I’ve tried every diet under the sun, from groups to online planners, to the Cabbage diet to the Atkins revolution and I failed miserably at each one.

My weight has always been up and down and so after the latest failure I decided to take a good look at my life and eating habits to see the differences in my diet from when I was slim to now.

Losing Control

I looked back at diets that didn’t work and saw a pattern. No sooner had I committed to following a plan than I would cheat. It was in my nature to be a little bit naughty and it seemed I didn’t like being told what I could and couldn’t eat, so I’d subconsciously rebel.

Then I looked back on the times when I was slim and happy without really trying. I spotted some key differences that I could apply to my current life.

I realised that during these times my life was full. I had an active social life, the children had many activities and I rarely had time for meals let alone snacking in front of the TV. Instead of curling up in front of the googlebox for an evening, I’d be washing, cleaning, ironing and preparing for the next day.

As life had progressed and I started to work full time from a desk, my evenings became much the same day after day. Dinner, bath, something good on the TV and then of course snacks.

Drinks Make the Difference

I noticed that the more I sat down the more coffee I drank. During a days work I would easily drink 5 cups of coffee and 3 cups of tea. This in itself wasn’t a problem but when I added up the calories I found that I was consuming on average 1000 calories a day through drinks alone.

This revelation had me looking a little bit closer at everything I consumed.

I made some shocking discoveries, such as the mayonnaise I added to salads was laden with calories. In fact with a serving I was adding a few hundred to my meals everyday.

I also learned that although I considered high juices and real fruit juices to be better for me than squash stuffed with sweeteners, my waistline was paying the price.

The Day it all Changed

It wasn’t easy seeing the calories pile up. Adding up everything from ketchup to sugar on cornflakes brought me out in a sweat. Suddenly it was obvious why I was piling on the weight despite having what I considered to be a healthy diet.

I knew if I made radical changes that I’d soon become disheartened and would rebel against the restrictions and so I made changes I believed I could continue to follow for life.

These included:

Using natural yogurt instead of cream, sour cream or mayonnaise. This was an easy change, I added vanilla to sweeten it for desserts, lemon juice when adding it to salads and had it completely plain when using it as sour cream on a chilli.

  • Using honey instead of sugar as a sweetener.
  • Diluting fresh juice with water.
  • Swapping butter for spread.
  • Swapping white pasta, bread and rice for brown.

I’m now a weight I’m happy with and don’t feel as though I’ve made any sacrifice at all. I do check the calories of everything I eat now as even foods I thought were healthy, such as pumpkin seeds, are packed with calories.

Extra Exercise

Along with the counting calories or being food aware, I also thought about the reward system. Usually after exercise my reward would be a slice of cake but now I needed something different. A friend suggested I sign up to LivingWell Health Clubs, I could work out and then join her afterwards in the Jacuzzi. I was hooked. I am not, however, divulging how much time I spend in the gym compared to how much I spend in the steam room! Let’s just say, my skin has never looked better.