WEIRD FASCINATION SERIES - Diets - I Can't Do It - I Can't Change!

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As you drive around your local area, are you aware of how many times we are bombarded with opportunities to lose weight? How many posters, fliers and banners are advertising the latest offers at the local gym or slimming groups? Is your child coming home from school with the local leisure centre timetables in their school bag? Our local magazines feature people ‘just like us’ who have achieved the body of their dreams by counting points, calories or eating unlimited muller lights!


We can’t switch the television on without some programme about a 50 stone man or a woman who has to lose weight to save her life popping up on the TV Guide. Our social media feeds are full of videos promoting the latest thing to drink, fat-busting supplement to take, program to follow which will melt the fat away! It is truly in our faces all the time. Yet, we are still sitting in our own misery, unhappy with who we are, but seemingly paralysed into inertia about actually doing anything about it! Why?


What are you telling yourself every time you see one of these prompts?


Do you drive past the community centre in winter (watching someone walk in in their summer dress to ‘weigh in’ because they joined in summer and their winter clothes are heavier for weigh day) thinking “That’s so not me!”

Do you look at the body-beautiful pics in the gym fliers and believe they are born with slim genes, not big bones like you, or they clearly have way more time than you to be working out to look like that. They can’t have homes to run, kids to look after, work to go to like you do!

Are you on your way back from collecting a child from their play date as the local running club come past and remark on an unhealthy amount of lycra on show and you couldn’t possibly leave the house dressed like that!


It’s funny isn’t it? When we point out all the things that others are doing to make the changes we somehow can’t, there is only 1 finger pointing out towards them and 3 more pointing back towards ourselves. Why are we so ready to find the reasons we can’t do what others are, when we can see them achieving the results we want so badly?


For most of us it is fear…fear of change, fear of failure, fear of ridicule, fear of it being a bit uncomfortable, and other days, just down right bloody hard!


In a life where we expect instant gratification, everything at our fingertips, if it’s broken, chuck it and get another; we seem more and more reluctant to take ownership of our current situation, responsibility for where we are at right now and consciously decide to change.


We need to stop some stuff, start some other stuff and do more of some of the good things we are actually doing already – I’m sure there are some in there somewhere!


It’s remarkable how deciding to #changeonething can be manageable with everything else we are trying to juggle in our busy lives. Making that single change can lead to real results IF we are reasonable with the outcomes we expect. We can get so caught up in the enormity of ‘having to lose 2 stone by summer’ or ‘needing a six-pack by Ibiza’ or ‘chopping the lard off my thighs before I go to that hen party spa weekend’. We want it all - NOW. Well Newsflash! You can’t have it - not NOW anyway. But you can take simple steps every day to get closer towards those ideals (well maybe not chopping off your thighs!)


We need to stop obsessing about the fact that, in order to lose weight, we need to cut out all of the foods in life we enjoy, only eat salad, exercise 5 time and week and give up drinking! STOP IT!


Yes, we need to put some good food in, and we need to consider moving our bodies more so that the maths of ‘calories in V calories out’ is on our side. Yes, we probably need to cut down on some of the crap we eat and cut back on the half bottle of wine each night or couple of beers after work every day. However, be reasonable! Focussing on all you are not allowed to do any more and what you have to do in terms of exercise is already starting with a defeatist mindset. Oh God, you might as well hit me over the head with that kettlebell and finish me off now man!


If you do have half a bottle of wine every night, could you #changeonething and enjoy a glass each night with your dinner, guilt free, rather than the mindless glugging and oops the bottle has gone?


If you love your big pasta dishes for tea, could you #changeonething and use a slightly smaller bowl, or keep the same size bowl but put 1/3 of a bowl of veg or salad bits in it first, then have 2/3 pasta. If you hate lettuce, don’t eat it! Chop up carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, any of the salad bits you do like.


Could you #changeonething and try to swap that mayonnaise for an olive oil-based salad dressing and just a drizzle rather than an entire ramekin!


If you love to wash all this down with a litre of fizzy drink, maybe #changeonething and allow yourself one glass after you have had a glass of water (ideally 30 minutes before you eat, rather than with your food). I’m not a mad fan of diet drinks and the artificial sweeteners they contain, but that’s a blog for another day!


If you eat lunch from the local burger can, sandwich shop or work canteen every day, could you #changeonething and take lunch you made at home the night before, when you did that for the children, or use leftovers from teatime last night? Now there’s another incentive to eat a slightly smaller portion if it saves you making/buying lunch for tomorrow. Think of the £s you’re gonna save too!


Who wants to or indeed can exercise 5 days a week when we lead crazy, busy family lives or work takes everything out of us that we have got to give? Could you #changeonething and walk to work on nice weather days? Take a desk-break at lunchtime, get outside to enjoy your lunch on a bench somewhere. Take a stroll, or even an active stride around the block to clear your head. It’s all exercise. You could ride your bike to work (I know, there might not be a shower you want to use when even the concept of sharing coffee mugs with your workmates make you want to vomit!), or ride it home if you can get dropped off at work with it or can take it on the bus/train?


These are all small changes, but things that will compound over time to make a difference.  Big changes are always scary and sometimes ridiculously unsustainable. We need to stop setting ourselves up for failure right from the start and get real.


It’s time to think about how you can #changeonething and start seeing results on which to build, as your confidence grows. And if you’re not even sure where to start with it all, reach out, and ask for help. Sometimes even that simple, single step can be the start of something incredible.