It's only fair to share…

Guest Contributor Sally Symonds

Any Sex and the City fan knows the story of what happens when Miranda joins Weight Watchers to lose weight . . . and ends up gaining more because of the irresistibly enticing donut shop next door. So many of us start diets with good intentions – be it New Year’s resolutions, a count down to a big event, or the self-promise to start to be good from Monday – every Monday.

A friend followed one of those fad diets some years ago, where she had to eat nothing but pineapple for the first couple of days. By the end of the second day she had so many blisters in her mouth that the only thing she could eat was melted chocolate! Or that’s what she had convinced herself, anyway!

There are a wealth of diets out there – from sensible healthy eating plans to the most ridiculous ideas.  The weight loss industry is worth a fortune world wide because of people’s need for a quick fix to their weight gain woes.

What makes us think that we can solve years of incorrect eating and lack of exercise with a few weeks of consuming a horrible drink, eating only certain food groups or popping a few pills half an hour before we eat?

Now people, let’s take a long hard look at these ideas, and maybe expand on them just a little, and see how ridiculous it can be.

There are some pills out there that claim that they can absorb fat. So basically you can eat whatever you want, no matter how much saturated fat it contains, only if you take this magic pill just before you eat said fatty meal. This magic formula absorbs all of the fat, and out it comes, without being absorbed by your body and staying there in the form of your big behind!

Amazing isn’t it? I’m sure there is probably some small print at the bottom of the instructions which tells you that “this product is only successful as part of a calorie reduced meal plan” (no, really?), but who reads the small print anyway? But they’ve made their money off you, anyway.

So let’s use our imagination: the pill is consumed just before your meal and lies in your stomach, waiting for its little fat-fest! You head off to a party and throw down a few sausage rolls, a couple of party pies, some lovely hard yellow cheeses, and a mini quiche or two – and don’t forget that spring roll, dripping with oil. You’ve had enough of the savories, so you head for some dessert – a lovely piece a cake, drenched in frosting!

And your little pill is absorbing all of it! You’ve had enough, and finally stop eating. In the meantime, imagine it all crammed into a see-through plastic bag – now squish it a little – no, a lot actually, and then push the bag along a tube about the width of a 50c piece (but rounder, of course) for about 15 kilometers. And out into the toilet bowl…. I DON’T THINK SO! And we haven’t even taken into account the gasses released in that food mixture!

Now let’s also consider the sensible diet options out there – take the ones which work out formulas for the correct quantities of each type of food at each meal? Now that’s great in a world where you stay at home, have all of the correct foods brought in, and have nothing better to do than weigh and measure.

But we live in a world full of temptations, where we have to go to the supermarket, passing a number of coffee shops and bakeries with all sorts of displays and yummy smells. And we are social creatures, meeting friends in coffee shops and restaurants, going to other people’s homes for meals and teas, and purveyors of regular weekend BBQ’s. How practical is it then to be weighing and measuring in company? Is this not adding to our obsession with food and just creating more of a vicious cycle?

Let’s go back to our Miranda: sometimes going on a “diet” makes us so obsessed with food that it’s all we think about! After discussing how to eat the correct foods in the correct quantities at Weight Watches, Miranda is so primed about food that she just can’t resist the donut shop right next door!

The bottom line is that the word DIET is a 4-letter word! And should be treated as such. You gained weight because of unhealthy habits and so logic dictates that the only way to reverse this is by adopting healthy habits – not a diet or any kind of quick fix solution. It’s time to reassess how you got to where you are, and the best way for you to change your bad habits – for life. When healthy eating becomes a life style and not a “diet” you’ll eliminate the food obsession and get on with healthy living!


Sally Symonds is the author of “50 Steps to Lose 50kg . . . And Keep It Off” – the inspirational story of how she halved her weight and doubled her life. She is also the director of her own Healthy Life Mentoring business which specializes in helping people lose weight and attain a work/life balance in time-efficient ways.

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