TV producer Grace Kitto (pictured, above) was a serial dieter for an agonising 45 years. But nothing worked until she gave it all up and changed her mindset – then she lost six stone!
After more than 45 years on the dieting treadmill, I’m an expert in what can go wrong. I’ve made every mistake going. By turns I’ve been impatient, over-zealous and too stringent or half-committed and lax. I’ve been over-dependent on particular diets or prone to throwing in the towel at the first slip up. In fact, I was used to failure.
These days my attitude is much more relaxed. I’m in it for the long haul, no quick fixes here. So this is my Slow Diet Manifesto. These are the rules which helped me to lose six stone and keep it off.
After more than 45 years of dieting, I’ve made every mistake – this is my Slow Diet Manifesto
1. Do the mental work
Be your own detective: work through your history and your present to see what drives you. Ask yourself what are the benefits you’re getting from remaining overweight – you must be getting a pay off or two. Make a plan to challenge those benefits. You can train yourself to succeed by preparing yourself mentally, and being truthful but forgiving toward yourself.
2. Do it slowly
It’s likely to be more permanent and less of a shock to your system if you go slowly. It gives your skin a chance to recover and shrink in line with your weight loss, leaving no sagging folds of loose flesh. Aim for no more than about a pound a week, not crash weight loss.
3. Keep it balanced and varied
We are omnivores and should eat a little of everything, with nothing forbidden. Rules that are too strict are hard to keep so forget about cutting out entire food groups or you won’t sustain it in the long run. But if a diet stops working, change it. We are not cult members. Feel free to move on.
4. Give yourself a year
Set a realistic timeframe for your efforts but no timetable for your weight loss, because that’s beyond your control. On a long diet, you will be lucky to shed as much as a pound a week. If you do, that’s a good result. And practise patience. Calm your thinking and ease yourself into it. This will help when those inevitable plateaus hit.
5. Eat mindfully
Don’t eat without tasting. Stay in the moment while you eat and savour every mouthful. Teach yourself to wait a while between desire and consumption. Then learn to stretch the waiting time. You are not helpless over your own behaviour. It’s a habit you can learn. For example, if you pick while cooking, start by giving that up and waiting for the lovely dinner you’re making. If you pick in the afternoon, think about the fact that food will be available to you in only a few hours. The next meal is coming.
6. Sleep, drink, destress
Lack of sleep is associated with obesity so commit to resting for eight hours a night, and getting as much sleep as possible in that time, at least seven hours. When you think you’re hungry, think again. Tiredness, thirst and stress can all give false hunger cues.
7. Learn to say yes
If you slip up, don’t make that a reason to give up on the whole diet. Remember one cupcake is half as damaging as two. Equally, it’s as important to say ‘yes’ as to say ‘no’ to our own desires. Occasionally relax the diet in a positive way – not a lapse, but a decision. Enjoy it – later, practise restraint. Play, then pay.
Grace Kitto is successful TV producer, wife and mother. However, being six stone overweight and clinically obese, she was on a sure path to Type 2 diabetes. After being on yo-yo diets for over 45 years, she realised she had to re-assess her approach towards weight loss and dieting.
Saving Grace is her memoir of the journey towards self-care and self-love and discoveries she made within the fields of psychology, neuroscience and biochemistry – resulting in long-term weight loss.
Saving Grace is available to buy on Amazon (£11.34)