Note: this post was written in January 2015.
Although my book is a weight loss book it is first and foremost about being healthy: eating healthy, developing a healthy relationship with food and a healthy attitude towards weight loss and, most importantly focussing on having a healthy relationship with yourself – learning to respect yourself and to be nice to yourself. If you follow the plan in my book you will lose weight, and it’ll be very easy – I can promise this because this approach worked for me (and is still working). It is the first time that I have ever found weight loss easy, that I haven’t ‘fallen off the wagon’ million times and I know that I will never gain the weight back again in my life.
It’s a cliché that’s hard to believe when you’re struggling with your weight but the day you stop worrying about your weight and stop dieting; the day you stop beating yourself up and hating your body, that is the day you’ll start losing weight without even trying. You will never fall off the wagon again because there is no wagon. The key is learning to accept yourself the way you are today and treat yourself with the respect you deserve. When you love yourself, you want to treat your body well, and once you understand some basic nutrition and in particular the problems with processed foods and sugar, and accept that you have a choice between foods that nourish you and foods that make you sick, the choice is very easy to make – I promise.
When I was first asked to write a weight loss book, I hesitated. While my Slim with Tina courses, which I’d developed together with a nutritionist, Elaine O’Gorman, were really successful and results were great, I still didn’t feel I was the right person to write a book on the subject. Despite my profession, I was still struggling with my own food issues and obviously the prospect of the whole world finding out that I’m not perfect was scary. I knew exactly what I should and shouldn’t be eating; I knew the science behind it, the health reasons, yet I still struggled. I could go on for weeks, even months, being really good and then something would happen, maybe I’d get really stressed or feel down for some reason, and I’d go off the rails and back to square one. Above all, I was felt insecure and unhappy and at least 4 sizes bigger than I was. I was constantly trying to lose another stone ‘and then I’d be happy’. Strange how I had forgotten the time when I was size 6 and still hated my body…
I decided to write the book anyway because I didn’t want to look back one day and realise that I let my fears stop me from doing something. After Elaine and I had finished the nutrition part, I started asking myself why, with all the knowledge I have it still so hard to lose weight? Why do the majority of people fail, time after time? In theory, weight loss really is simple and we all know the benefits of being a healthy weight, so why is it so damn hard?
I realised the part emotions play (I, like many women, was a huge emotional eater) and how unhealthy my relationship with food was. I realised that my happiness was dependant on my weight – I’d be happy if I lost 2 dress sizes, I’m sure people would respect me more if I looked better, I would definitely be better at my job if I was really skinny. I wanted to lose weight because I felt I was not good enough, I hated myself. This is what most of us women do, often without realising. We punish ourselves by going on diets and trying to control our weight because we think we’re not good enough.
As I took some time out to learn to like myself better, I noticed that I also started to lose weight. The more I learnt to accept myself, the less I felt the need to control my diet and the easier it was to make the right choices. Now my choice of healthy foods and my saying no to junk food was an act of self-love and respect, rather than a punishment for not being good enough. My relationship with food finally became healthy. I could even have a chocolate bar without feeling guilty, or without spiralling out of control. I felt free, happy and completely in control. For the first time in my life, I felt that I didn’t have to control my diet because I could finally trust myself.
While writing the book I realised that I was not sleeping enough and that I needed to manage my stress better – both of these are issues that have a huge impact on your health and weight. I was exhausted so I started sleeping more, took time off work when I could and I also took a few weeks off strenuous exercise and slept more instead and, I lost weight!
Now, several months later, I’m able to look in the mirror and say I’m happy with what I see. I never weigh myself. Recently I noticed my clothes where pretty loose on me so I got some new clothes in a size smaller. Of course this makes me very happy but the difference is, my happiness is not dependant on it anymore, I was perfectly happy with myself before and that’s exactly why it was easy to lose the weight and why I know it’ll be easy to keep it off.
So in hindsight, writing this book, as painful as it was at times, was really the best thing I have ever done for myself and I hope that, if you are struggling like I was, you will find this book helpful in getting you started on the right path to lifelong health and happiness.
My book ‘Slim with Tina: The easy way to lose weight and keep it off’ is now available in all bookshops in Ireland and on Amazon.co.uk (check out some of the great reviews on Amazon!)