Weight Loss NHS
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How I get over my psychological barrier

Hi - I'm 53 and struggled to lose weight most of my adult life and failed over and over. How did you get over that despondency - the moment I see a diet the voice in my head says "it ain't gonna work". Not a good place to start at all really is it? By the middle of day 1 I'm invariably off the next diet/foodplan .. Sandy

10 Replies

Hi Sandy,

My advice would be to stop doing 'diets', then - they're often not nearly as good as they're made out to be. You can read more about that, and many other things too on the NHSChoices lose weight pages where you'll also find a BMI calculator (good starting point) and a totally free 12 week plan.

Once you know your BMI and the range of the 'normal' band for you - then make a decision about where weight-wise you're planning to get to.

Then, don't think of it as an event / 'diet', see it as a process. It's about ret-training your bad eating and exercise/habits (which is how you got to be overweight, if you are) into good ones.

I haven't realy done a 'diet' as such, and I certainly haven't done W/Watchers, Slimmers World or any of those - if that's what you mean by the term.

I basically just chucked out all the rubbish from my food intake. Sweet, fatty and creamy things - chucked. Fried food - chucked. (Almost, when I fry I use a tiny bit of one of those spray things). Got my super-size portions - chucked and replaced with human-size ones. I choose,things like trimmed bacon, I scramble or poach (never fry) eggs. I eat more fruit and veg. I eat things like strawberries without sugar on them or cream, but with low-fat yoghurt and now prefer them that way, because my tastes have changed. I don't do fizzy drinks, or chocolate snacks (e.g. Twix, KIt-Kat) with a cup of tea, any more.

I've also significantly upped the exercise and I'm 10 kgs down on where I was on 11/1/13. (Which is actually a bit too much, so I'm trying to put the brakes on it a bit!)

Whilst I have a good understanding of what foods are the more calorie-laded, I personally don't count calories in detail. (Each to their own).

But I don't see that as a 'diet', I see it as taking control of my eating and my exercise/activity. It's a life style change. And it's going to stay changed.

At my age, which is a bit more than yours, I really cannot keep carrying around all this extra weight 24 hours a day, or bear the health risks and impairment of life quality that it causes.

O.K., for sure, I've still got 16 kgs to do to reach 'normal' BMI, and that's going to take me well beyond the 12 weeks plan. In fact, my target for the 12/13 weeks is to get halfway.

But what's the alternative?

Keep carrying around the extra weight? Watch the extra weight getting worse and worse? Bring my quality of life down with the extra weight and the inactivity?

For me, making the commitment to myself, my health and my well-being was a 'no-brainer'.

Good luck.

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Having started to change my way of thinking back last year around may time I found that if you deny yourself something you want it more !

I had around 4 stone to lose at that point , so I got myself a really cheap exercise bike off a well known auction site and thought I'm going to do this , slowly I got faster and found it easier until i could easily do 10 miles in 30 minutes burning around 450 calories . weight started to come off and now have lost one and a half stone ,with smaller portions and having things you fancy now and again, I don't calorie count .

while everyone may not be able to put in that amount of exercise just a little helps , it is finding what works for you and you can enjoy , I tried jogging but have arthritis in both knees (no spring chicken me at 45 !)and was told to stop by the GP but can still do the cycling and walk far more than before .

Don't give up as every little change adds up to a bigger change ,stay positive and don't think of diets because they really don't work . It has took me a long long time to get this far and now have the determination to succeed ,as you too can !

Trust in yourself find what works for you and take each day as it comes , if one day you don't eat as healthy as you should or don't have time to exercise a little tomorrow is another day Good luck stay positive and believe as only you can make it happen


Hi Sandy / ;pods,

A lot of people do find the exercise / activity thing kind of difficult or at least don't feel very comfortable with it for all sorts of different reasons.

I, personally, just can't stand gyms and wild horses wouldn't drag me to one.

However, there are just so many different activities (and they don't have to be 'sporty') that you can do to use up a few calories. And generally getting into better shape in terms of your muscle tone, your stamina and flexibility makes you feel a lot better anyhow.

Housework, gardening, decorating, taking the kids to the beach, playing football, archery, swimming, floor exercises, etc., etc.

I've been using - yes I know its a blast from the past - a Bullworker X5 to do isotonic / isonmetric exercises. No, not one of the modern things you see advertised on the web, one of those things with the black handles you see on ebay and that were all the rage in the early 1980's or thereabouts. Between that and the weight loss, I feel so much better than I did two months ago.

One thing that surprised me though is that I discovered a lot of disabled ex-servicemen use similar bits of kit to keep up their fitness and to do the exercises that they are able to do. So, perhaps, just be careful that having a problem, say in your knees or hips, doesn't stop you from keeping the rest of your body toned up.

