Below is the interview with Natalie, done 21 July 2009 Tuesday, 17:00:00 your time.
Are you overweight? Or have you ever been overweight?
Yes, i'm overweight and have been for the last few years
If you are overweight, what do you think is the reason FOR YOU?
For a long time i thought i was big because my family is, or that i have a slower metabolism than over people. This last year though i've come to realise that i really am overweight because i eat too much and exercise too little! I have no excuse - i'm medically ok. I've been living in denial. I think my portion sizes need to be watched, and i need to be more careful about 'grazing' on snacks and not realising that i'm doing it.
What do you think is the reason FOR OTHER OVERWEIGHT PEOPLE?
Other people are overweight because they eat too much, and exercise too little! Same reason as me. Even people with medical conditions can lose weight if they try, so this is no excuse. My sister is also overweight, and she's in massive denial about how she eats. I think a lot of people over eat because its some kind of emotional crutch too, or they just don't know any better. I do this too - food is much more socially acceptable to use as a pick up than drink or drugs afterall. I think the best thing us overweight people can do is accept that we are eating badly, and try to slowly change our habits.
Are you on a diet at the moment?
I'm not on what i would class as a 'diet' because i'm not counting calories or following rules, but i am certainly trying to cut down my portion sizes, and i'm using less fats in my food and conciously trying to make better food choices. Its working slowly! I am going to start counting calories though, as this is sensible. And i need to exercise in some form!
What does diet mean for you?
a- Not to eat and starve myself.
b- Cutting the calories.
c- Cutting the calories plus increasing the exercise.
d- Getting all the things my body needs with less calories.
e- Getting all the things my body needs with less calories plus increasing the exercise.
f- Eating as usual but increasing the exercise.
g- Healthy life style.
h- Your own definition. Please type.
A diet means to cut calories and exercise, but to me the best way to lose weight is to eat loads! Sounds stupid, but if you plan 3 healthy meals and 2 large healthy snacks then you're never hungry or tempted to snack on bad stuff and its fun to make new things too and eat so much fruit and veg. Plus your body keeps burning the food so helps your metabolism. Thats the best way! Exercise is needed too - just walking for half an hour to the shop and back is good.
Do you expect your diet to be successful, if so why? If not why?
I think that if i really gave it a go then i would lose the weight. I seem to almost 'forget' or lose interest in my diet after 2 or 3 weeks though and then stop being so careful. I need to get past this barrier before i can go all the way. But i will do, i just need practice!
Have you ever managed to lose weight, but then gain again? If yes, why and how did you get back some of the weight?
I've lost lots of weight as a teenager - i only used to eat 1 meal a day. But because i lost weight in a stupid way, i then gained it all back when i started eating normally. And because i'd ruined my metabolism by eating so little before hand i then put quite a lot of weight on without actually eating much terrible stuff! I never eat macdonalds or takeout or cakes or chips. I reckon pasta and olive oil made me put it back on, i was just eating too big portions
Please tell us 3 tips for a successful diet. We are all ears.
Eat lots- get your 5 fruit and veg a day but just watch your portion sizes of carbs, protien and fats! Weigh everything.
Don't avoid carbs - they should fill a 3rd of your plate. If you stop eating them all you lose is water not fat.
Drink plenty of water, and walk more
What are you observing in other dieters as mistakes?
My sister is always on a 'diet', but doesn't seem to understand that certain foods are bad - like mayo! And she always snacks or blows it and then says its a treat and will start again the next day. A diet shouldn't be a regime, it should be a permanent change in lifestyle.
Also portion sizes - i know everyone thinks that they know it all, but really, weigh everything you'd be amazed at how massive portions can be.
Please tell us some important mistakes you did in your diets. We can learn from them.
I spent a long time not listening to diet advice given, thinking i somehow knew better. Well if i knew better, i wouldn't be fat would i?
Always listen to the experts when they talk about weighing portion sizes, drinking water, planning ahead and not trying any faddy diets. Also record your emotions when you over eat - i never realised but i get frustrated ALOT and this is why i snack so much.
If you never managed to get thin until now, why do you think? A criticizing mother? Pizza Hut?
My parents didn't promote healthy eating to us, and my mother would serve massive portions. We thought this was normal. Its not strictly her fault, because her mother didn't teach her either. She's also been very critical of my looks, constantly saying i wouldn't get a boyfriend if i was fat. Now that i've left home and i'm living with my fiance i can now see that my eating habits weren't normal, and i can change them. I wish i'd listened to weight loss experts from the beginning.
How should your close ones treat you as a dieter? Should they better be quiet on the subject, or should they push you?
I believe that close ones shouldn't keep talking about diets to you - a lot of people fail lets face it, its a long process is changing eating habits. So loved ones should tell you that you look good every now and then, and congratulate you on your successes and also do thier best to not force you to eat out/eat rubbish.
How do you cope with eating less? For some people it really hurts and is like hell. For some others, they enjoy the light feeling. How about you?
You're not meant to eat less - you're meant to eat more. People who diet by starving themselves are stupid - all that will happen is that you'll lose the weight, and then when normal life starts up again you'll put it all back on because your body will be happy its no longer starving!!! Learn from my mistakes people - eat more, lose more PERMENANTLY
Could you warn us about some diet methods you got involved with that did not work?
Yeah, don't starve yourself! It doesn't work.
Could you tell us some diet methods you got involved with that did work.
Eat breakfast - cereal with low fat milk, yoghurt with raisins, glass of orange juice
Snack - nuts, crispbreads with low fat cheese, apple
Lunch - salmon, asparagus, broccoli and small baked potato (microwave it all if working) OR Soup (not a creamy version) with homemade sandwich (no butter, no mayo, lots of lettuce and tomato to bulk up - have something like lean ham and you can use pickle to moisten the bread)
Snack - carrot and celery, or grapes or cucumber.
Dinner - chicken breast, 1 portion of pasta (40grams), then grill loads of mushrooms, peppers, courgette, garlic and aubergine. Toss in a teaspoon of pesto, grate 20g of cheese over the lot and there's a lovely filling meal made in less than half an hour.
If you must have a dessert, then bake a pear in the oven and sprinkly with cinnemon serve with a tiny bit of caramel. Or have slices of peaches and mango, or a low fat ice cream
Where do you stand on the subject of exercise?
I know its great for you, and i think i should do more, but i don't seem to be in the habit yet. This is something i need to work on. I could say that england is so rainy its not easy to get out there, but thats just an excuse.
Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.