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No-diet diets

Suzy Mckeever Suzy Mckeever | 11:56 UK time, Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Who’s feeling like they need to lose maybe half a stone? Me. And probably you too. On TV this week we have The Men Who Made Us Fat, reminding us (thanks) that we are larger than we used to be. Yesterday we were informed that ‘More than half of British women's waists are 'too big'’, by Nuffield Health, the health charity.

We all know that we have weight issues, and as a foodie this poses something of a quandary. What we eat is healthy right? All this cooking from scratch (most of the time) is good for us, right? Right. But the issues being raised now go beyond us as individuals and our dinner plates, and remind us that there are greater forces at work, that affect our choices and best intentions.

Bombarded by confectionery?

Think of your daily commute. Go through any train station at home time and survey the snack options: chocolate and crisps from vending machines is the majority of the choice. Stop in at the petrol station kiosk – a wall of confectionery will greet you amongst the petrol fumes.  No wonder cyclists are fit, bike routes don’t have kerb side confectionery outlets – yet.

Being bombarded with high-sugar, high-fat foods is a fact of our lives, and god knows we all like a chocolate bar once in a while. But what to do when it begins to creep up on you? Well, no-diet diets are quietly taking hold. The concept was captured in the 2005 book of the same name, and has been broadly influential. The idea is not about following a prescriptive food plan, but rather gradually altering your habits to help out your waistline.

In my family, we’ve tentatively tested out a few tricks.  Reducing the amount of bread we eat in a week is not going full-on Atkins, but will cut some carbs. Banning crisps from the house doesn’t mean never having them, they’re just not as easily accessible. Whilst we would balk at the constraints of a diet – changing our diet can mean just a few tweaks.

What could you drop? Happily drop? No-diet diets aren't about denying ourselves the things that make our days a little more pleasurable;  there’s a kid in the sweet shop in all of us.

So what are the tweaks you’re making, or considering making? Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but soon and for the rest of your life!

Other no-diet dieters:
Jay Rayner: Chickens will die for my Bikini Body

These people will be no-diet dieters by the end of the show:
Secret Eaters, Channel 4


  • Comment number 1.

    I'm trying the no diet - Atkins diet. Cutting down on carbs and watching the rest. Need to lose more than half a stone!

  • Comment number 2.

    It's by far the best way to lose weight, no dramatic weight loss then trying to figure out how to adapt your lifestyle before you put it back on again. Wish more people would try this way rather than fad diets

  • Comment number 3.

    I am on a program of weight loss and doing quite well. I fully agree that for anyone like myself who have to adjust body mass by a significant amount (nearly 50% in my case) it is important to embark on what will become a permanent change of eating habits. Best to do that gradually over a period of time rather than crash diets so you get used to it. The only difference when I get to my taget weight will be the amount I eat not the choices.

  • Comment number 4.

    Go vegan! Pretty much all the bad stuff is unavailable to you, like red meat and dairy (especially cheese). Takes a bit of willpower but you'll be healthier and more environmentally friendly.

  • Comment number 5.

    I've lost 11 pounds in just under a month...crash dieting? no...I just eat the same things mostly stodgy comfort foods i must admit and my yummy chocolate! The secret of my success? Just cut right down on the portion sizes (even bought myself a smaller plate for encouragement) started to drink more water and upped my exercise level a bit even though i suffer from chronic health problems and am in agony day in day out. There's really no excuse for people saying they can't lose weight...tis all in the mind.

  • Comment number 6.

    Go Paleo - all the bad stuff is off the menu - like sugar and bread and all other processed carbs.

  • Comment number 7.

    The point about available snacks when travelling is spot on. As somebody who has diabetes (and a nut allergy) I can agree it's almost impossible to buy a healthy snack ay these places.

  • Comment number 8.

    What's wrong with bread? I've made it for decades, using good quality flour and seeds. It's not fattening; what you choose to put on it might be. When you consider the world's starving in the Third World, their basic food is carbohydrate but not enough of it. We in the West are spoiled for food.

  • Comment number 9.

    Indeed, there is NO food or beverage, which make us fat or thin... ALL you need to know is your Personal, Daily Energy (Calorie) requirement!! Good Appetite!!!

  • Comment number 10.

    i've been told to reduce my cholesterol so have decided to look at everything I eat. Overnight out went chocolate, dairy products, snacks, crisps, red meat and in has come all the things I though I hated. but a month in and 10 pounds off, I have lost the cravings and also have found I need less to eat. But exercise is a big factor to this. I walk a mile and a half each lunch time instead of sitting at my desk, and I feel great for it.

  • Comment number 11.

    What about the offers in Supermarkets? Current BOGOF in my local supermarket are those reconstituted crisps in a cylinder, various choolate biscuit bars, fizzy drinks. ENOUGH

  • Comment number 12.

    a vegan diet is the best way but if you can't manage that a slow carb diet like tim ferriss recommends is pretty good too. slow carb requires that you have a day where you eat as much junk food as you can possibly can too.


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