The idea that self-esteem is the key to losing weight is the main concept behind a new book called Adore Yourself Slim. We asked author Lisa Jackson to explain why being positive about yourself and the way you look can make all the difference between giving up and getting down to your ideal weight...
What's the difference between your book and other diet books?
The most important difference is that I'd like women to see losing weight and getting fit as something fun. The book's eating and exercise plans are also evidence-based and devised by experts - and no food groups are demonised. Also, I've used the plan myself, so I know for a fact it works. And finally, the book's premise is that self-belief is key to slimming success - you need to adore yourself slim, not try to abhor yourself slim.
How can being positive about the way you look help?
I recall staring down at my 'marshmallow' thighs one day while I was still losing weight and feeling so depressed that I wanted to dash to the corner shop for a dose of comfort food. But then I caught sight of myself in the mirror and noticed how slender my neck was. And as I did this, my mood instantly changed. I realised the emotions many women use to goad themselves into weight loss (shame and self-loathing) are very unhelpful, and that focusing on our positive assets is far more constructive.
What's one easy way we can all adore ourselves?
Take a daily Praise Pill by spending the first minute of every morning telling yourself how proud you are of what you've achieved and how well you're doing. This will set you up for a day of making the right choices eating- and exercise-wise.
Why do so many diets fail in your opinion?
They fail because they have a start date and an end date and are too rigid. My book is about making sustainable healthy lifestyle choices that you can stick with long-term because they're realistic and fit in with your schedule.
What tips do you have for someone embarking on a weight-loss eating plan?
First, schedule in three meals and two snacks a day and sit down to eat every single one of them, including the snacks, slowly and mindfully. Next, you cannot eat whatever you like all the time, but it's a non-negotiable rule that you should eat only what you like. Forget bland, horrible 'diet' foods and buy the healthy foods you really love, even if they cost a little more. Finally schedule in times when you can eat treat foods without feeling guilty. This is known as 'flexible restraint' and means that as no foods are forbidden, you'll never feel deprived.
How do you keep your motivation strong when you're having a hunger pang?
If it's a true hunger pang, eat. But if it's not, ask yourself 'What do I really need right now?' and give yourself that drink of water, hug or break instead.
Exercise is important too, isn't it? What do you recommend?
Initially I recommend building Sneaky Workouts into your day – whenever you're waiting for the kettle to boil, jump up and do ten press-ups, crunches, lunges or squats. Then, when you're feeling a bit fitter, you can move on to more 'formal' exercise, such as joining a gym or running. No matter what you choose to do (flamenco, running, rock-climbing, trampolining) just make sure you find a way to make it fun.
Can anyone lose weight if they follow your plan?
Yes, because it's based on solid scientific research, you really can't fail if you actually follow it.
Adore Yourself Slim is published by Simon and Schuster and costs £12.99. Lisa will also be running three-hour Adore Yourself Slim seminars in south London from March 5, 2011. Tickets cost £75 but MyDaily users can buy them for £67.50 (10% discount) by using the discount code ADORE when booking.