Curl up and Diet

Curl up and Diet

As the dieting hysteria and personal reinvention of January ends and we slip comfortably back into February it seems more appropriate now to mention all the diets that failed me.

I undertook my first diet when I was in secondary school, inspired by my brother who had lost 5 stone I began the Slim Fast diet. You chose either a milkshake or meal replacement bar, have one for breakfast and lunch then eat a normal healthy dinner. However this proved very difficult while everyone else around me ate flapjacks and iced fingers from the canteen. I stopped about two or three weeks in, after successful weight loss for two reasons: 1- it is very expensive, varying from £1-£2 for a shake or bar, means you’re forking out minimum £28 a week, not including snacks. 2- it’s not very satisfying, sipping on a milkshake for lunch is depressing; it takes all the fun out of eating food, so you might as well just eat.

As a teenage girl growing ever more desperate to look like my pre-pubescent counterparts, who definitely didn’t weigh anything over 8 stone, I have to admit, for a while, I was trying to do anything I could to drastically improve my weight.
 There was the Master Cleanse Lemonade Diet; I was convinced by the celebrity success stories from Beyoncé and Demi Moore that this was going to work, however this was probably the worst. First you drink salt water to ‘flush’ out your body which yes does taste like the sea and sometimes hurt my tongue. Then you drink six glasses of ‘lemonade’ made from lemon, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water and tasted as you may expect; spicy, bitter and watery. All followed by a lovely herbal laxative tea, though the tea I never tried because I had no idea where to buy it and couldn’t quite get over the idea I could drop one at any minute.

How could someone drink this for a month, or for several months? Needless to say that diet died after two or three days and a lot of concerned questions from my parents. I was convinced these bizarre meal plans would actually work but of course they really didn’t.
 My next great dieting adventure took me down the dark road of Internet scams. I came across a magical weight loss ingredient, a specific type of tea that you drank several times a day to boost weight loss without changing anything in your diet. The women in their baggy jeans looked so happy, the men without beer bellies had changed their lives, so I could too, right? Duped and committed to the ‘new me’ the tea would unveil, I asked my Dad if he would buy me the first box, and probably relieved I wasn’t drinking from the condiments cupboard again, he agreed.

Of course the tea changed nothing, I drank it’s bitter nectar and still my hips broadened. Once again defeated, I knew we wouldn’t be getting the tea again. However the company didn’t see it that way. I hadn’t complained or returned the product so that meant they were to send me more boxes at £30 or so each, they charged my Dad a small fortune for what was effectively Red Label and so began the arduous struggle for a refund and my father’s fear of using his card online.

It was really only once I’d left school that I learnt no diet works without exercise, which seemed a shame considering I had avoided P.E so much in favour of playing table-tennis or pretending I had ‘women’s problems’. I initially started the Ministry of Sound Dance Workout with Gareth Walker. Oh Gareth was charming, he was complimentary and motivating. Unlike my depressing Slim Fast milkshake or salty morning cleanse, Gareth made me realize that through my hard work and excellent booty shaking I was dancing myself to fitness. After Gareth, came the running machine in our garden shed. That running machine kind of became my best friend. We hung out everyday for a couple of months until I came to uni and totally forgot about exercise and diet for a while all together.

So my experience I guess culminates in this: exercise and eating healthily. By all means follow a diet, but pick one you know will work for you, one you can maintain and one that isn’t potentially going to harm you in the long run. Always combine a good diet with exercise. If Jillian Michaels has taught me anything (and my God do I love Jillian), it is to push yourself to work hard and reward yourself by eating healthy foods that fuel your body and pretty soon you can see the results.

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