Paula's Diet Success Story
- Calorie counting armed with a book and a calculator - too fiddly.
- Cambridge Diet - too impractical, effects didn't last.
- Slimming World - worked up to a point, but no further.
- Weight Watchers - didn't work at all for me - followed the initial strict diet plan to the letter and weirdly gained 4lbs, despite being starving every single day.
- I've never been even slightly tempted to try the Atkins Diet!
I've followed the traditional yo-yo path, going up a bit each time.
Whenever I diet, this seems to make my body ultra-efficient at storing fat, so the second I come off the diet and start eating normal quantities of food again, my weight shoots up, alarmingly quickly.
So this time I'm trying not to treat it as a diet (i.e. a thing with an end point, after which my eating habits change) at all.
Instead I'm just trying to eat a more healthy and balanced diet in the very long term.
I'm hoping that this way my body won't notice what I'm up to and sabotage my weight loss.
I'm trying to achieve the last couple of stone of weight loss very slowly, just creeping downwards, so that by the time I hit my maintenance weight I will already be virtually eating a maintenance calorie level.
That way there won't be a very noticeable increase in my calorific intake after I reach my goal, so I should stand more chance of maintaining my goal weight. If that makes sense to anyone else!
On Being Overweight…
I have tons more energy now, and I feel far happier with the way I look. I was a size 20-22, and now am wearing a mixture of 14s and 16s for the first time in about 5 years.
A much wider choice of things now fits me (and also suits me).
Other people have really noticed and made positive comments.
I recently got a new job, and was able to go to the interview feeling confident and looking smart in a nice tailored suit - whereas before I would have looked and felt like a blob, and would not have performed so well.
The biggest benefit for me is simply not feeling hot and sweaty all the time.
When I'm fat, I'm always boiling. Last Christmas the family went to stay with my sister in Warsaw - the temperature got down to minus 20, but I still wasn't particularly cold, owing to my layers of blubber.
While everyone else was wrapped up in coats and fur hats and gloves, I was fine in a t-shirt and thick jacket.
Whereas going on the tube in London in the summer was a complete no-no for me - in a matter of seconds I'd look as if I'd just had a bucket of warm water thrown over me. Yuck.
Now I'm looking forward to being genuinely cold this winter!
Last time I went to Alton Towers I found to my horror that I nearly didn't fit on the new ride, Oxygen, which is one of those where they have to pin you in with a big metal bar so you don't fall out.
Next time I go, hopefully the guy won't have to push so hard to get the safety bar to latch shut!
There is one negative thing about a few people's reactions. Despite the fact that I'm still 2 stone heavier than my healthy target weight, and don't exactly look skinny, I've had several people claiming that I've "taken it too far".
This started after I had lost only 1 stone, perhaps because I tend to lose weight off my face first.
It seems that a thinner me falls outside of some people's mental comfort zone, but I figure it is up to them to adjust, and not me to apologise or stop what I am doing.
I really resent this type of reaction, but find I only get it from a very few naturally thin people who don't know a thing about dieting.
Finding the Motivation
I just don't feel like me when I'm really fat. It looks totally wrong on me, and at only 5' 3" I can't carry it the way some people can.
I prefer having more energy - I used to get home and lie around watching telly, wondering whether I could be bothered to cook anything (and usually concluding that it was far less effort to have a packet of crisps, or two).
I'm much more active now - I go out more, but also I get more done at home, even if I am just having a quiet evening in.
Choice in clothing shops was another big incentive - and bigger sizes didn't suit me anyway even if I found things I liked.
Discovering Weight Loss Resources
My sister Emma tried it first, with great success. She's much skinnier than me, and didn't need to lose as much to start with. When I asked her how she did it, she recommended WLR.
I was already gearing myself up for another assault on "Flab Mountain" after giving up on Slimming World six months earlier - I'd got fed up after 2 long years of being stuck, and being told I was "just on a plateau".
Within a couple of months of giving up on it I had put back on nearly all the weight I'd lost in the previous 3 years.
I was determined not to end up even heavier, but the snag was that I didn't quite know what to do to prevent it. I really didn't have any confidence in any of the well known diets - I already knew they didn't work in the long term, or were only partly successful in the first place.
Discovering WLR was great because it didn't seem like a faddy "get thin quick" scheme.
How Weight Loss Resources Helps
I like the fact that it's fad free. It feels as if I'm eating normally (because I am). It has put me in control.
It would be very hard to be so accurate with the calorie balancing without the database, and calorie-counting only works if you're accurate, as small mistakes can add up to quite a lot over a day or a week.
This has always been my downfall before on calorie diets.
Before using WLR I also had no idea how to find out, accurately, what my maintenance and weight loss calorie balance should be.
GPs had always told me 2,000 calories for maintenance and 1,500-1,600 for a diet, which is not correct for me.
I love the nutrition charts too, especially as I tend to eat too much fat in my diet - at least this way I know, and can try to reduce it, and aim for a well balanced diet.
I find the site very empowering. The articles are good too, and updated regularly. And all of these facilities are backed up by real, helpful people who know what they're doing and want to help you to succeed.
On top of all this, it's cheaper than any club where you have to go and endure weekly weigh-ins and patronising talks that treat you as if you're subnormal.
So far I've lost 3½ stone in under a year without ever feeling as if I was starving myself - so it works!
The Best of Weight Loss Resources
I only really use the Food Diary and the Goals & Results sections, but I do occasionally dip into the Forums.
Members are very welcoming and encouraging. Everything is well designed and easy to use.
Paula's Tips for Losing Weight
Whatever else you do, be honest with yourself when you use the Food Diary.
Enter everything - then even if you have a bad week and gain or maintain, at least you can see why. If, like me, you tend to feel it's terribly unfair and inexplicable that you ever put on weight, then looking back at your calorie balance and totals over the past week or so can prove quite, er, enlightening!
As for my eating patterns, I've found it works best for me if I plan early each day roughly what I'm going to be eating (accounting for any meals out, popcorn at the cinema, working lunches, business meetings featuring biscuits, etc.)
Then I always make sure I've built in enough calories for a late-night snack or three, because I'm a real night owl.
I'm also a snacker/grazer rather than favouring large meals, and I simply cannot go hungry - I always have to have something in reserve that I can eat.
The site helps me to plan it all out so I have enough calories left for plenty of snacks - whereas before I would have over-eaten in the day without even knowing it, but then still had all the late night snacks as well.
Online supermarket shopping is great - it really reduces the amount of willpower involved (because you can't smell the fresh bread or see all the chocolate, cheese and pastry).
Well worth the delivery fee if you're prone to moments of weakness in front of mince pie displays...
If you find the "diet" versions of some food yucky (with me it's soups and salad dressings), then don't force yourself to use them.
Personally, I would much rather have the real full fat high calorie versions and simply count the calories - it's better than feeling deprived and then blowing it completely.
Also there is something very psychologically normalising about not always having to eat the diet version of everything.
It helps to remind me that "normal" foods are not out of bounds, in fact normal (healthy) foods are what I should be aiming to eat for the rest of my life...
Lots of people have achieved their weight loss success using the tools, information and support that WLR has to offer. But don't take our word for it – take free trial and see for yourself.