Search this blog

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A life spent dieting

It's sad but true. Looking at my online calorie counting guru, Nutracheck, and idly pinging up random data, I found that I first used the site in 2006. For the last five years, the depressing yoyo pattern presents itself: January: start diet to lose half a stone in time for June holiday. June: succeed (phew). September: weight going up. December: oh no....! And this year it was worse, a whole stone to lose, and currently slow progress, barely a pound a week, despite keeping rigidly to the calorie count, exercising and imbibing cidar vinegar in water.

Kim Cattrall recently said she is permanently on a diet, but at least with Kim you can see the visible results of that Herculean struggle. Like most women I am constantly trying to cast off a stone, or half a stone. I guess I'm lucky in that when I was young, children weren't under pressure to diet like they are today. I was a thin child but as a teenager I was a size 14  (US 10) and conscious that I couldn't wear certain clothes. It didn't cause me any angst until the night of the leaving school party, when a teacher and someone else made a reference to my weight, which caused me to storm off early and start my first diet.

I already knew all about dieting because my mother was always on one. In those days, diets were Limmits or Bisk meal replacement biscuits, that looked a bit like Chappie dog biscuits; PLJ, a very sharp lemon drink, and Ayds, squares of toffee that were supposed to have magical weight loss powers. She also bought Slimming Magazine which I would pore over, becoming very knowledgeable at a young age about calories, metabolism and the wisdom of Professor John Yudkin.

I remember that I ate a lot of sild on toast in that first diet, and that I very quickly lost half a stone. My friends came to meet me to go to Wood's (the nightclub de jour) and gasped when they saw my reveal. I suddenly had a waist, which I had proudly cinched in with a wide pink belt. 

Over the years I have tried many diets. The F Plan, with that sawdust-like "fibre filler", pease pudding and Granny Ann biscuits. Atkin's, which left me revolted after six weeks of meat, cream, sugar free jelly and no fruit and veg. South Beach. Perricone. More recently, Dukan, which is like Atkins but with a little fruit and veg, and the "Spent Diet," for the exhausted, which had such an overwhelming list of must buy's, none of it readily available, that a person would feel even more exhausted.

And of course, the only thing that works is eating less and exercising more, whether you do it with low carbs, high protein, low GI, Weightwatchers or calorie counting.

I finally cracked it in 2004 when I lost two and a half stone and got to a UK size 12  (US eight) which is where I am happiest. Since then, I have largely kept it off, but foolishly allowed a few too many pounds to creep up after the wedding last year, so now I am battling with a stone. Two pounds off this week, hurrah!

It's depressing how it has become our way of life. For me, I wake up happy when I am dieting. There's no guilt, unlike when I eat the "bad" things I love, like cheese, quiche, crisps or Scotch eggs. But I dread going into restaurants lest I am tempted, as the prospect of fish with vegetables is never very appealing. Today was a good day. A pub lunch, but my king prawn salad turned out to be a very low calorie option (no dressing) and so I had enough calories in the bank to savour some "real" food this evening. What are your dieting stories? Can anyone honestly say they have never dieted?


Anonymous said...

Oh Gail, this hit so many buttons - I desperately NEED to diet - and to lose considerably more than a stone, but the thought of starting any sort of diet always send me into the comfort food corner that is biscuits and chocolate. I have never been one for the gym, but do like a brisk walk - this years dull, grey and cold weather that seems to have been with us for MONTHS isn't helping either. Low carb and lots of lovely fruit and veg are supposed to be the way to go - stick with it!!! Lucy

Anne @ The Frump Factor said...

Everybody has her own way. Me, I can't diet or count calories -- too much baggage from my weight-obsessed teen years when I went a little overboard. I just try to exercise more, eat healthier, and then let my body do what it will. I tend to be of the mind that, if I have to diet constantly to maintain a particular size, maybe I wasn't meant to be that size.

I also think it's a sad world where an American size 10 is considered large! (Most Americans are much larger, of course, but that's a whole other story, and not a healthy one).

You need to do what's right for you. You will know when/if it ever becomes time to stop dieting and accept a larger size. It may never be that time. Dieting has worked for you so far. And it sounds like you get a lot of satisfaction from the results that you get. Just focus on those! Good luck, whichever way you go.

Anonymous said...

I went on my first official diet when I was 10.
It has been going on ever since - unsuccessfully, for the most part - until I got very sick a couple of months ago and just couldn't eat the amount that I used to.
I still love cheese and hamburgers and ice cream, and I eat what I want - I just make sure to only a fraction of what I used to.
I lost over 30 lbs doing so - I'm still overweight, but I am healthier than I have ever been...and I still get to eat ice cream from time to time.