Can you remember the last time you weren’t on a diet? If not, then you’re probably a yo-yo dieter much like I was around 10 years ago.
I grew up fat. I was what my Mum called a ‘healthy’ baby, then a teenager with ‘puppy fat’ and speedily progressed to an overweight adult. Unlike their own upbringings, my parents vowed to make sure that I was well fed and never hungry. This meant that I was strongly encouraged to eat everything on my plate and the guilt of starving children in Africa reigned over me if I ever dared to leave anything! However, that was rare. I didn’t need much encouragement.
By the time I hit my teenage years, I knew I didn’t look like other girls at School. Drain-pipe jeans didn’t quite look the same on me. Along with everything else that comes with being a teenager, this just fed into my low self-esteem which resulted in me eating even more. A viscous cycle. Never once did my parents suggest I should lose some weight. In fact, the food just kept on coming and I just kept on eating! And it wasn’t necessarily healthy foods either. In those days, everything was cooked in lard, margarine was a staple and the vegetables were of the carbohydrate variety. So, when I hit the grand old age of eleven, I stumbled across my very first diet. It was one that a friend of mine had tried and she had a flat stomach so I was in!
So, I tried it and stuck to it religiously for a week and lost 7 pounds. I was elated! It was only a one week diet but the thought of doing it for another week made me feel depressed. All I could think of was feeling terribly hungry all the time. So, the weight piled back on – plus some. And so started my arsenic relationship with dieting and food at the grand old age of eleven.
I went through my School, college and university days admiring the slim girls, how they looked in their jeans and wondered what they did to stay so trim. To me, they were always the confident and popular girls and I wanted some of that in my life too. I was obsessed! What were they doing? What didn’t I know?
University was the worst. I packed up all my bad food knowledge and carried it and my suitcase to a shared house in Birmingham where I picked up even more bad food knowledge and my weight ballooned. Still, my parents said nothing. My friends accepted me but I didn’t accept myself. I toyed with vegetarianism (well, all the vegetarians looked slim to me) and fad diets. I would either be over-eating or severely under-eating. I just didn’t know when I was full – or hungry for that matter. There were many times that I passed out in public places from low blood sugar from starving myself.
Then, I moved to London and ended up living in a one bedroom flat with no family around me and my weight got totally out of control. My lonely lifestyle meant that I sought comfort in food. I worked hard and saw food as a treat and something I absolutely deserved to come home to after a hard day’s work. But I was in a rut and a vicious cycle of feeling miserable so eating food to make me feel better which actually made me feel even more miserable and guilty after eating it.
So, this went on for another 11 years. In and amongst, I did all the diets – Cambridge, cabbage soup, food combining – you name it. I achieved a modicum of success each time but I just couldn’t sustain that way of eating forever and to be quite honest, I didn’t want to. Most of the diets weren’t filled with tasty or regular foods that I even wanted to eat everyday. Plus, I was just plain hungry all the time! Even on the ‘eat all you can’ type diets, I was still hungry for the foods that I desired which weren’t the foods that I was allowed.
Then, in 2001, I went to Jamaica on holiday before starting a new job, ate some street food and fell ill. I had terrible food poisoning and had the hotel staff worried sick. Everyone had an opinion – it’s because you don’t have breakfast, you’re not hydrated enough, lying in the sun too long. I didn’t know what to think, I was just so ill and thousands of miles from home. I knew it was the jerk chicken I had eaten. However, when I got better, a local Rastafarian took me under his wing and insisted that I didn’t need certain foods in my body. Just lean meat and vegetables – and that’s where is began. He took me to a beach BBQ where they were roasting fish fresh from the sea along with steamed pak choi, scallion and pumpkin. I was in Heaven! Never had I tasted food so simple yet flavoursome and satisfying. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’d never had fish and steamed vegetables before but when I had, it would have been part of a diet so it was cooked and prepared in a way that was not at all appetising. It was bland and unexciting. But this BBQ food made me realise that healthy food CAN taste good too! But what I also noticed was that I didn’t feel bloated after eating. I felt satisfied.
I started to read anything I could get my hands on that would assist my knowledge of food and not necessarily diets. I particularly enjoyed reading about atypical weight loss programmes rather than diets. Concepts such as food intolerances really resonated with me and I started to take action. I knew I needed something I could stick to for a lifetime so I knew the food needed to be tasty and something that I would want to eat over and over again.
As I came across new concepts, I tried them and tweaked them to ensure that they worked for me. Then another concept would get my attention and I would switch to that, trial it and see how I felt. Before I knew it, I was following a number of concepts for a period of time and then switching to another before my body got too used to it. Little did I know it but the Switch Lifestyle Diet Plan was borne! I was the slimmest I’d ever been, feeling confident and looking good in my jeans (even though I say it myself!)
Firstly, family and friends started commenting on how much weight I had lost. Then strangers in shops and queues that I would have random conversations with would throw in a comment about how slim I was. But when I really realised I was on to something is when I got married in 2008. My husband was new to my hometown so as he met and made friends with the locals and explained who he was married to, one by one they told him just how fat I used to be and that I had lost a massive amount of weight! Until this point, I really hadn’t noticed it that much. People were talking about me not to me. What I had achieved was noticeable to the point that it was a talking point. I guess I had never really realised just how fat I was because no-one close to me ever told me. I rarely took photos because I knew I wasn’t happy with what I saw but I’m not sure I saw what other people saw.
I sat down and started to work out what had changed. What had I been doing differently? At that time, I was going to the gym 3 times per week. I was fit, healthy and happy. So, of course I fell pregnant! But shortly after the birth of our beautiful daughter, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Well, I never thought that would be me! I thought that pregnancy would see the end to my waistline like it does for so many Mums. But it wasn’t hard. As soon as I had my daughter, I started craving the way I used to eat again. Soon enough, people were telling me that I was the slimmest they had ever known me (an insult really when previously I used to work my butt off in the gym!)
I realised I had something worth sharing and it was time to put it down on paper – so I did. I shared with family and friends how I eat and they too started to notice the change in themselves. And that is how the Switch Lifestyle Diet Plan was officially borne.
I don’t believe that my weight loss journey is over. I don’t believe it will ever be over. I know that if I take my eye off the ball for too long, I could quite easily end up right back where I started. So every day I practice my eating habits and so now, the way I eat has become my diet lifestyle. My choice. Just like a vegetarian chooses to no longer eat meat. I have chosen a way to eat that my body thanks me for and that makes me feel good.
I would love to have as many people as possible join me on this transformational diet plan because my journey is now my commitment to helping others on their journey. And this is why I have devised the programme in such a way that members can get direct access to me should they need it.
If you’re thinking what makes this different to all the other diets’that you’ve tried, I’ll tell you. Just take a look at me, aged 47. I never had that body in my teens, twenties or early thirties. I feel like I’ve wasted so much of my life so desperately wanting to lose weight but essentially just chasing my tail. And then BANG, I switched up the way I see food and how I eat and within months, I lost a life-changing amount of weight AND have kept it off for over 10 years.
I believe that you can achieve the same results that I have achieved – and more. So, what are you waiting for?
Let’s take this road together.
To your weight-loss success!
# of years I dieted
# of diets I tried
# of years I've kept the weight off