Years back, I went on a weightloss/fitness boot camp, thinking that it would kickstart a fabulously healthy lifestyle.
Side-note: It was so hellish, that by the half-way point, a third of the group had decided it was just too much like hard work and gone home. My sister and I stayed – because when Yorkshire-folk pay their hard-earned cash for a 3 day boot camp… they blooming well stay for a 3 day Bootcamp, whether it’s hell or not.
The exercise was relentless and gruelling; the diet meager and vegetarian; and whilst I lost half a stone in three days, the effects were short-lived.
What has stayed with me, however, is something that one of the muscle-bound trainers said in our nutrition talk.
He talked about eating what you want.
Shocking, I know!
“When you want a Mars Bar,” he told us, “you should have a Mars Bar.”
Bear in mind that at this point in my life, I always went for ‘low fat’ options in the supermarket, opted for the healthy choice when dining out and lived from one fad diet to another. And this part of me was inwardly rolling my eyes at this dude telling me to have at it with Mars bars.
But again – I’d paid, so I listened.
“We all know what happens when you don’t have what you really want,” he went on, “It’s the Blue Riband Effect. You deny yourself the Mars bar and instead have a Blue Riband (only 99 calories!) But you’re of course not satisfied, because this isn’t what you wanted. So you have another. And another. And before you know it, you’ve eaten enough calories for 3 Mars bars over.”
Well that shut me up.
Because I had indeed fallen foul to the Blue Riband Effect many times over.
I was always denying myself what I really wanted – eating what I should have instead – only to binge on whatever I could find afterwards as some kind of payback. It was a routine that evoked guilt, self-loathing and dissatisfaction. And the weight never stayed off for long.
So I guess I was ready for a change.
Whilst I didn’t know it back then, what I heard at this Bootcamp was to become a big part of my long-lasting, successful dietary philosophy;
Eat what you want, rather than what you think you should have.
Because if you don’t, it won’t be long before you’re hitting those Blue Riband diet bars. Hard.
Plus, this way you get to have your Mars bar and eat it!