In February I received an email out of the blue from Tim, who was writing to me with some feedback about my book “How to Retrain Your Appetite”. His words tell his story better than I possibly could, particularly as we’ve never met and I only know what he’s included in his emails, so here is the story in his words……
“I brought your book last weekend and have now read it through twice.
I have to say it is an inspiration and I plan putting it in to practice.
I am currently under a dietitian for pre-diabetes and weight loss and currently awaiting a psychologist appointment to deal with my emotional eating.
As I have now got stuck at 21 stone after losing 5 stone.
I have been searching for a way forward since all the ‘naughty food I had brought me for Christmas and my birthday in January which has aided the issue.
I feel that now I have read your book I am more confident to put it in to practice and see where we go from here.
My other issue is I have never had time or inclination to exercise in the past but now I have retired it is evident I need to move or eat differently to adapt to my new situation. I thank you for your book and for sharing your ideas with me in it.”
This was so nice to hear, so I emailed back to ask Tim to keep in touch as he worked on putting Appetite Retraining into practice, which he did in early May to say:
“I thought you would like to know I have lost another one and a half stone since reading your book and putting it in to practice. So overall since I started (before your book) I have lost 6 stone and 15 inches off my waist.
I am now working with the bariatric Psychologist at the hospital and my first task is to build a coping strategies tool box to combat emotional eating and binge eating issues, which unfortunately I am still prone to now and again.”
I emailed Tim again to say how well he was clearly doing, and that I thought that now tackling the emotional/ binge eating as a specific focus would be a challenge, but do-able, as he was focusing on this one issue rather than trying to change several unhelpful eating habits at a time. In my email I said, “The fact that you have managed to make the changes you’ve already succeeded with, means that you have the ability, motivation and willpower to achieve change. I’d suggest that you notice what your success to date tells you about yourself (these will be good, positive things) and once you know what these are (e.g. I am able to change old ways of doing things; I am able to be flexibly in control around food; I am strong etc etc), keep reminding yourself of these things. Like a mantra, remind yourself daily of your strengths and abilities around changing eating patterns.”
The next step in our correspondence was me asking Tim if he’d mind posting a review of the book to help promote it, which he kindly did, and in which he wrote:
“I have read this book through twice and keep it as a reference while practising what it teaches. It is an inspiration, it is not a diet book or recipe book but good solid advice on how to change the way you eat to enhance the chances of losing and keeping the weight away. Also how to enjoy food again.
I have started following the guidance and while it is hard work to start with you soon get the hang of it and it becomes easier, for example my first step was to stop buying something to eat every time I brought a drink out and it took me just over two weeks to change this habit for it to become the norm.
Buy this book and it will change your thinking and your taste buds for the better.”
And then he very kindly summarised his further thoughts on the progress he has made before and since reading about Appetite Retraining….
“I have been on my weight loss journey since February 2018 and up until February 2019 I had lost four and half stone through willpower alone. But there comes a time when willpower is not enough that is when I bought “How to Retrain your Appetite” by Helen McCarthy back near the beginning of the year, since then I have read it 3 times and put in to practice the suggestions.
Please note I do not call it a diet but my weight and live change plan. Diet is an ugly word, science tells us we must be a certain size with its BMI and other things but from my view point you need to be comfortable with yourself and get to the weight you are comfortable with. For example if I was to go to my suggested BMI I would look ridiculous, I know what I need to be to feel comfortable in mind and body so that is my aim.
I started by analysing what I needed to do for my plan:
- Reduce the amount of café stops and the buying of cake and such like this I successfully achieved after four weeks. Making my pocket fuller and my weight lighter.
- The next step which is still ongoing was to stop emotional/ comfort eating in the evenings. This is more difficult but I am getting there slowly and with a lot of perseverance (he is the brother of appearance!!!).
- My weight loss at the time of writing this May 2019 is six and half stone. I have managed this with diet, life style change and this brilliant book to guide me. So now I have achieved my first goal I set way back in 2018, which was to be able to go in a shop and buy clothes off the peg and not having to scour the internet for big men’s clothes. I was a sixty three inch waist and I am now a fifty inch waist but there is still away to go.
- So armed with my book or bible for support and to remind me I work towards my next goal of becoming even thinner and to be able to buy my trousers in my favourite shop M & S who only go up to a forty eight inch waist.
- My plan is still working the book is getting dog eared. But do not be fooled it is hard work and you do hit barriers and issues along the way. The trick is to believe in yourself and pick up where you left of. But most importantly never lose sight of the ultimate goal.
- The next problem is beating yourself up if it does not go to plan but the book is my salvation and I have a toolbox of things I can use when things go wrong or I feel the need to stray from the path. The toolbox (or bag in my case) has a number of thing in in which can help in times of crisis, I have some scrabble tiles in a small bag each letter relates to a task so as to distract me from my crisis, for example a small cuddly toy to stroke, a note book to write down feelings (I choose to write poetry), there are in all 10 items in my tool bag which I have to hand at all times. This does work if you let it and remember why you are doing this.
- In conclusion this book and my plan are cheaper that any slimming clubs or gyms (you still need to do exercise in some form). I would recommend this book to anyone it is simply and no-nonsense advice is right for me, plus this is not a book full of recipes and other diet type nonsense, that puts the fear of god in to you. Ultimately it is a tool in your journey.”
Tim’s experience may help you if you have difficulties with emotional eating – the Scrabble tiles are a brilliant idea and are obviously helping Tim at points where he might be tempted to reach for food. You can adapt this idea for your own best distractions fro times when you need something to shift your mind away from food. And the simplicity of his first step-change to his eating habits of not buying something to eat every time he had a drink out is really helpful. This became a habit in a small number of weeks, so the weight he lost by doing that will be lost for good. Just two specific habit changes made between February and May led to losing a stone and a half, and as he’s forming new habits, the weight will stay off.
Tim is an inspiration to anyone with a lot of weight to lose. He’s honest about how hard it is, but encouraging at the same time.
If you know anyone who’d be inspired by Tim’s story, please share it with them.