My history with dieting started many years ago when I was 16 and at college. I was a normal healthy weight, maybe with a little 'puppy fat'. Other girls around me were starting to talk about weight loss and dieting and I jumped on the bandwagon, not realising what far reaching consequences this would have on my life.
I was a classic yoyo dieter, and would obsessively count calories for weeks, losing about half a stone and then suddenly my self control would snap and I would binge eat and put it all back on again. Luckily my binging and dieting never developed into a serious eating disorder and my weight would only change by 7 - 10lbs either side, but even so it was enough that I had clothes that I considered 'fat' clothes and those I could only wear when I was dieting.
This pattern continued into my twenties and early thirties. By this time I had become very interested in health and nutrition and decided to become a vegetarian. I embarked on what I thought was a very healthy diet of huge amounts of vegetables and fruits and lots of beans, legumes and of course typical carb rich veggie foods like pasta bakes. I didn't eat meat for about 6 years until I became pregnant with twins at 40 and five months into the pregnancy craved meat so badly that my husband had to take me out for dinner for a hearty lamb stew! I began eating meat again as I recognised that my body was telling me what it needed and that was probably the first time I properly listened and gave it what it really needed.
After a successful but fairly gruelling pregnancy and with two babies to look after I tended to eat more or less what I wanted but still with an eye on what was considered heathy eating, ie whole grain carbs making up a good part of my diet with plenty of fruit and veg. I avoided fats like butter, full fat milk and yogurt substituting them for low fat versions. I did lose my baby fat by running round after my two small children but was still was a bit of a yoyo dieter, where I would have 'good' weeks and 'bad' weeks.
My twins are 10 now which of course makes me over 50! Having children late made me even more interested in health and nutrition as I want to be around as long as possible. At 50 I am in slimmer and in better shape than I have ever been and I have banished the yoyo dieting for good I think. So, how have I done this? About two years ago I stumbled on some information on the paleo/primal diet whilst searching for some information about IBS which I was suffering from (I now realise that it was the whole grains that were causing me the problems). This diet, which is basically eating how were evolved to eat, meat, fish, eggs, veggies, nuts and berries and healthy fats has made a huge difference to how I look and feel. I'm convinced that the traditional weight loss diets eating high carb, low fat and counting calories (or even worse the no-food diets) cause food cravings and huger that our bodies just can't ignore for too long. Eating paleo/primal gives you a way to lose weight without the hunger and cravings that cause us to fall off the diet wagon and put all the weight back on.
My next post will talk about how I make the paleo/primal diet work for me and how you can still eat out and enjoy life which of course will help to sustain your motivation. Watch this space!