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Losing Weight is in the Mind, not the Belly

by Sandra Roycroft-Davis(more info)

listed in weight loss, originally published in issue 198 - September 2012

BEING on a diet isn’t just about denying yourself food. It’s also about denying yourself the truth - because everyone knows that diets don’t work in the long term. Think about it, if diets worked a fifth of the UK population wouldn’t be obese, would they?

Fat - Thin

We all know about the endless cycle of diet-fail-diet-fail-diet-fail. But we still keep on doing it. I spoke to a lovely lady who told me she’d "successfully done the Atkins diet".

When I asked her if she'd managed to keep off the weight she'd lost, she admitted she'd put it all back on again. Is that the definition of success - you lose weight and put it back on again? Sadly, for the overwhelming majority of slimmers, it is.

There was a nasty shock for millions of women when the front page of one of our biggest daily newspapers ran the headline: “The scientific proof that diets make you fat”. At we’ve been saying this for a long time and when you study the scientific research from around the world, you discover five scary facts about the weight loss war.

ONE: Cutting out calories changes your metabolism and your brain so your body hoards fat and turns minor food cravings into an obsession. Research at Melbourne University proves that when you go on a starvation diet the body produces about 20 per cent more of the appetite stimulating hormone ghrelin, forcing you to overeat once the diet stops.

TWO: Because of the way the metabolism changes during dieting, you need to eat 400 fewer calories a day than before dieting just to maintain a stable weight. But the powerful appetite stimulator makes this almost impossible to achieve. And studies at Columbia University in America say this yo-yo situation can last as long as six years.

THREE: Diets change the way the brain reacts to food in a negative way, wilting your willpower. Brain scans carried out by American neuroscientists show dieters show an increase in emotional responses to food and a decrease in brain activity linked to restraint. 

FOUR: Within five years, about two-thirds of dieters put back all the weight they have lost - and more. The University of California has found that slimmers lose up to 10 per cent of their body weight in six months on most diets. But an analysis of 31 long-term clinical studies shows that most of the dieters would have been better off not dieting because their weight would have been pretty much the same and their bodies would not have wear and tear from yo-yoing.

FIVE: The younger you start dieting, the worse the effects on your body. People who start dieting habitually in their teens tend to be significantly heavier after five years than teens who never dieted, says research published in the medical journal American Psychologist. Once we become overweight, most of us will stay that way if all we do is diet.

Here are two more points to bear in mind:

Scientific Fact:

The body treats diets like famine, so as soon as you come off one, the body goes into overdrive, hoarding calories as fat in readiness for the next time. It also slows your metabolism so you burn fewer calories. That’s how in the medium to long-term, diets make you fatter, not lose weight.

Scientific Fact:

Most people who decide to lead a healthier lifestyle go on traditional slimming diets. The truth is, however, that 95 per cent of those who go on such diets fail; what's worse, they often end up in worse shape than when they started. It's because their level of an appetite-stimulating hormone automatically goes up.

So what’s the secret of successful weight loss? Behaviour is the key to everything. Unhelpful eating and exercise habits, many of which have been ingrained since childhood, are so hard to break. When you fall over and graze your knee, your mum gives you a sweetie to make you feel better. Do well at school and there’s a bar of chocolate as a reward. Small wonder that when we grow up we automatically reach for food and sweet things to make us feel good.

Losing weight is in the mind, not the belly. At we’ve used over 10 years of Harley Street experience in changing people’s behavioural patters to create a weight control programme called the Slimpod. Listening to a 10 minute recording every night before you fall asleep is like having your own personal mind coach.

Slimpods gently change your relationship to food and exercise by retuning the way your mind works, so you never need to diet again. There’s no calorie counting, no horrible tasting food replacements, no hunger pangs, no anguish, no guilt and no pain.

Achieving target weight loss requires lifestyle changes. These changes include regular exercise, a sensible approach to healthy eating and the right mental attitude. This is precisely what our Slimpods are designed to achieve.

As one successful Slimpodder wrote to me the other day: “Thanks to you, I’m normal around food for the first time in 20-plus years and I love it!”


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About Sandra Roycroft-Davis

Sandra Roycroft-Davis DipCHyp HPD NLP Prac MNCH is a Harley Street behavioural change specialist and founder of Sandra qualified as a cognitive hypnotherapist at the Quest Institute and is an NLP Master Practitioner. She specializes in effective and permanent weight loss through her Slimpods - 10-minute hypnotherapy recordings which can be downloaded from her website . She has spent years studying the psychology of eating and weight control and is a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Obesity. Sandra may be contacted on Tel: 020 7760 7596;


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