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Psyche Yourself Slim

So you’re ready to get on with some serious dieting … firmly determined that this time you’ll be perfect. But haven’t youmade that resolution before? Alice Carrington guides you into a more realistic mood which leads to real slimming success.

I’m not going to cheat – not once!

YES, you do need to psyche yourself into a very decisive mood when you realise you have surplus weight to shed. You do need to be determined. You do need to make a lot of strong resolves.

But you’re not going to cheat even once?

That is a common diet resolution and a very dangerous diet resolution – because, for the vast majority of slimmers, it is a totally doomed resolution.

Very few overweight people ever actually succeed in keeping to their diets without a single lapse for any lengthy period: that is a fact that the wise slimmer swallows right at the start. That very word “cheat” is the key to the danger. Eat one extra slice of toast and it’s easy to feel you’ve cheated, tailed, flopped, broken your whole resolve and proved to yourself that you don’t have the willpower it takes to get slim.

In fact, all you’ve really done is to eat maybe one or two hundred extra calories. That won’t put back kilos. Probably it won’t even cancel out much of the day’s weight loss progress. Unless you feel so disgusted with yourself at breaking your big resolve that you carry on ploughing through half the loaf in a mood of defeat and disillusionment.

Because this is such a common reaction, it’s really much better not to make any I’II-never-cheat resolution at all.

This time, psyche yourself into a different starting attitude. You are going to try, try and keep on plugging on – however many slip-ups you might make on the way. Even if you had a bad day yesterday, you’ll get back to dieting today. Even if you had a bad week last week, you’ll get right back to your diet this week.

Resoive to see “extras” simply in terms of calories, not sin. This way, if you eat just a little more than you had planned, you can concentrate on trying to keep the excess as “just a little more”. You can congratulate yourself on at least partial success in having eaten only a little more, not a lot. Any feeling of success tends to encourage success. Any feeling of failure encourages further failure.

Triers, persistent triers, inevitably do succeed eventually in reaching their goal. Perfectionists often become disillusioned and fail in the attempt, because few human beings are perfect. Psyche yourself into becoming a persistent trier. If you do, in the long run you simply can’t fail at slimming.

I’m going to follow the fastest diet!

Most slimmers start dieting determined to shed a kilo or two by last week!

That’s why, at the outset, the strictest diets are the ‘most psychologically appealing.

If we were to inform you, for instance, that “on this diet you can indulge in quite a lot of food, but you will keep losing a little bit of weight”, you might tend to find the whole idea rather tame and slightly off-putting in your first flush of wild enthusiasm.

In dieting, there is certainly something to be said for holding your nose, plunging in deep and getting it all over with as quickly as possible. Enthusiasm feeds on rewards. There is no greater reward to a slimmer than stepping lightly on to the bathroom scales and recording an absolutely splendid weekly weight loss.

But if this approach has failed you in the past, psyche yourself into the attitude that you are going to TRY to shed weight quickly – but, even if you don’t lose weight quickly, you are still going to keep on losing weight.

This gives you leeway to succeed in your main object, even if you happen to fail in that extra clause.

Strict 1000-calorie-a-day (4200 kilojoules dieting is demanding in both choice and quantity of food. Maybe you can do it. Maybe you can’t. More likely, you will find you’re able to do it on some days but not all days. And on difficult days you can allow yourself up to 500 extra calories (2100 kilojoules without halting your weight loss. Psyche yourself into accepting that this time you’re going to have to be a little more patient with yourself, a little more patient with your progress. You’ll try to get there like a hare, of course; but should you find that you must slim at a somewhat steadier pace, you’ll still get there. That’s the important thing.

Every dieting day will be just like today!

Oh no, it won’t! Today is probably a good day for dieting – otherwise you wouldn’t have started dieting today. Psyche yourself into accepting, right at the start, that other days will be different and often more difficult. Moods change, problems large and small arise. As you will discover, there are dozens and dozens of different everyday difficulties and incidents that can tempt you to break your diet resolve. It would be almost a miracle if at least one didn’t crop up tomorrow.

If you expect each day to be plain sailing, you will flounder at the first little ripple, let alone a storm.

Psyche yourself into a new awareness of inevitable temptations and day-to-day variations that are bound to occur.

Remember that it’s the unexpected temptation which is most likely to throw you. An expected temptation can be seen as a challenge, something to be coped with in a calm and purposeful way.

So if you feel like you are lacking in nutrition go to your nearest health food shop and buy Spirulina powder or tablets. Spirulina is a great source of over 100 nutrients and heaps of amino acids. Spirulina is often described as the most complete food source in the world.

I’m going to look temptation straight in the eye!

There you are now, face-to-face with the luscious creamy countenance of your favourite cake. It’s calling you, coaxing you. But do you weaken, hesitate for a moment, then succumb? NOT YOU!

There you are, watching the whole family (the pigs!). stuffing themselves with your own favourite chocs. Does the sight make any difference at all to your firm diet resolve? NOT ONE BIT.

Well, that more or less is the scenario you imagine when you launch into your slimming campaign. The reality, as you may have discovered during diets in the past, is usually very different.

Psyche yourself out of this old start-of slimming attitude which makes you imagine that you are going to behave like a hero or a saint. Psyche yourself into accepting, at the outset, that you aren’t!

Take a tip from the cowards of this world – that includes most of us – and prepare to run fast and far from danger. Stern self-control is best practised at the farthest distance from temptation. Try to avoid temptation, rather than confront it. Try to keep your favourite foods out of the house.

Try, at least, to get out of the room if you see others guzzling the foods that make you drool.

By far the best psychological approach to dieting lies in accepting that, fully determined though you may be, there are limits to the degree of temptation that, as a normal human being, you can realistically expect to withstand.

