Thursday, 6 September 2012

The no scale diet challenge: A month on

Like a giddy kid excited for the visit of Santa on Christmas day, and desperate to go to bed as soon as possible on Christmas Eve, there I was last night, wanting it to be bed time by 7:30pm. Yesterday was the last day of my first month of diet - a whole grueling month of dieting without a scale and let me tell you it is probably the hardest thing I have ever done.

A month ago, on 6th August, I embarked on a very unconventional weight loss diet, a diet where I forbid  myself the use of scales for the first month. I really really really wanted to stay away from a scale and not to weigh for the first month. I don't last long on diets, you see and I have the awful habit of weighing myself too often during a diet, sometimes once a day, sometimes many times in a single day. I know I shouldn't but I just cannot help myself. This has has  dramatic consequences on me and triggers what I'd like to call the spiral of doom.

The spiral of doom
Discouraged by the low score of my second week of dieting - if I have lasted that long that is - I tend to go on a binge. I enjoy the binge so much that the binge ends up lasting a week. Then I feel guilty, I want to diet again and 'this time for real'. Then there's some meal or some occasion planned for the following week which, then clashes with any diet I could start, so the whole diet thing is further delayed until the 'right time' arrives. Until then, I think that there is no point limiting food intake, that I might just eat what I want and then obviously I put on the mere pounds I had lost during the little time I was on diet. The 'right time' to be on a diet arrives and I start the diet, committed as ever, weigh myself constantly, gives up in my second week, and I am back to square one. A year and a half later, I am 1 stone and a half heavier than my all life weight and I just feel rubbish.

So I decided that enough was enough and it was time to use a drastic method, in a bid to maximize my chances of sticking to my diet.

I am so addicted to food that if there's ready-to-eat food in the house, I will eat it. I can't buy a multi pack of crisps, I can't buy a loaf of bread, I can't keep a box of chocolates because I just cannot stay there in the house, knowing that this delicious food is lying around, waiting to be eaten. This a problem I have and the only way I can control it is not to have ready-to-eat food in the house, at all. If I want a packet of crisps, I ll go to the corner shop, buy one, eat it and it's done. Bread is only bought at Christmas where I'll eat a whole loaf in 2 days. This all sound a bit sad and very drastic but it's the only way that works me. So I decided to be as drastic as I am with my ready to eat food rule in the house and decided to abandon my scale in a place I knew I couldn't reach for a month.

I can't tell you how hard this has been. It feels like I have been dieting in the dark, not knowing if I am on the right track or not. The desire to weigh myself has been so high that, at times I've been craving more stepping on a scale than actual naughty food I couldnt have. It's crazy.

The wait is over. A month has passed now. Last night I was reunited with my scale. I don't know what the score will be. My colleagues who hadn't seen me for a month thought I was slimmer, even the ones who didn't know I was going to embark on a homemade diet bootcamp for a month. But then again, you always tend to feel that people have changed when you haven't seen them a month.


I know I've lost some weight, my diet consultant told me I lost some inches on my thighs and this is the only thing I had to keep me going and motivated. It has encouraged me, but you know, it's not the same as seeing the figure dropping down on your scale. I don't know how much I should expect to have lost in a month where I really really have given my all. I have expectations, I have an expected figure in my head, I am scared. I am scared to be disappointed and I am trying to congratulate myself for having stuck to the diet for 4 long hard weeks.

It is now the morning on 6 September. I am scared to jump on the scale.

I have lost this amount in a month.

So how do I feel about it?
A mix of emotions really. I wanted to have lost 1 kilo more (around 2 pounds more) as I gave it my absolute  all for the past month. I had saved all my days of leave to take a month off work to entirely devote it to my diet, and do some sort of diet bootcamp at home. While people relax on their holidays, I spent mine on diet shakes, at home, on my own so I would have really liked to have achieved my target. I wanted to go to the cinema at some point but I couldn't even do that, as the diet I am doing requires the drinking of 2.5 to 3 litres of water a day and that this is not quite compatible with the cinema really. Seeing a figure lower than '60' on the scale would have been so good for my morale and I can't hide it, I am disappointed.

On the other hand, I am super proud of myself to have stuck to a diet for 4 weeks with not having binged. I just wished I just had let myself go so much and put on so much weight. I am on the right track but there is still a long way to go.

I am not sure what I'll do next. Shall I just keep my scale at work again and not weigh myself before a month has elapsed (6 October)? It helped me so far. Although I am disappointed with my score, and that I have no problem picturing a big fat domino's pizza in my mouth right now, I feel like it would be a shame to binge and ruin my diet because I've come a long way and lasted a whole month. Shall I leave my scale at work again?

Could you 'diet in the dark', resist the temptation of weighing yourself and physically get rid of your scale for a month?


Leanne said...

