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Jessie takes a leap of faith

Research from the University of Colorado and Brown University shows that one of the unifying characteristics of people who have successfully lost weight and kept it off is that they weigh themselves regularly.

While regularly weighing yourself provides a quantifiable indicator of your success, it's important that you don't do it too often. In my experience, once or twice a month is optimal.

If you weigh yourself more often than that, you may be inadvertently blocking your efforts to connect with your body and lose weight. Jessie's story is a good case in point.

Jessie - a vibrant, energetic woman - read The Don't Go Hungry Diet and came to my book launch in March 2007. Having known Jessie for a few years, I knew that she was a great advocate of my scientifically backed weight loss principles. However, I never fully realized the impact they have had on Jessie's life until July this year, when she attended one of my workshops.

As the workshop commenced and participants and I started to become better acquainted with each other, Jessie beamed from ear to ear and announced that she had something to show everyone.

She dug into her bag, and I was intrigued to see what might possibly emerge.

Finally, Jessie resurfaced with a thick, heavy, navy blue, A4-sized diary.

'At home, I have other diaries like this one', she explained. Jessie opened the front cover of her diary revealing a two-page overview of 2007. As with all her previous diaries, each day of the year was represented on the opening page spread by a little rectangle, and in each little rectangle was a neatly written entry.

'This is me before Dr Amanda's book launch' explained Jessie as she proceeded to read out some of her daily entries.

'Eight stone five pounds, eight stone five pounds, eight stone four pounds, eight stone three, eight stone four, eight stone four, eight stone five, eight stone five...'

Since she was seventeen years old, Jessie had weighed herself almost every single day. At fifty-two years of age, she has quite a few weigh-ins under her belt! Daily weighing was part of Jessie's strategy for keeping her weight under control and continually pushing it down towards her ideal of just under eight stone (50 kilos). Invariably however, Jessie's weight hovered around 53 kilos or above, and once she even went as high as 64.4 kilos.

'And this is me after Dr Amanda's book launch' announced Jessie jubilantly, pointing to March in her 2-page overview of 2007.

Whereas up until late March Jessie's yearly overview was crammed with daily weigh-in results, a few days after my book launch a giant chasm appeared on the page and the remainder of the page was blank.

Jessie had taken a giant leap of faith and had decided to weigh herself just once a month.

In the past, various health care professionals had suggested she stop weighing herself every day, but she did not trust them enough to put it into practice. However, in reading my book and hearing me talk, something clicked and Jessie decided to give it a go.

'When I finally weighed myself again after one month of putting into practice the things I learned from Amanda, I was three pounds lighter!'

After so many years of daily weighing, Jessie was astonished with the effects of letting go and allowing her body to control her weight for her. What's more, Jessie has continued to weigh herself just once a month, and her weight hovers reliably around 50 kilos.

While this 2 kilo difference on Jessie's small frame feels wonderful, the effects on her mental well-being are more far-reaching. After years of rigid mental control over her weight, she's no longer afraid of gaining weight. Jessie explained in an E-mail:

'Letting go of this one behavior [weighing herself every day] has been the key to tuning into my body. Knowing and trusting you was my safety net to do this. Not only that, it makes our meal times at home less stressful - not so precise - not so rigid, because I'm not following what a "diet" says to do.

The other major benefit of letting go of this one behavior is that it has allowed me to get on with living - a phrase that you have said again and again - because I'm no longer preoccupied and taking up valuable brain space with thinking about food and eating namely:

I can't eat this or that because...; I want to weigh less in the morning so I'll eat less tonight; what will my husband say if I don't eat; I don't want to go out because I may overeat or eat something I prefer not to; I have to be strong and rigid about what goes into my mouth...

These are just an example of the myriad of thoughts that used to run through my brain which are now over!!!'

See what can happen when you let go of weighing every day and instead connect with your body?
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What our readers say...

"Dear Amanda, Just wanted to say Hi before Christmas and let you know how I’ve been getting on. I am pleased to say that since I was at your workshop in May and started e-mail coaching with you I have lost 5 kilos. I know it may not seem like a huge amount in 6 months but don’t forget I hadn’t been able to lose 2 kilos and keep it off in about 7 years of dieting. The six months has also been quite a learning journey for me. I did take quite some time to really change old habits and adjust to a new way of eating and thinking. After some rigorous diary keeping I soon came to realize that I was still managing to squeeze into my diet quite a few foods that were not “real” foods. Crackers here and a couple of biscuits there when I wasn’t hungry. As I used the diary to really look at what I was eating, I also noticed that over the course of a week I might of only had 5-6 pieces of fruit, or gone a few days where my main meal had only a side serve of veggies/salad. And I noticed toast and crackers popping up everywhere in my diary. Now I feel I have a working understanding of “real” foods in my diet. I notice days when I don’t eat 2-3 pieces of fruit and a large salad/veggies. When I am ready to eat a snack I plan to have some lovely fresh fruit or yogurt, or a little cheese with celery/carrot. I’m not keeping the diary any longer in terms of satiety, but I still write down what I eat during the day and check every few days to ensure bad habits are not coming back. So thanks for the journey this year. I feel I am well on my way and will let you know when I lose the next 5 kilos! Hope you and the family have a great Christmas."

- Carolyn, Melbourne, VIC