|Photo: Matthias Kabel
My body is a work of art - rather like the Woman of Willendorf. As I work from home at a sedentary job, jogging for twenty minutes a day isn't enough to stop my weight creeping up. Six weeks ago I decided to take radical action, so I started dieting. The process is hell, but I'm losing weight. More importantly, I've learned some invaluable things along the way.
1. There's Only One Keira Knightley
People come in different shapes and sizes. Don't let the media influence the way you see yourself. It's your body that matters. All my female ancestors have been er...substantial, so no one is ever going to mistake me for the Wraith of the Black Pearl. On the other hand, looking like a badly-filled sandbag is not a good idea.
Visit your doctor to get an official decision on how much weight you should lose to stay healthy, to find out if there are any special precautions you should take before dieting, and if your clinic can offer you any help. To put it crudely, eating less and exercising more is the best and most sustainable way to lose weight, but it's not easy. You don't want to make it harder than it needs to be.
2. Take Control
Once you know your suggested target weight, draw up an achievable timetable for doing it. Avoid starting a diet before any of the traditional feast days - Christmas, Easter, birthdays, etc. Resisting food is always difficult, but starting to count calories when there's lots of delicious temptation everywhere is asking too much. Wait until you've had some experience of restricting your intake before putting yourself to the test like that. Have set mealtimes, and take time to enjoy your food rather than grabbing something on the run. Drink plenty of water - in particular, have a large glass of water about half an hour before you eat. Make sure you eat a balanced diet. You want to lose weight, not become malnourished. Fibre fills you up, so eat whole fruit rather than just juice. I find celery is a great for those times when I feel the need to nibble. It takes a lot of eating, tastes nice, and unlike my other great standby, chewing gum, it doesn't contain a long list of ingredients in a tiny typeface.
3.Don't Beat Yourself Up
Let's face it, the type of person who can stick to a diet and lose exactly the amount of weight they specify within an allotted timespan is not the sort of person who is likely to get heavy in the first place. Accept that there will be times when you can't resist that chocolate bar. If you eat it, forget it once it's gone but learn from the experience. DON'T give up! Instead, keep temptation out of your way in future. Don't go shopping when you're hungry. If you can't resist biscuits or chocolate, don't have them in the house. That's easy if you live alone. If you have children, or a husband who can eat what he likes and never put on a pound (looking at you, OH), it'll be hard - but not impossible. My family and I all love chocolate, so our house is permanently packed with the stuff. Luckily OH and co. like it chilled but I don't, so it's all stored in the fridge. The theory is that by the time the bar I've pinched from the chiller has come up to room temperature, I'll have conquered my impulse to eat it.
In other news, research for my current WIP involves suspending a Bounty bar over a recently boiled kettle. Allegedly...
What's your favourite tip for losing weight?