Changing for the better — old habits die hard
How often have you said that diets don’t work? How easy it is to say it! But what does that mean? That you did a diet and didn’t lose an ounce? You lost a bit of weight and then lost no more? Lost a lot and put it all back on again? It seems to me that the people who dismiss diets as ‘not working’ are under the same illusions as people who get angry about cosmetic surgery. They think thatwill change their lives. Losing weight will make you lighter, but it won’t necessarily make you more attractive. Losing your cellulite won’t make you a better person; it won’t turn back time or get you that job you wanted, although it will make you look much, much better, and with luck, top up your confidence and put the smile back on your face. Life is about a bit more than where the needle stops on the scales, and when life doesn’t magically come up with the goods the minute you reach your goal weight, many people go back to the chocolate cake and the weight problem. ‘Diets are rubbish,’ they scoff.
People might also say a diet doesn’t work when they finish it and go back to old eating habits. The weight comes back because they have gone back to being the person they were before. So two better goals are slimming and habit changes. Slimming will help you look better, younger, fitter and firmer. Your diet will help you to slim down a dress size and lose unsightly fat in your hip and bottom areas, while if you change your habits and exercise this will tone, lengthen and refine your muscle structure. New presentation skills will help you look glossier and more confident as well as showing yourself in the best light. So while it remains the first few steps on the ladder to success and is certainly not a cure-all for your problems, this mental picture of a better ‘you’ emerging should help to keep you going. You won’t want to blow it all for the sake of five minutes with a piece of cake.
This Cellulite Solutions Diet is my plan for the perfect lower half. I have used it with countless clients over the years, and they all report that they are still cellulite-free and have smaller appetites. And this is the true test of success: it is one thing to lose the weight and get into a size ten: it’s quite another to keep it up. You don’t want to spend your life feeling that you’re ‘on a diet’, but you can be on a diet and not know it. Beauty is an entire effect, so getting a diet that is your personal signature is like having a certain dress or hairstyle. In the same way that you might say ‘I’m a blonde’ or ‘I’m happier in jeans’, you should add ‘I don’t eat between meals’ or ‘I never touch sweet things’.
If you find this hard, think of it as playing a role. At some stage in your life, you realize you’re identified with outdated circumstances. You’re stuck with your past. It’s like you once used to buy a certain brand of cosmetics and used your store reward card when paying, not knowing that they use this to compile information on your buying habits. Then you change. You stop wearing make-up, you go upmarket, down-market, get married, who knows what? Have a facelift. You don’t want that stuff you used to buy any more. But month after month their promotional junk literature comes banging through the post. You’re on their system, in their clutches. ‘That was then!’ you want to shout. ‘I hate your cosmetics now I’m not that person any longer.’ Well, sorry, but they’ve got you down as a cosmetics person.
This is what happens with diets, and especially with the people who know you well. It’s what happens with yourself. If you’ve lost weight before and gained it again, maybe you are associating yourself with someone you used to be. Maybe you are like the store computer system, and you’ve labelled yourself not the slim type. ‘I know I can never be a size twelve,’ someone will say to me, ‘but I’d be happy to settle for a fourteen or small sixteen.’ Why? Why can’t someone be a size twelve, or more to the point, what has happened in someone’s life to persuade her that she can never be so slim? I’ll tell you what happened: other people got hold of her and told her so, or she lost weight and didn’t look as good as she’d hoped. Her clothes still didn’t fit. Her stomach still looked huge. She still had cellulite and that pouchy look in her lower. Or maybe the regimes she chose were wrong for her or she didn’t have the willpower. The list goes on but it illustrates my point, I think, that getting lighter and seeing each lost pound as a fabulous achievement is somehow missing the point.
If you still keep the mind of the old you, things will go back to where they were before. Your old mind thought you were hopeless at dieting. The old you needed snacks and worried a week ahead of a long car journey about what food you’d take or where the service stations were located. The old you bought food you thought you might need, not food you needed. When you went shopping you had a mental checklist of things for the store cupboard, like crisps, cereal bars and cakes. They’re habits. And if you don’t change these habits at the same time that you change your body, you’ll find the same old problems coming back time and time again.
Other people don’t help. ‘Oh, she’s got a massive appetite,’ I once heard a mother say of her thirty-four-year-old daughter, who had lost 36 kilos in eighteen months. ‘She needs her food. She’s got a terribly sweet tooth, so I make her her favourite coffee and walnut cake anyway, every weekend. She always has a slice or two.’ Er, no. She used to have a massive appetite. That’s what got her into that mess. She’s eating two slices of your cake because she daren’t do anything else. Why don’t you do something for her and recognize that she’s changed?
My usual glib answer is simply to get a new set of friends and start with a clean sheet, but realistically you can’t just shunt everyone out of your life and not see them again. But getting a new diet for yourself and believing in it is a challenge. It’s especially a challenge if you actually love your weekly fish and chips, curry or nightly half bottle of wine, don’t want to give them up, but know that you have to. How can you convince yourself and others that you really are happier with half an avocado pear?
There’s no getting away from the fact that things must change. I wish that I could be one of these diet writers who gives you daily treats. I wish I could find weakness and lapses and bingeing amusing. I wish I could give you lists of food that you can have ‘unlimited’ amounts of. I’d love to be able to say, ‘Carry around some healthy snacks in case you get peckish.’ But I can’t do any of these things, simply because I don’t believe in them. I want you to, firm up and lose weight, and I know you can’t do that successfully unless you go for it with some seriousness.