How to stop yo-yo dieting forever

Image consultant Carol Goodsman and Psychotherapist Jem Mills have joined forces to give their expert advice on a subject that's close to so many people's hearts...

Image consultant Carol Goodsman and Psychotherapist Jem Mills have joined forces to give their expert advice on a subject that's close to so many people's hearts..."Whether you believe you can or not, you're right," said Henry Ford. The idea behind Henry Ford's words is a very old one. Our thoughts and beliefs guide all of our decisions and actions, often without us knowing. So what beliefs do you hold that have contributed to your weight gain and are they still in the background waiting to upset your plans for staying slim? Do you feel that any of the following commonly held beliefs apply to you?

If I'm slim I'll receive attention I'm not prepared for If I don't control my emotions I won't cope Showing emotions is weak I can't accept myself as a person until I've lost weight Once I've lost weight I'll feel worthwhile I don't deserve to feel good about myself while I'm overweight

One way to discover hidden beliefs is to become aware of your eating/thinking patterns. Catch yourself when you have an urge to eat something you don't need. As you stop yourself register how you feel and where that feeling is located in your body. You might for example feel frustrated and have a tense feeling in your shoulders. Just allow yourself to feel that and as you breathe imagine you are breathing into that part of your body. Now become aware of any thoughts that come into your mind as you 'hold' this feeling. You can ask questions such as 'what feels bad about stopping myself eating this,' and keep asking 'what would that mean to me?'Sometimes the unhelpful beliefs emerge immediately, sometimes you have to do a bit more detective work. But once you've discovered your underlying beliefs this often explains why we struggle to stay slim. What is sometimes referred to as self sabotage can be understood as mis-guided self protection once these beliefs are out in the open. For example if you really believe that you won't cope with the attention or that you don't deserve to feel good about yourself why would you put yourself in that situation. The difficulty is that a lot of this happens unconsciously. Getting to know and completely accepting your body as it is right now is one of the most liberating experiences you can ever have. Whatever your current weight, identifying your personal style and the clothes that will suit you will also add to your levels of confidence and self worth. What will suit you will depend on your shape, colouring, clothing style and personality and this may be completely different from what will suit someone else of the same size. Get to know your own body as it is now. Take a look at your self in your underwear in front of a full-length mirror and be honest about your best and worst features. It is important to choose clothes that show off your figure to its best advantage and to balance the top and bottom halves of your figure. If you are top heavy, avoid textured knits and loud patterns on your top half. If you are bottom heavy, don't accentuate the lower half of your outfit. For those who carry weight around your middle section, avoid double-breasted styles. Instead, single-breasted jackets or blouses worn undone can be very slimming. Once you've worked out the overall proportions of your body and the shapes that will flatter it, it's important to think about your individual style and stick with it. To help with this, think about the clothes in which you feel most comfortable and receive the most compliments. Once you take a step back and realise what is most flattering for you, you're half way to understanding how to bring out the best in your look. By also becoming aware of any limiting beliefs you may have, you can take steps to build up new and more helpful alternatives to help you stick to the actions that keep you slim. Dressing in your own true style can also help to build your new beliefs. Good luck!Appointments are available with Carol and Jem to help you achieve your goals. For more information, call 01273 494396 or 01273 593344 visit the websites at or, or email

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