My Quest Hub
Thinking Slimmer by Sandra Roycroft-Davis
An estimated 25 million people will be starting a diet set again on January 1 in the vain hope that this time it will be different and they’ll lose weight and keep it off for good. sadly, all the evidence proves the for the vast majority of people dieting is doomed to fail.
One of the hardest concepts for many people to grasp is that losing weight is really all about what goes on in your head, not in your stomach!
At Thinking Slimmer we use Trevor Silvester’s Wordweaving to help people have a different relationship with food. The recordings are called Slimpods.
The wonderfully unique things about the Slimpod is that people find they lose interest in unhealthy food and gently find themselves choosing healthy options and moving more. The language also reduces appeitite. One lady said “it’s turned the volume down on my appetite”… which is a fabulous way of describing it. We find snacking is a huge problem for so many people – Slimpod dramatically reduces this and in most cases stops it completely. Slimpodders are very happy people! So before anyone is tempted to do what they’ve always done and start another diet in the New Year, these are a few things you really need to know:
Our brains can’t resits temptation when we’re hungry
When we deprive ourselves of food – and a weight loss diet is nothing more than temporary starvation – our brains are wired to react by seeking out nice things to eat. Research at Imperial College London shows that people on diets find it harder to exercise self-control and resist tempting food.
By using MRI scans, scientists discovered that part of the brain thought to be involved in “food appeal”, the orbitofrontal cortex, became more active on an empty stomach. The brain was more attracted to food if people skipped breakfast, so people ate more food at lunch and high-calorific food became even more appealing.
Dr Tony Goldstone says: “We found ample evidence that fasting made people hungrier and increased the appeal of high calorie foods and the amount people ate. One reason it is so difficult to lose weight is because the appeal of high calorie food goes up.”
You’re 95% certain to put the weight back on
Our weight yo-yos up and down when we diet because the brain treats diets like famine. As soon as you come off a diet the body goes into overdrive, hoarding fat in readiness for the next time. So diets make you fatter.
The medical journal American Psychologist reported a study which shows that people who start habitually dieting from a young age tend to be significantly heavier after five years than teenagers who never dieted.
Scientists say that although slimmer’s can lose significant amounts of weight in the first few months of a diet, research shows that 95 per cent return to their starting weight or end up WEIGHING MORE. This is because when you force yourself to go hungry your brain magnifies food cravings into over-powering obsessions that take over.
Professor Traci Mann, a psychologist at the University of California in los Angeles, says: “Diets do not lead to sustained weight loss or health benefits for the majority of people. You can initially lose five to ten per cent of your weight on any number of diets, but the the weight comes back”.
At Thinking Slimmer we have many case histories to prove that weight loss can be lasting if the mind is retuned. Jo Hallam, from Nottingham, has lost almost four stones and overcome an addiction to sugar that made her drink 160 cans of Coke a month.
She started listening to a Slimpod four years ago – and in that time has not put a single pound back on.
Depriving yourself puts a huge strain on your body
Losing weight and putting it back again puts a huge strain on the body, causing unnecessary wear and tea. Professor Mann analysed long-term studies of 31 diet regimes and concluded that most people would have been better off not dieting at all.
Dr Michelle May, who teaches mindful eating, warns that unless medically supervised you shouldn’t cut calories below 1,200 per day or struggle to get enough nutrients to fuel your activities and satisfy your hunger.
Protein is one of those essential nutrients which helps make muscle tissue and keep us active, healthy and strong. It also makes enzymes and antibodies to help us fight infection.
We get protein in milk, yoghurt, meat, eggs, fish, beans and nuts – but when we’re dieting these can be the kind of foods we tend to cut out.
Your ability to see, think, hear, and move needs our nerve cells to send messages back and forth through chemicals called neurotransmitters. Making those chemicals requires a regular supply of proteins.
Humans are not designed to starve – eating’s in our DNA
Since cave-dweller times, the brain has been hard-wired to eat to survive. Even today, the urge to hunt for food it is a basic instinct that’s built into our DNA. Nick Finer, professor obesity medicine at University College London, says humans evolved in unpredictable environments where food was scarce and our bodies are programmed to maintain our body weight at all costs.
