In her short, accessible workbook, Sylvie Boulay offers a new approach to weight loss based on the principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Rather than proposing a particular diet, this workbook offers practical tools to help slimmers adhere to whatever plan they have chosen. We are happy to share a short extract from Sylvie’s book here, where she addresses the difficult period after a successful diet.
Whether or not you have already lost any weight, it is crucial to plan ahead anyway. Just imagine how you might feel once you have reached your target weight and try to predict what might happen next.
Losing weight is not easy, but for most, maintaining weight loss is even more difficult. You may have kept to a diet for several weeks by dreaming of your wonderful life when all the weight has gone. A set end weight which you rarely achieve can become a magical fantasy: ‘When I am 140 pounds, I will be happy, irresistible, successful; my life will be so much easier…’
In reality, when you reach your target weight you may find that little has changed beyond your weight loss. You may be disappointed that you do not look as you expected: for instance, if you shed a considerable amount of weight you may end up with some areas of loose skin. You may no longer like the ‘slim’ clothes in your wardrobe that you dreamed of wearing again.
There is a big emotional adjustment to be made as you reach your target. Your life may not be very different and it may be difficult to accept what you hoped for hasn’t quite come true. If you used food as a way of managing strong emotions, it will take some time to find alternative and better ways of coping. If you feel a little disappointed, it is worth making a list of all the things, big and small, that have improved in your life (a lot of minor changes can add up to a significant improvement in wellbeing.)
Example: Joanna lost almost four stones and has maintained her weight loss for a year. She feels fit and can climb stairs without being out of breath. She enjoys shopping for clothes and has a whole new wardrobe. She is much more comfortable with her body but there are still some areas she is unhappy with. She doesn’t like the small rolls of fat on her waist and knees which exercise doesn’t seem to shift. Mostly she misses her old daydreams of a perfect life at her desired weight. She is healthier and slimmer, but nothing else has really changed. She doesn’t look like the models in magazines and, although her legs are considerably slimmer, she still struggles to find jeans that look good. Her friends are used to her new size and no longer compliment her on her weight loss. Yet, unexpectedly, she has discovered a new hobby she loves. She recently completed a five-kilometre fun run for charity with some friends and is very proud of her photo at the finishing line. She got such a sense of achievement that she entered a ten-kilometre race in six months’ time.