How to beat 9-5 dieting

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Dieting is an annoying thing – for it to work, you have to do it all day. Which I’m rubbish at. I do brilliantly at breakfast, great at lunch, okay at dinner….and then, come the evening, all bets are off. This month I got the chance to write about the idea for Red magazine.

I can’t reproduce the whole article here – that might get me in to a little bit of trouble – but can point out my three favourite facts from the piece which will hopefully a) help you out if you have the same evening self control issues or b) whet your interest enough to purchase the whole magazine (and no I don’t get a cut from the sales!). They are…

1) Beware the Moral Licensing Effect: This is definitely part of my downfall. The theory is this. Because we work hard all day and stick to the rules by the end of the day we decide we’ve been good enough and give ourselves permission to do something bad – which if you’re on a diet means eating something off plan. This is particularly likely if you’ve finished a tricky project or something that day. Do not give in people. Stay strong.

2) Eat what you actually want: Again, this tip really does work for me. I had fallen into the trap of consuming hundreds of  ‘healthy’ calories to avoid consuming one Caramello Koala because it was chocolate – and chocolate is EVIL (and yes, long term blog fans, I do still have some of the huge box I was bought back in August). Said CK is all of 100 calories. Weight loss coach Deborah Morgan suggests if I want one, I just eat the blooming thing and be done with it (although she says it more politely).

3) Link your goal to your values: According to psychologist Rob Yeung, if a goal meets your values in life you’re more likely to stick to it. So, find what your values are then look at ways you can link your diet to them – for example, if family is most important to you then think about how losing weight is going to improve what you can do with your kids, or, looking really seriously, how long you’ll be around for them.


Now this tip changed a lot for me. In fact it was one of the reasons I made the decision back in January to do the 12 day Educogym Quick Fix. What I realised speaking to Rob Yeung was that for me dieting doesn’t actually reflect one of my core values, it can’t. I firmly believe that life is too short, that we need to make the most of it – and for me, that means going out, seeing friends, exploring new countries, new places, new tastes – and that doesn’t sit well with long term, slow, steady weight loss. If The Boyfriend shouts up the stairs ‘pub’ – as he does quite frequently – I’m not going to say ‘oooh, I can’t, I need to eat lettuce tonight.’ Sorry, but if I get knocked down by a bus tomorrow I’m not going to remember the lettuce as my head spins, but I will remember having fun chats and laughing with himself.

At that point I decided that I was going to stop all the madness. I would do this one seriously tough, but effective, regime to shift the weight and then no more. Obviously I was going to need to keep it off, but that doesn’t require me denying myself. I can maintain a weight by exercising, eating sensibly 70-80 percent of the time and doing whatever I like a few nights of the week. And that’s what I’m doing.

So, could the piece help you too? Find out by checking out May Red magazine on sale in a day or two. This is the subscribers cover – the real mag will look a little different.



Fruit and burger images: this thing on? Talk to me, it's lonely down here

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