Your relationship with food and your body really worries me Liloo. I know that EVERYBODY says it to EVERYBODY, even people that actually are overweight, but you really honestly don't need to be losing weight. You're a tiny little thing as it is, I dread to think how you must be having lost three quarters of a stone. You must be skin and bone. :(

Leanne said...

And besides, dieting is a vicious circle. You CAN'T stick to a strict diet forever, it's just not possible and not feasible because the longer you're 'depriving' yourself of something, the more you want it and it's only a matter of time before you give in and binge. Your binge will last for days, and you'll be back to square one AGAIN. It's really not healthy to have your weight yo-yo-ing like that.

If you really do want to lose weight and KEEP it off, it requires a lifestyle change rather than a crash diet - especially when its supplemented with diet shakes and things, the idea of those absolutely terrifies me, god knows what's in them and how dangerous they could be. It's a case of eating sensibly for the rest of your life, plenty of complex carbs (fruit and veggies), enough protein and not too many carbs. There's no reason you can't treat yourself to a pizza or a bit of cake or whatever every once in a while.

Beauty's Bad Habit said...

Liloo, that's an AMAZING loss for one month! You shouldn't feel disappointed because honestly, that's a healthy rate to lose it at - especially when you're a woman who isn't exactly 'large' anyway. Well done, lady! Like Leanne, I think you look gorgeous without having to lose weight but hey - it's your body and your happiness so GO YOU! *cheers*

Rebecca.Ann said...

I think you have done fabulous, on both accounts, the weight you have lost and sticking to it for the whole four weeks, I definitely could not have done it, absolutely no way. Despite how many times I'd tell myself no, it's for the best, I would have just given in. I'm like you with the spiral of doom, if I don't see movement on them figures on the scales then that's it, what's the point, ass the crisps! Ha.
You've still lost a great deal and I bet you can really tell in the way you look and feel, and definitely other will see that sort of difference too :) xx

Scotlass99 said...

You've done fantastically well to lose that in a month. Like the others who have commented, I also think the diet you've chosen isn't sustainable in the long-term though. You need to find the diet that fits you, for me that is Slimming World as there is no strict weighing and measuring of certain foods (although unfortunately Haagen Daz isn't one of them...!) and that suits me! I'm also intrigued by the fasting diet which was on the BBC Horizon programme a couple of weeks ago but I'm not sure if fasting encourages unhealthy eating habits. If you do think that you may have a problem with your relationship with food I would encourage you to discuss it with your GP, I know they can be dismissive sometimes but there may be a service which can help you with this! Best of luck with it :)

Hannah said...

That is a remarkable weight loss Liloo, you're only slim anyway and I sometimes think its harder for people who aren't overweight to shift the pounds and get down to that dream number on the scales. I understand how you feel about them though, I'd weigh myself twice a day if I could but my mum had banned scales from our house and now I've moved out I can't let myself buy any, instead I use my clothing to gauge weigh loss as well as cutting out little things like bread and milk (ie. by drinking herbal tea only), I feel it helps sustain my weight rather than concentrating on losing weight all of the time :o) xxxx

liloo said...

Leanne: when I met you, you met me at my thinnest. Since I last saw you, I had put on 1 stone and a half of weight. I am currently 60.5 kilos and all I want to is to get back to 55 kilos (bmi 23) which would then allow me to wear all my favourite clothes. I am not trying to be skin and bones, just fitting my clothes but I appreciate your concern. My diet is diet shakes and real food at night, but I just summarise it at 'diet shakes' as it's mainly diet shakes as I have during the day. I am looking forward to the time when I can maintain my weight and a more varied mix of foods like normal people.

Lily: thank you :) Again, when you last saw me, I was at my thinnest. Lots of things happened since, a stone and a half of weight put on, amongst other things xx

Rebecca Ann: Thank you, my spiral of doom friend :) xx

Hannah: Whilst I am definitely not obese, but I am officially in the overweight category. I would not call myself 'slim' but I shall take that as a compliment anyway :) xx

liloo said...

Scotlass: My diet is high protein shakes and real food at night, but since most of the day i am on shakes and that the real food thing happens at night, I summarise it as 'just diet shakes' only. GPs dont want to hear about my relationship because I am not obese xx

30SomethingMel said...

Firstly my beautiful Liloo, well done on the weight loss! Any kind of loss is a positive thing, but like you I set a 'goal' in my head for the week, month or whatever and if I don't make that goal I feel like a let down.
I don't know if I could do it without scales. I tend to use WiiFit as I don't have an actual pair of scales in the house and when I can exercise (Health issues don't always permit it), the WiiFit I feel is bad because it almost drums into you that you should do your daily body test?!
I really hold my hands up to you and applaud though, you've done amazingly well and I would be interested to see how you do your second month if you did a month of no scales again.
Either way hun, I hope you keep up the good work - I think you look beautiful either way :) xx

♥ Sara || Pretty In Pink || Beauty || Fashion || Music || UK ♥ said...

