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2002-08-07 Diet is the best word avoided by slimmers

Diet is a bad word. It implies restriction and negativity. I would suggest that people trying to lose weight would lose it quicker and sustain the loss were they not to use this word.

 

The French word for diet is regime and that is exactly what it is - a strict regime of dos and donts of food and drink.

About three years ago I lost five stone over a period of seven months. I had to find my way of achieving this by years of trial and error. I had done the Scarsdale, Weight-Watchers, Slimfast, High Protein Diet, and a load of others, but my efforts were short-lived and the results temporary.

My lifestyle could not operate around measuring specific quantities of specific foods. More importantly, I had a bad reaction to that negative word diet.

Certain very obvious facts about weight-loss suddenly hit home. The main one: If you eat less and exercise more, you will lose weight! So instead of saying I am going on a diet, I said I will have a week of healthy eating and living. And if I happened to stray, I wouldnt beat myself up, I would simply restart my fat-burning and healthy eating the next day.

Of course, you have to want to lose the weight (forgive the clichÈ). Sometimes people are simply not ready, or not in the right frame of mind. The next step is to find a weight-loss programme that works for you, stick to it, and dont listen to the opinionated views which will come at you from all angles.

I am not a milk drinker, so a diet based on milk-shakes was a silly departure for me. I only lost that weight as I constantly felt bilious! A diet based on a points system was also not ideal, as I found myself having next Februarys bonus treat points in October!

I found it easier just to choose healthier food which had a very low fat content, (normally less than 4 per cent, ie 4g per 100g, look at the labels.) Similarly, I had to find an exercise that suited.

I am a member of a gym and enjoy my sessions there, but my main exercise is swimming and walking, and aerobic exercise burns fat.

It is tempting to weigh yourself every day, but dont. And dont forget that if you are exercising, you may put on weight, as muscle weighs more than fat. So dont lose heart, it is working.

If you lose 2lbs in a week, thats a bag of sugar. I lost 70lbs in all, so when I imagined myself carrying around 35 bags of sugar, it did me the power of good.

Certain foods must be avoided. Mayonnaise is in everything and is around 80 per cent fat. Obviously chocolate, biscuits, cake, cheese, junk-food and all that stuff is best cut out, but again, if you happen to stray, just restart in the morning. Dont punish yourself. Some experts would suggest replacing chocolate with a stick of celery, or biscuits with a carrot?

Yeah, whatever. Just treat yourself less, have a Chunky Kit-Kat at the weekend and really enjoy it, dont devour it in one, and then a treat will really be a treat. If you crave a bikkie, have one, and not one of those vile low-fat ones. (Jaffa Cakes are surprisingly low in fat).

Healthy nibbles, for me, would be dried fruit, fruit and yoghurt. I adore cheese, and someone suggested I replace it with cottage cheese but cheddar is too tasty to be replaced by putty! I also replace old treats with new healthy treats, like a fortnightly massage or a meal out at the weekend.

With regard drinks, I increased my water intake to about 2 or 3 litres a day and juices replaced fizzy drinks. The odd glass of wine doesnt hurt.

Time of day is a vital factor in weight-loss. I no longer eat late at night, in fact, I try to eat very little after 6 or 7 in the evening. No more take-aways after a gig and straight to bed!

Of course, it is hard to maintain weight-loss, especially in this business, but the positive benefits are endless - better skin, digestion, breathing and better all round health and fitness.

But the main key is to eradicate that diet word, and instead take a positive approach. Simply exercise healthy living!