the day doesn’t prove (or improve) anything. At least when it comes to failure in terms of a person’s adequacy.

  • L.S. Joyner

    oh and like there aren’t 5,000,000,0000 articles on exercise on the internet/magazines?? Figure it out. Find what works for you.

  • MakeMPsOwnUp

    I have. It ain’t the nonsense being trolled out here in this Kellogg’s advertorial.

  • Katharine Chapman

    yes, she lost me with that snide comment – for me that would be skinny! – and the not so subliminal SpecialK references. Up the veg intake, up the exercise, lower the bread, dairy & potatoes (not cut out, but cut back -a lot). And allow some leeway for so-called ‘bad foods’ or you’ll be miserable and insufferable.

  • Tor Ince

    Thank you, kimberlite :)

  • Tor Ince

    Yes! If only good sense had the same allure as fad diets – I know I’m guilty of believing (or at least wanting to believe) a lot of them.

  • GwendolenMeiMeiWilliams

    The MeiMei bit is a nickname :)

  • Pingback: Top of the posts: Healthy diets, London Underground and the Oscars | Linda Sharkey | Independent Notebook Blogs

Most viewed



Property search
Browse by area

Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter