Have you ever been in a slimming group when everyone has stepped on the scale and lost a couple of pounds, but as you step on the scale the group leader doesn’t lift her eyes, and mutters either “No loss” or “Gained 3 pounds.”
You feel frustrated, but then feel determined to stick with the plan better in order to shift some stubborn pounds. You resolve to eat lots of vegetables, and not to snack too much. Definitely no alcohol and definitely no sugar.
As the week goes on, your willpower weakens. You have a slice of bread as you’re feeling so hungry. You then start munching away of other things that you had said were ‘off-limits’. It doesn’t take long for this to turn into a bit of a binge. Feelings of anger and disappointment soon follow.
Does this sound familiar to you?
You might think that your willpower is to blame, or at least some other part of your personality that just doesn’t stick with things very well.
Does the cycle of ‘being good’ and then ‘being very bad’ sound like a scenario you know very well?
The thing with slimming clubs is, quite simply, that they don’t work.
Often, people believe it’s their own personal failings that are fault for the weight not being lost. But that’s not the case at all.
Many people who don’t lose weight via a slimming club diet have no shortage of willpower, determination or grit. You can probably think of lots of times when you’ve had to stick out a difficult task, or gather the energy to get on with a project at home or at work.
The problem isn’t you. The problem is the slimming group.
You see, the unfortunate thing here is that for a business (like a slimming club) to make money, it needs to have repeat customers. If there is only one product for sale at a company, they have to make that product fail at some point so that the customer returns for a new upgrade or to try it again.
Diets and business go hand in hand, because diets fail – eventually. This means that, in the beginning, they aren’t so terrible, and can often give some good results at some point. This means that the customer has faith that the product (the diet) works. But the long term success rate of any intentional weight loss diet is abysmal.
Diets don’t work.
Especially not for sustainable weight loss and for a sustainable way of eating that doesn’t trigger, or even create, disordered eating behaviours and obsessive thinking.
The issue is that many individuals blame themselves.
Slimming clubs or groups seem like a good idea. They involve accountability, and you get to join in with that group feeling. You’re not alone, and you have other people to chat to about the same sorts of interests and commonalities.
But slimming groups are often very shame based. There is a very clear idea of what is right, and what is correct, and that is: weight loss.
That is the only goal, the main aim, and the primary focus.
Lose weight. End of story.
Slimming groups also have the feel of a primary school class. It’s like when you’re six years old and you approach the teacher with your homework. You’re hoping for a smile, a nod, or a gold star. When you get it, it feels so good. You feel validated and have a sense of achievement. But if the teacher gives you a frown, or a big red cross on your paper, you feel so dejected that it’s easy to slip into negative thinking and self-doubt.
Eating should never be like homework.
There is no correct way of eating.
It is absolutely absurd to stick with one way of eating that is prescribed from someone else.
The only way of eating is whatever feels right for you day, by day, mood by mood, or year by year.
Weight loss should never be the sole focus of any way of eating. It can easily lead to disconnecting from your feelings around food, it can lead to obsessive thinking, and feeling stressed about eating ‘correctly’.
What a horrible way to eat!
Even though many people seem to find success on a slimming group – we don’t know the true cost of that ‘success’.
It is success to lose weight, but fear food groups?
Is it success to lose weight, but obsess about calories?
It is success to lose weight, but weigh yourself and your food every single day (and let it determine your mood?)
I don’t see these as markers of success.
Eating needs to be fun, pleasurable, and tasty without any shame, weighing, or punishment involved at all.
Your slimming club isn’t working for you because it never meant to work. There’s a reason they spend millions of pounds marketing their ‘successes’ via magazines and adverts. It’s because they need to keep the idea that they are relevant going for as long as possible.
If you are starting to question whether you join a slimming club or group, I hope you’ll decide against it.
You can feel validated, appreciated and accepted in other groups that don’t make you feel like a piece of sh*t for having eaten some food like any regular person.
You can enjoy food, outside of a slimming club’s rules, without feeling scared of that food.
You can lose some weight if you want to, by learning to come into balance with yourself and your mindset.
Food needs to be balanced, and so does your mindset.
Slimming clubs can really muck up your internal sense of balance. You need to feel good about yourself outside of your weight. This takes a long time, and you’re not going to get this extremely important life-skill by standing on a weighing scale in front of a judgemental rule lover.
If you are looking for a different way of approaching your food, without dieting or sticking to a plan, whilst finding balance, joy and confidence within yourself, my 1:1 coaching programmes are designed to support you in finding a fantastic relationship with food that you’ll have for life.
Eat Happy 1:1 Coaching
Enjoy food, without dieting! Learn how to feel good about eating, and feel good about yourself.