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Understanding Our Relationship With Food

by Dave on July 29, 2009


This post is part of the weight loss tips series. And was originally posted at the end of  June 2009 when I will still losing weight.

I keep getting asked about losing weight as a retired dieter and how is that possible if you are not following a diet, so I thought I would try and explain it in more detail.

As a retired dieter I do not follow any typical type of diet, this means I do not follow a low carb diet, I do not follow a low fat , high carb diet, I do not do a Paleo diet, a Fruitarian diet or a Warrior Diet. In other words I do not follow a way of eating that says a certain food group is wrong, or bad for you

I believe ( And I think a 20 kilo weight loss this year backs  up that belief ) that to lose weight, you have to be in a calorie deficit. In other words you have to take in less calories than your body needs.

Update September 2010  My total weight lost as a retired dieter is 30 kilos, a further 10 kilos since this post was written.

I leave the Internet arguments of what is the wrong and right way to eat to others, I do not fret over micro nutrients, metabolism boosters , super foods etc.

Diets have rules, having to follow rules set you up for failure, as a retired dieter I have no rules to follow.

I try and eat a varied number of foods and enjoy the foods I eat.

When I decided to become a retired dieter my goal was to find a way to eat less by understanding my relationship with food.

I achieve my calorie deficit by using Intermittent Fasting ( going up to 24hrs without food while still eating every day ) and a greater understanding of my relationship with food .

I was no different to most people who are overweight . The main thing I was doing was underestimating the amount of calories I was eating. To give one example,I wrote a post in march about mindless eating and eating triggers where because I was now using intermittent fasting  I realised I had been consuming 3000 calories per week in snacks from the habit of having a coffee with milk and I always had some form of cookie with it. If I had black coffee or fruit tea , I did not reach for the cookie jar. This one small change was the equivalent on almost 1lb of fat per week.

My advice to anyone wanting to lose weight is to start to keep a food diary of what you eat. Don’t start a diet and then do the diary, just start recording what you eat on a normal day, do not change any of your normal routine and do it for at least 7 days, I actually did it for 14 days. I found when I looked back at the diary, clear patterns in my eating habits.  So much of how we eat  comes from habit triggers, when you can identify those triggers, and start to understand your own relationship with f0od you will lose weight.

As I wrote earlier I don’t have rules as a retired dieter, but here are 5 tips if you want to lose weight.

1 Understand we are all different, there is no wrong or right food to eat to lose weight, it is about finding what works for you and your lifestyle. You will lose weight if you are in a calorie deficit, how you achieve that deficit is less important, so long as you can sustain it until you reach your target.

2 Start to keep a food diary. Write down everything you eat and drink for at least the next 7 days. Recording your normal eating  routine will help you identify where you can reduce the number of calories you eat.

3 Go without food for 24hrs. Do it at the time that is best for you 6pm – 6pm, 2pm to 2pm, it does not matter, you will start to learn more about your relationship with food while not eating  than at any other time. Try it at least once. You will learn a lot about yourself and your food habbits.

4 Keep your goals realistic. At the start of this year I needed to lose 56lbs , I set  a target of 52 weeks to do so. I did not gain the 56lbs in a month, so I did not expect to lose it in a month .

5 Do resistance training at least twice per week to maintain muscle. I only do body weight exercises, I am not a member of a gym, so you have no excuses, you don’t need a gym to for resistance training.


I realise Fasting to lose weight is not for everybody, so I also suggest you take a look at John Barban’s Anything Goes Diet

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