Sunday 25 August 2019

Brendan O'Connor: My seven secrets to easy weight loss

I will often enjoy a bit of chocolate when I am tired or bored or as a treat
I will often enjoy a bit of chocolate when I am tired or bored or as a treat
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

I think we'll wrap up the Diet of Diets because I can sense some of you might be getting bored. And yes, I acknowledge that some of you will be wondering if I'm so bloody intuitive about sensing what the reader wants, how come I didn't stop the diet writing three weeks ago?

As things stand I've lost 11 pounds in five weeks. Three pounds in week one and two pounds a week after that, like clockwork. I have another half a stone I need to shift but I will spare you the details. Also I'm going away next week so the idea of having no breakfast would be ridiculous. I'll be having the standard three-course buffet breakfast every day. You have to get the value, don't you?

Before we leave it I think there are certain lessons we can all take away from this experience. The first one, and the main one, is that it's easy not to eat any breakfast. It might not be easy for everyone, but it certainly didn't bother me. Tell me to fast 15 or 16 hours of the day and I would say not a hope. But stop eating at 8pm and don't eat until 11 or 12 the next day is no problem whatsoever. So I'm not thinking about it as 'intermittent fasting' or 'two-meal days'. I'm just thinking of it as not eating any breakfast. And once you are in the habit of it it's fine. Well it is for me anyway.

Secondly, we should remember that one good habit tends to create other good habits. If you are not eating breakfast and you find you are losing weight, then you are less likely to mindlessly eat a Mars bar at lunchtime. Indeed, you might not even want to eat a Mars bar at lunchtime. You might also find you start exercising. Having been out of the pool for a few months, I've gone back to a vigorous swim in the morning and I feel pretty good after it.

Thirdly, do not base weight loss on banning foods or limiting foods. In my experience that just makes you obsessed with food and obsessed with particular foodstuffs. Nothing is banned on my diet. You just don't eat breakfast. When you do eat, you eat what you want and you enjoy it. Just don't go overboard.

Fourthly, it's probably better to eat carbs in moderation. You know this anyway, and now that we are hopefully coming out of the real depths of winter you won't feel the craving for stodge so much. Don't demonise any foods but don't abuse them either. You can eat a nice portion of spuds with butter but you don't need to eat them until you want to fall asleep. Carb bingeing can sometimes be a form of seeking oblivion, to push down feelings. Let's try and enjoy a piece of nice bread or a few spuds or whatever without going crazy on it and without recriminations.

Fifth, we need treats. People will often claim that emotional eating is a problem. But what other kind of eating is there? Eating makes me feel good. I enjoy it and I often feel better afterwards. I will often enjoy a bit of chocolate when I am tired or bored or when I want to treat myself. That does not make me a bad person. But again, try not to eat the whole king-sized bar.

Sixth, fruit can actually be quite nice. Just find one you like and use it for snacks and treats. Maybe even splash out a bit on it.

And finally eating more greens and veg, and drinking more water seems to be helpful. The qualifier on all this is that the next time we talk, I may have been pigging out for a week and I will feel like all self control has gone out of the window. It will be hard to start good habits again but I will do it.

If you are trying to lose weight good luck with it. It's not easy but even half way through my latest weight loss odyssey I can tell you it is worth it. I feel much better in myself and much healthier. I know we're not allowed to say that anymore but that's the truth.

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