Ever wondered how slim women maintain their svelte physiques? Sue Peckham, co-creator of the 12 Weeks to Wow’ Weight Loss Programmes based on hypnotherapy, shares her thoughts on how naturally slim women stay that way
Since 2004, my business partner, James Holmes, and I have been helping people from all over the world to become naturally slimmer in just the same way as I did when we created 12 Weeks to Wow which helped me lose three and half stone – and here’s the best bit: I have never put any of that weight back on!
Anyone who knows me will tell you that although I spent years trying to lose weight, I wasn’t very good at it. Well, that’s not quite true, sometimes I did quite well following some strict (and frankly, miserable) diets, but I would always put the weight back on, plus a bit more.
Like most overweight people on a diet, I thought about food from the time I got up until the time I went to bed
I think James must have had the patience of a saint. I would come into the office moaning about my weight, moaning about the ‘diet’, in fact, moaning about everything really. It isn’t easy to be happy and jolly about life when you feel so miserable about yourself, is it? Like most overweight people on a diet, I thought about food from the time I got up until the time I went to bed.
It was listening to a recording by Tony Robbins one day that finally got me off the diet treadmill. He said, ‘Stop doing the same thing over and over again and expecting to get a different result. That’s the Insanity Principle.’ Right there and then I thought, ‘That’s what I’m doing! I keep repeating the same pattern.’
I’d join a diet club (my friends and I referred to it as ‘Fat Club’, now there’s a clue) and stick to it rigidly for a few weeks. I’d lose some weight then get fed up and stop the diet only to regain all the weight and feel like a total failure. I was a newly qualified hypnotherapist offering to help people to lose weight, yet I couldn’t do it myself. Who was going to come to me?
James and I set about creating a programme that would not only help me to lose weight and keep it off but that we could then teach to other people and help them to lose their unwanted weight, too. James had total belief that I could do it, which was so motivating and supportive that it made a huge difference.
As we studied the behavior of naturally slim people, we began to notice that naturally slim people do not eat ‘diet’ food. The only people we noticed in the supermarket with a trolley full of processed, branded diet foods were overweight people. The naturally slim people had real food in their trolleys.
naturally slim people do not eat ‘diet’ food…they had real food in their trolleys
We also noticed the language overweight people used was very negative, and from our training as hypnotherapists, we knew that changing this language was fundamental to changing their relationship with food and to them becoming naturally slimmer.
In the nine and a half months that followed, we started to copy what the naturally slim people were doing and also working on changing my inner self-talk, and I lost three and half stone in weight and dropped four dress sizes, from a size 16 to a 10. That was 13 years ago, and I am still a size 10 today. Now it’s time for me to share what these life-changing habits.
8 things naturally slim women do
1. Naturally slim women know and understand that DIETS DO NOT WORK long term
Even the leading weight loss companies admit that studies show that around 85% of people who lose weight on a diet will put all that weight back on (and a bit more besides). Far from being helpful in losing weight long term, dieting may well be the cause of women with weight loss issues remaining overweight! So in the words of the popular Disney song… ‘Let It Go!’
Naturally slim women do not diet and give themselves permission to ditch anything that claims to be a ‘weight loss diet’. If you are aiming to lose weight and become a naturally slim woman you must stop doing what fat people do and start doing what slim, fit, healthy people do. That means ‘no dieting’!
2. Naturally slim women trust themselves to eat intuitively
Naturally women instinctively know what to eat and how much to eat. All the dieting you have done in the past has just ‘programmed’ that intuition out of you. Do yourself a big favour and get rid of all your diet books and magazines. Save your money by cancelling your weekly ‘diet’ club membership.
In order to get rid of your diet mentality and establish the behaviour of a naturally slim woman, you need to remove yourself from the dieting environment too. By attending a weekly diet meeting you are surrounding yourself with people who are constantly repeating a pattern of behaviour that is proven not to work. So, from today, start surrounding yourself with naturally slim, fit healthy people, and start to behave in the same way they do. Ditch all ‘diet food’ because naturally slim women fuel their bodies with ‘proper food’. Starting today, if it’s labelled ‘diet’ or ‘low fat’ you’re not going to eat it!
3. Naturally slim women do not rely on external help to tell what they should eat or when they should eat it.
‘Dieting’ is a negative, restrictive way of eating that causes you to feel that you are unable to control your relationship with food without external help. It is this external ‘help’ that is holding you in the diet mentality and preventing you from becoming a naturally slim woman. From today take every opportunity to take back control of what you eat, when you eat it and how much of it you eat. I can promise you this, no-one but YOU really knows how much food you need to eat at any one time or what type of food is right for you. You know this for yourself instinctively but have to give yourself a break and let it happen.
It can be scary at first to take total responsibility for deciding what you want to eat and when you want to eat it. It’s a bit like the first time you went out driving your car all by yourself after you’d passed your driving test. You nervously started the car up and drove extremely carefully, remembering everything your instructor had taught you and concentrating really hard. Can you remember how you felt after that? I’m willing to that bet you felt amazing, totally in control and really proud of yourself.
Instead of weighing, measuring, counting calories or points you must focus instead on what foods your body needs and the nutrients you’re feeding it.
It will be exactly the same when you take back control of your relationship with food. Instead of weighing, measuring, counting calories or points you must focus instead on what foods your body needs and the nutrients you’re feeding it.
4. Naturally slim women eat until they are no longer hungry.
Focusing on ‘weight loss’ can lead to yo-yo dieting, constantly obsessing about food and a cycle of losing weight only to put it all back on again. To start changing your relationship with food in order to have the behaviour and habits of a naturally slim woman, you need to change your focus from ‘weight loss’ to ‘becoming healthy’.