“When people become fat their hormone and nervous system adapt to the new eight – so it’s very hard for anyone to fight that by cutting their food intake, especially in a world where food is so plentiful. It means we have to look for new members.”
Dr Rudolph Leibel, an obesity expert at Columbia University in New York, confirms this evolutionary response of eating to protect against death. That’s why, he says, weight regain “is probably a more or less permanent response” to dieting. He says people who lose a significant amount of weight create “a perfect storm for weight again”.
Burning calories is as important as cutting down on them
Our bodies are meant to move – they actually long for exercise. Regular exercise to burn off calories reduces the risk of heart problems, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases. It can also delay the ageing process.
Dieting will cause you to lose not just the harmful fat but also useful muscle.
The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn so when you start to lose muscle you need less food. The trouble is that eventually you’ll reach the point where you stop losing weight even though you’re taking in less food. So dieting without taking exercise won’t produce lasting weight loss.
Several of our clients have gone on to make amazing achievements. Barbara Greenwood, from Newark, has gone from a size 28 to a size 18 – and successfully ran the London Marathon. So did Darin McCloud, from Portsmouth, who has lost 14 inches from his waistline and this summer cycled across Cuba.
Other benefits of exercise: It reduces stress, lifts moods, helps you sleep better, can keep you looking younger and improves your sex life. Right, where are those trainers…
Don’t try to be perfect. Just be yourself.
If you set the weight loss bar impossibly high you’re just setting yourself up for a fall. At Thinking Slimmer we explain the virtue of letting your mind relax into an 80/20 routine: for 80 per cent of the time you eat what you know is healthy and the rest of the time give yourself a bit of slack.
By re-tuning your mind to have a different relationship with food you no longer run into the most common problem with diets – falling off the wagon. When you’re thinking differently about food there is no wagon to fall off.
Set realistic goals which you can both measure and achieve. Make sure your goals are time-related and specific, too.
To measure progress, ditch those scales as they can give a misleading and demotivating impression. Instead judge your success by how much happier you feel, how much better your clothes fit, how much more energy you have.
Change your lifestyle to make a lasting difference.
Humans truly are creatures of habit because that makes our complex lives a little simpler. So just as we can easily slip into bad habits, so we can easily slip into good ones. It’s remarkable how just a few weeks of eating smaller portions and choosing healthier food can begin the process of behaviour change and soon it can become ingrained as the norm.
A weight loss diet may help you lose you a few pounds in the short-term, but is it addressing the underlying causes of being overweight? Is a diet changing your lifestyle for good or merely suppressing the problem for a little while?
We all know the answer to that: Dieting has been the norm on 1st January for over 40 years and if they worked in the long term there wouldn’t be an estimated 25 million people going back to do the same thing all over again on the next January 1. So how about putting an end to the yo-yo dieting cycle and doing something different for a change….something that works.
THE SECRET OF MY SUCCESS
LOST : 4 stone 12 lbs.
NAME: Sam Axton, 46, from Denton, Manchester
VITAL STATISTICS: I was a size 18-20 and hated weighing myself but I was almost 14 stone and I could shift a packet of biscuits without even thinking about it.
MY MOTIVATION: I desperately wanted to be able to run around the field with my little boy instead of being forced to sit and watch him play. I was also getting too big to do my favourite sport of kick-boxing properly – I couldn’t lift my legs up!
MY ACTION PLAN: For many years I tried every diet going without success… then started listening to a Slimpod recording for 10 minutes a day. Within days I was eating less and even leaving food on my plate. I suddenly wanted to eat fruit instead of chocolate or biscuits and I was amazed how easily old habits were broken and good new ones were created and have stayed with me for over a year. My relationship with food is no longer a battle.
LOOK AT ME NOW: I’m the smallest dress size since I was 13 – in fact, I’m slimmer than my 18-year-old daughter. My health level is totally different – my skin is glowing, I’m full of energy and my focus is very different because my mind never wanders on to food. I can put clothes on now and feel right in them. Life is fun – and recently I won a gold medal at karate!