And a bit like you pods, I find the exercise so easy now that my body had got used to it over a few weeks.

But it's like anything. Most people don't get changing gear and using the clutch in a car at first. It kind of takes just a bit of time for your muscles to learn the feel of how it's supposed to work. After a wee while you can't believe you ever had any problem with it.


Hi Sandy,

Its seems like you're ready to quit before you've even started!

The first day is always the hardest, having to adapt to a new regime, but as the others have said, the 12 week plan is more about an all round lifestyle change than a diet.

On the NHS pages is a recipe book and meal finder. Maybe you could look at those and plan for the week ahead. That way you can look forward to meals knowing that they will be good for you. AND there's some really tasty options in there as well



Hi Sandy, that little voice is not just there for diets. If you go on the C25K forum pages you will see posts from people [ me included ] who had the voice telling them "you can't run", "you will never run for 1 minute" etc.I think whenever we challenge ourselves to do something new or difficult, the voice of self doubt appears. You could try one day at a time.when the voice says "it ain't gonna work" say you will try it just for a day, it's only one day. Then do another,and another and treat each day as an achievement. The more you achieve the easier it is to spur yourself on. As for my gremlin [as I called him] I found ways to con him and graduated on the C25K. He came back for a short time when I started swimming lessons,but as I grew in confidence he went away. Hope my ramblings help in some way, best of luck :)


Hi Sandy,

I think newpie has a point. I'd call that "little voice" - monkey mind.

It's the bit that causes the little girl to feel sick and have a dreadful tummy ache when Munny tells her to get ready to visit Auntie Maude (or whoever). And shortly after Mummy has rung aforesaid Aunt to say that they're not coming over today, the little girl makes a miraculous recovery and is charging around the garden and playing games, etc.

Now however that works when we're youngsters, the fact is as adults we need to take control of our lives, our choices and our life decisions. Letting monkey mind take control will bring your life to a disastrously grinding halt. Now let's be clear, you don't let monkey mind tell you the bed is nice and warm and it's cold out there so you'll just ring in work and tell them you're having the day off, now do you?

So, there, you can tell monkey mind where to get off! And you need to just tell monkey mind that YOU are in control of your life - not it.

Now, if you're planning to lose weight there really is no time like the present, because in all probability if you don't take control of your eating and your exercise, you'll just go on gaining weight. Monkey mind will be happy with that, because it will avoid any change, but you well might not be.

Good luck.

P.S. I can assure you that I am amazed at my own weight loss. I truly believed before I started that losing weight would be hell on earth, if not worse. It really has not been like that at all and the gains in fitness, in taking control (self-determination) and in self-esteem (I don't cringe as much looking at myself in the mirror) were more than worth the mediocre amount of inconvenience I've experienced.


Hi everyone - thank you so much for all you responses. I feel very supported.

It's like the old saying every journey begins with the first step and I just have to get on with it.

I think one of my problems is I absolutely love food and lots of it. Using low fat mayonnaise or low fat spread, to my mind, does not taste nearly so good as full-fat mayonnaise or butter - but hell that's life! Do others understand? How do you get over the feeling of deprivation i.e not having buttered toast?

I love exercise - especially walking, for just over a year now I've suffered with plantar fasciitis which has restricted my ability to exercise but am trying exercise bikes and water based exercise like acquarobics which I am enjoying.



Hi Sandy,

I love sweet things and all the fatty foods that are not good vor you. The thing is if you cut down on the things you like and have them in moderation, you find they taste better and you appre iate them more.

For example, tonight I am having chicken drummers, but 2 instead of 4 and with a big plate of veggies. The nice taste of the fat from the chicken is amplified against the veg and I couldnt have any more.

Maybe get some of the low fat or diet versions, and get someone else to make toast for you so you do not know the low fat one has been used. Im sure youll get used to it:)

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Hi Sandy,

And can I also add that if you just get on with it and cut out those fat and creamy and sweet things, you will very probably find that your tastes actually change.

Two months ago I wouldn't have blinked at having double sausages in batter and chips from the local chippy, but now I almost feel a bit queasy just thinking about it.

I now eat fruit like raspberries with low fat yoghurt on them, two months ago I'd have wanted to put double cream (and perhaps sugar too) on them.

You currently want to eat fat and creamy and sweet things only because that is your current 'norm'. Change it and your body will adapt to the new situation.

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Hi Sandy, I would not personally worry to much about exercise at first especially if you have mobility issues at the moment. Exercise obviously helps with weight loss but it's not critical. I lost around 17 stone and during the first year I did not exercise at all because I was unable to and during this period I lost over 10 stone.

Concentrate on your diet and as you lose weight you'll probably find your be able to be more active which will help in your long term goals.

Good Luck!

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