Well done hun!

I am doing a similar thing right now, trying so hard not to wimp out and eat badly!

Jo said...

Well done with the weight loss that's nearly half way to your goal weight now! If you are thinking that it isn't a good result go and get a bag and fill it with tins of food until you get to the amount of weight that you have lost then go and walk around with it - then you will realise that it is a great weight loss!

Do not binge and do not start eating unhealthy food, just keep going. It sounds like you would be hopping on and off the scales if they were at home which would lead to the vicious cycle that you are trying to break so maybe you should take them away again for a month.

Weight is a very personal thing, I know you don't have a huge amount to lose but I know that if your weight makes you unhappy that you should do something about it so well done on taking the first steps to a new you :) I know you have support alongside the shakes and that they are nutritionally balanced so you are getting everything your body needs and hopefully breaking the diet/binge cycle as well. My friends lost 5 stone on a plan like this one and she has kept it all off (apart from half a stone) so I know it can be done and she feels amazing.

Thank you for sharing your weight loss journey with us and I look forward to seeing how you get on this month. I'm calorie counting and exercising using My Fitness Pal and I find it is keeping me on track and I'm just going to keep plodding along - I have about 2 1/2 stone to lose so it's going to take me a while!

I find myself doing the binge thing too and because of that I don't think Slimming World is suitable for people like us, no control of portion sizes means I could eat for Britain!

Anyway good luck my pinky friend and sorry for the LONG post! xx

xXxStundonxXx said...

You have done so well and should definitely not be disappointed, the number may not be what you wanted but it is still a great loss and, as you say, you did very well just sticking to it! You should be proud of yourself.
I think the idea of not weighing is a great one, I weigh every day when I'm on a diet and when it goes wrong I binge on chocolate as I wonder what is the point of dieting. Maybe I should bin my scales! x

Robyn said...

I think that's a 'perfect' amount to lose - I know people who've lost a lot more in a similar amount of time and it goes straight back on again. It's much healthier to go slowly and change your habits, blah blah. Keep the scales out of the house! I don't use them because I get obsessed with them as well. It's just a number!

jaljen said...

I haven't weighed myself since I was anorexic in my late 20s. It just became a competition with myself to see how low I could go. And I did go low. I had no periods for 2 years. TMI???

No scales. Sit down and pinch the flab at your midriff. If it's a big spare tyre then you need to diet for longer. If it isn't then just eat healthily. Or just eat healthily.

The stats are pointless. If you have flab you're too fat. If you have lots of muscle you won't have flab but you will be quite heavy.

Anonymous said...

You've done really well to stick to a diet for that long. I think that you shouldn't look at your scales again for another month and be proud with the amount you have lost because that is fantastic!

You should infact not use your scales at all and measure your 'weight' by how you look and how you feel as that is more important than a number that you might be disappointed by!

Keep it up!


Emma said...

That's a really interesting perspective, see I'm the opposite, I hate to hop on the scales because I am working out at the gym 4 times a week at the moment so inevitably I am putting on weight as my fat burns to muscle. And my diet isn't great - I've never been able to do a hardcore diet for more than a few weeks. You should be so proud of what you've achieved, it shows so much willpower!! xx

Saby Saby said...

I read a book once, called "The only diet there is" The book basically stated that the only diet there is is self love. A couple years later, I went trough some personal problems which made me love myself more. Guess what? I started losing weight :-) without any inch of dieting and self control. It's true !

KittyBonkers said...

Wow that is an amazing weight loss! And congratulations on sticking too your diet and not weighing yourself for so long! Sometimes it isn't about the amount on the scales, but how you feel. You can put muscle on if you are doing certain exercises and muscle will weigh more than fat! Once you start feeling good, that's when you know that diet definitely working like you want :D

Kitty x

Fashion Bandit said...

Wow this is a really interesting post. I think you've done amazingly and the amount you've lost is nothing to be scoffed at, so please don't beat your self up that you haven't lost as much as you wanted. I have dieted and changed my eating habits a lot in the past year and within 12 months lost 1.5 stone. I actually felt like I'd lost too much so purposefully put a bit of weight back on. In fact it scared me losing weight like I did, because I'd never managed it before. When I was dieting I didn't weigh myself very often, maybe once a week, or once every couple of weeks, and I think it helped to give an overall picture instead of rewarding/berating myself on a daily basis. I have never heard of dieting in the dark but it obviously worked for you. My diet was more of a calorie counting mission using an app, which worked for me. I think it is about finding a method that works for you and that you can sustain and be happy with long term. Interested to see what you do next? xx

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