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Been There, Done the Diet, Got the Weight Gain

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What I’ve already done is yo-yo dieting.

I was 13 when I first stopped bingeing and cut out all snacks. 3 meals a day, nothing else. I wasn’t hungry, I didn’t want anything else, and I did a very old and hilarious workout video, the mother of all workout videos… Jane Fonda. I can remember the songs, the frequent “woo”s and “yeah!”s, and the men who were very into skin-tight workout wear.

(Update – I’ve looked for this on YouTube for years since we lost the video, and I finally found it! Uploaded 2 months ago, this little gem. Me and my mum are going to do this tonight!)

That was a good time. I lost 1 ½ stone, people complimented me and it was the first time I noticed a difference in how people treat you when you’re bigger compared to when you’re smaller.

I remember getting home from school in the days before and after this period – because it didn’t last – and eat small 5,7,10 chocolate bars in one go, hurriedly stuffing them into my mouth and hiding the wrappers down the back of the sofa or in different bins in the house. Hardly a vomit-inducing binge but I felt a sense of compulsion, a loss of control. (People with Binge-eating Disorder will know that stages of not bingeing would be temporary. (Dr Fairburn explains this in Overcoming Binge Eating))

The feeling of being free from your Eating Disorder, although I didn’t know I was disordered at the time, is incredible. I knew I was controlling what I was eating, I was exercising and enjoying it rather than using it as a punishment, and saying no to food I’d usually binge on was empowering. I felt slightly superior. I was taking control of my life (As much as you can at 13).

This is how I felt during every diet that resulted in weight loss, especially LighterLife. But this feeling was short-lived. Something would click back into place.

After all, a disorder does not come and go, the symptoms can fade or evolve.

The periods of control would worsen the bingeing, and I’d gain the weight I’d lost as well as some more for good measure. If anything proves that restrictive dieting doesn’t work, it’s yo-yo dieting. If you have lost weight and you have every reason to be happier with your body, and then as soon as you finish the diet you put the weight back on? I’m pretty sure that’s a major hint that the method of weight loss didn’t work. It could be an emotional attachment to food or being overly restrictive and therefore the results are unsustainable.

Right now, I’m learning how to eat ‘normally’. Regular meals which minimise the risk of bingeing and healthier meals that don’t upset my blood sugar levels. Exercise is less punishing and more enjoyable, laughing when I make a mistake is an important part of realising that it’s my health and well-being I’m trying to improve, rather than aesthetics.

I know this is the right way forward, but the urge to diet and go back to my old ways are creeping back in. I have to keep reminding myself that I’ve done that before, it didn’t lead me to permanent weight loss, and it’s my attitude that needs to change, rather than the diet.

I’m gritting my teeth and sticking with baby steps to success. When I think of re-learning how to eat properly I think I should be moving faster, but since planning 3 meals a day is overwhelming, let alone incorporating regular healthy snacks, it’s necessary.

Are you doing things you aren’t comfortable with? Do you have the urge to go back to what you were doing before, in the hopes that it’ll turn out differently this time? Tell me I’m not the only one who’s fallen into this trap!


P.s. If anyone decides to do the Jane Fonda or Pump It Up workout please let me know which one if your favourite, both are on YouTube (the Pump It Up workout has a few more parts).