Before you eat anything ask yourself, ‘Is eating this particular food going to help me to become healthier?’ If it will, then give yourself permission to eat that food as long as you are physically hungry.
Always ask yourself if you are physically hungry before eating anything. Pay attention to your body and focus on whether you are actually hungry before you decide to eat and stop eating when you are ‘no longer hungry’.
Almost every diet you have ever been on will tell you that you ‘eat until you are full’. From today change that to ‘eat until you are no longer hungry’. You will be amazed at what a difference that one small change to your language will make to the quantity of food that you eat. Very soon you will be confident that you can reduce your portions sizes naturally without any external control at all.
5. Naturally slim women eat what they want when they want it.
‘Diets’ teach you about restricting calories, types or quantities of food. They give you lists of ‘good and bad’ foods or ‘forbidden’ lists. Often they give you lists of ‘free foods’ implying that you can eat as much as you like of these particular foods. This can lead to craving certain foods, obsessing about them until you ‘give in’ and then you feel like you’ve failed. Then you punish yourself by ‘bingeing’ on foods that are not healthy for you.
These restrictions can lead to nutrient deficiencies and deprivation as well as an unhealthy relationship with food, so make yourself a promise not to do that to yourself ever again. Let go of the fear that if you are not on a ‘diet’ that you will not lose weight. You have dieted over and over again proving that it is the worst possible way of losing weight. Not only because we now know that diets do not work long-term, but also because almost every diet out there involves being miserable because you are hungry, or can’t eat certain foods or at certain times. Naturally slim women, eat whatever they want but only when they are physically hungry and then they stop eating when they are no longer hungry.
Diet restrictions can lead to nutrient deficiencies and deprivation as well as an unhealthy relationship with food
6. Naturally slim women listen to their bodies.
Asking yourself this quick set of questions before you eat will help you to improve your relationship with food and become a naturally slim woman:
Am I physically hungry?
Is this what I really want to eat?
Will this food help me to become slimmer and healthier?
How will I feel after I have eaten this? Will eating this food help me to feel energised and satisfied or overfull and sluggish?
Do I need to eat this now?
By answering these questions to yourself each time you eat, you will be constantly re-enforcing your new relationship with food and re-programming yourself with the eating habits of a naturally slim woman.
7. Naturally slim women love and accept their bodies
Often women start a diet because they want to change how they look. By committing to a diet you are subconsciously telling yourself that there is something wrong with you, that there is something about you that you do not like. This has to change. From today you are going to change your relationship with food because you love yourself and you deserve to put the very best fuel possible into your body. The time has come to put yourself first and really look after yourself. You cannot look after yourself properly unless you truly love yourself and are prepared to care for yourself in the best way possible.
Think of it this way, if you had saved and bought yourself a racehorse you would make sure that you put that racehorse in the best stables where it would be well looked after and exercised regularly. You would ensure it had the best trainer you could afford and that it was given food that was balanced and nutritious to ensure that it was in tip-top condition. It would then be fair to expect that your racehorse would be the fittest and happiest it could be, and the chances are that it would race to the best of its ability.
If, on the other hand, you left it in a small shed at the bottom of the garden, chained up so it couldn’t move around much and fed it on burgers and cake washed down with sugary drinks, it would almost certainly be the case that your racehorse would deteriorate from being a fit, healthy animal to one that was lethargic, overweight and possibly ill as well. Now ask yourself, which racehorse owner would you be? You need to take as much care of yourself as you would take of that racehorse if you were the owner to ensure you become a naturally healthy woman.
8. Naturally slim women rarely weigh themselves
They do not obsess about the numbers on the scale as they do not need to. Their clothes fit, and they feel good, and that’s what matters. Constantly weighing yourself can have a negative effect as your weight could be fluctuating for many different reasons. Losing weight and losing fat are not the same. There can be many reasons why the numbers on the scale go up and down. It could be due to fluid retention, building more muscle, atmospheric pressure or just the ‘time of the month’. It can even be different depending on whether your scales are standing on a hard floor or a carpeted floor. Naturally slim women are not concerned with numbers. If your clothes fit and you feel and look slim, then what does it matter if you weigh 8 stone 7 lbs or 9 stone 2 lbs?
Constantly weighing yourself can have a negative effect as your weight could be fluctuating for many different reasons
Studies show that obsessively checking your weight can have a profound effect on your self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. Stop doing something that can potentially make you feel bad about yourself. Start caring for yourself instead. Naturally slim women look after themselves by eating good quality, healthy food when they are hungry for the majority of the time. On the odd occasion when they do eat something less than healthy they just accept that it happens from time to time and do not dwell on it. It will not be long before you start to have a good body image and feel content to leave the scales behind.
Take care of yourself by fuelling your body well, and love yourself more than you ever have before. Trust yourself! There is no diet plan anywhere that knows better than you do how much food your body needs, what type of food your body needs or when your body needs it. A great relationship food may not happen overnight. It may take a bit of effort. But one thing is for sure – it will be worth it, and you will become a naturally slim woman.
Sue Peckham is a certified hypnotherapist and one of the UK’s leading experts on harnessing the power of the mind to lose weight. She lost over 3 stone in 2003 using the weight loss programme that she and business partner James Holmes created, and has kept it off ever since. She’s helped more than half a million people across the globe to overcome their weight problems through a series of best-selling apps and programmes, including EasyLoss and 12 Weeks to Wow.
Sue and James’ ‘Virtual Gastric Band’ weight loss programme has been featured on Channel 4’s ‘How to Lose Weight Well’ programme, and their clients’ weight loss success stories are regularly featured in national newspapers and magazines.