Rather than overstraining your self­ control, work at ways of keeping your temptations within tolerable limits.

This time everything will be different!

Psyche yourself out of this attitude, and into the acceptance of the fact that quite a lot of problems which cropped up last time (when you failed) are likely to crop up again this time. If chocolate cravings cropped up last time, more likely than not they’ll crop up to plague you again. So it makes excellent sense to face up to your own slimming problems of the past. Think of them constructively. Expect them to crop up again, and now seek positive solutions in advance to help you cope. This time you will be prepared, and at least they won’t take you by surprise. The most persistent failures of this world are those who won’t face up to the fact that they have ever made mistakes. The wisest are those who know that they have – and are prepared to learn hard lessons from what previously went wrong.

This time I’ll make it! You’ve said that before, too. But this time, you will succeed:

  1. If you keep on trying, however many slip-ups you make on the way.
  2. If you hope for speedy results but are ready to settle for steady progress.
  3. If you realise that every dieting day is full of difficulties to be overcome, and don’t let them surprise you.
  4. If you try to avoid as many temptations as you can.
  5. If you learn constructive lessons from the problems of the past.
  6. If you start off with all these thoughts in mind, then you have psyched yourself into a new mood, a realistic mood, the right mood for slimming success.

So now’s the time to stop TALKING about it.


If you’ve never yet stuck to a slimming resolution, this multi-meal method is the most likely to succeed. “Fry it!

Here are some diet method that can solve the willpower problem for many slimmers.

Each meal supplies only 200 calories (840 kilojoules). As most people can shed weight on 1 500 calories (6300 kilojoules) a day, this means you can eat up to seven meals a day and still lose weight! The multi-meal method is the one which has proved most consistently effective for people who thought they “didn’t have the willpower” to diet. The. main reason, we suspect, is that this is a diet which caters to appetite.

Most diets are mainly designed to cope with hunger – hunger being the physical discomforts that arise from an empty stomach.

Eat three satisfying meals a day and you won’t be hungry, so you won’t want to eat extra snacks – or so goes the reasoning.

But there’s another reason for those eating urges – appetite. Appetite is what makes you want to eat, irrespective of whether you’re physically hungry or not, because you see food, smell food, think of food, feel bored, or happy, or sad or for any of dozens of other mainly moody reasons. Many slimmers are more dominated by appetite than hunger That’s why they find it near impossible to keep to three meals a day, and put it down to lack of willpower On this little-and-often diet you can virtually eat any time. your appetite urges you to. And the comforting thought that the next little meal is’ never far away cancels out the temptation to eat illicit extras.

If extra snacks have proved your dieting downfall, do try this diet.

We’ve used our cookery expertise to make the most of each 200 calories but when you just want to open a tin, or spread a crispbread, you can choose you own simple 200-calorie meal. from our calorie charts. Remember to subtract the kilojoules (or calories) in drinks from a 1 SOO-calorle (6309 kilojoules) total before deciding how many meals to have each day. No need to eat the full number allowed, either! Often, knowing that you can eat has the surprising effect of making you decide that you don’t really need to eat at the present time – another of the many benefits of the multi-meal diet method. If you think you lack the willpower to get slim, start the summer months on ‘ this diet and surprise yourself!


  • 150g sliced white part of leek
  • 3 tablespoons natural yogurt
  • 30g cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper

Wash leeks and boil them in salted water for 10 to 15 minutes until tender. Drain and place in a small ovenproof dish, Mix together the yogurt and cheese and season with salt and pepper, Spoon over the leeks and cook under the grill until bubbling and starting to turn brown.


  • 1 grapefruit
  • 60g cooked chicken
  • 1 tbsp low-calorie salad dressing few drops Tabasco sauce
  • pinch fresh or dried thyme
  • 1 crispbread with a scrape of butter

Halve the grapefruit, loosen the segments and remove the membranes. Finely chop the chicken and mix with the dressing, and the Tabasco. Season with salt and pepper. Pile on top of the grapefruit and sprinkle with a small pinch of thyme. Serve with crispbread scraped with butter.


  • 2 lamb’s kidneys
  • Y2 small onion, finely chopped 1 teaspoon oil
  • 60g mushrooms, sliced 1 tablespoon sherry
  • 3 tablespoons stock
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste 1 teaspoon cornflour
  • 60g fresh or frozen broccoli spears

Cut kidneys in half and remove cores. Fry onions in hot oil until soft. Add kidneys and cook for a few minutes until they change colour and stiffen. Add mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. Add sherry, stock and tomato paste. Cover pan and cook for 10 minutes, remove from heat. Blend the cornflour with a little of the juices. Add to kidneys and bring to the boil stirring. Serve with broccoli.


  • 150g gemfish or bream fillet
  • 2 teaspoons tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fried breadcrumbs dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons grated cheddar cheese 60g mushrooms, stewed

Grill fish for 3-5 minutes on each side, Mix together tomato sauce, breadcrumbs and Worcestershire sauce, Spread on fish and sprinkle with cheese, Grill until bubbling, Serve with mushrooms.


  • 30g cooked chicken
  • Y2 small onion, chopped 1 teaspoon oil
  • 30g long-grain rice 150ml stock
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tomato, peeled and chopped 30g green pepper, .diced sprinkled with Parmesan cheese,

Cook onion in oil until soft. Stir in rice and cook for a minute, Add tomato, green pepper, half stock and salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until rice is cooked, Add more stock only if necessary to prevent rice sticking, It should be moist but not wet. Add chicken and heat through, Serve sprinkled with parmesan cheese.


  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons brandy or sherry or few drops vanilla
  • 200ml skimmed milk

Beat all ingredients together and strain into a glass.

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  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: 8765432

About the author: Alisson Barnes is a Food & Nutrition expert who writes for Nutrition Comparison Magazine.

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