Posted by: Adele | 2009-07-21


Hello there,

Please excuse this long-winded explanation and all the questions I am about to ask, but I am at my wits end with all this diet and exercise. About 5 months ago, I joined the gym (after 15 years of non-exercise), and went on an energy controlled diet, cut out red meat drastically and replaced with chicken and fish and started exercising 3-4 times per week. After the first 2 months I lost approx. 3kgs and felt really good and looked even better. About a month ago, (and I have no better way to explain this), but I think I got ' diet fatigue'  –  didn’ t want to know about it anymore and wasn’ t interested in the gym - the evenings at home munching on sweets were much more alluring - why I went back to my old ways after I had done so well and could see results I am unsure. I think I have put back on about 1.5kgs - can feel clothes are tighter and scale is showing it too. What I have realised about myself is that it' s either all or nothing with me and I have this mind-set that if my diet isn’ t right I cannot exercise as it will not help –  I have read so many articles that say this so its like I HAVE to be on a ' diet'  when I am gyming and this just seems to cause extra stress and pressure for me as I really LOVE food - sometimes I think I eat for pleasure and not energy and sustenance. I was always a little overweight as a child but have sat between 59-64kgs (I am 1.61m in height and 33yrs of age) for the last 10 years and am tired of this rollercoaster of weight loss and gain. People around me say I look good (and I know I am not far from my BMI) but I have a vision of what I would like to look like (tighter and toned, with a little less layers around the hips and legs) and how I should be eating –  funny, I know all the rules about diet and exercise and could tell you the fat content, kilojoules and carb content of most foods and drink (my collegues say I should be a personal trainer), but it’ s like even though I have the knowledge I just cannot apply it for long. I am constantly craving the naughty foods (especially this winter) and have lost all hope that I will ever stick to anything I start. I know that if I actually did get to where I want to be I would probably do all in my power to stay there, but I’ m really not sure how to get back on the right track –  I am hungry ALL the time –  I am on a path to self-destruction and undoing everything I did. Do you think a dietician may help me? Thank you for your constant good advise.

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Our expert says:
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Dear Adele
I think that you have reached a point in your life where dieting, exercise and physical appearance are becoming an obsession and also possibly a way of giving meaning to your life (?). If this is the case, then you would subconsciously sabotage yourself because once you have reached your goal and are thin (your present BMI of 23 if you weigh 59 kg is very close to ideal), then one of your main interests in life will have disappeared. I would recommend that you first consult a clinical psychologist (ask you gp to refer you) so that you can explore why you are on this endless road and keep on turning back. You may discover that your inability to "succeed" is not in any way related to your weight, but is based on psychological factors that need to be sorted out so that you can lose those last 2 kg or go to the gym regularly to tone and tighten up.
Thank you for your kind words and good luck on this journey of exploration.
Best regards

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Our users say:
Posted by: ADELE | 2009-07-21

I have just read something EXTREMELY interesting and VERY exciting that may have answered my own questions above –  I just read the article on this site regarding physiology and psychology of food cravings. Some points in the article are me exactly.
“ Binge eating disorders are associated with low serotonin levels that are in turn linked to food cravings” . “ Periods of semi-starvation will just make cravings worse” . “ We need carbs if we are to function without cravings” . “ SAD increases carb cravings (creamy cakes, biscuits, mashed potato in excess” . Also the serotonin and mood disorders are definitely relevant –  I have for a long time suffered from these –  am now on medication (for anxiety as well) and was worried meds would lead to weight gain, but am now more convinced that these serotonin re-uptake inhibitors may just help!!!!!! What do you think??????

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