I’ve lost track of the number of clients who walk through my doors telling or asking me about the latest fad diet. Or the ones who think food is the enemy, and the ones who think that once they’ve eaten badly once in the day that’s it! They get frustrated at falling off the wagon so continue to eat badly for the rest of the day because they have messed up and feel there is no point in sticking to the plan as they’ve screwed up already and tomorrow they will start again and be “good”

What weight watchers and slimming world do is fantastic as they focus on our psychology and incorporate them into their plans rather than just telling you what you can and can’t eat. The first thing they do is accommodate for the aforementioned my providing allowances (syns or points) for these occasions. This means that you can fall off the wagon but that it is OK. This encourages people to not beat themselves up and to not spiral into a self destruct mode wrt food. You simply tot up your mistakes and make sure you don’t go over a certain amount. The focus is very much on being a realistic nutritional plan that includes margin for error.

The second is to eat healthy foods plentifully. There are plenty of “free” foods in these approaches and this often comes as a surprise to people when they feel that food is the enemy. In fact re-educating people that food is necessary for healthy bodily function and development is incorporated in these approaches. It helps demonstrate that losing weight doesn’t have to be an uncomfortable, calorie restricting starvation process and that actually longer lasting easier to achieve results can be gained by eating lots of healthy fresh and varied foods.

And finally they tap into the social nature of human beings – group psychology can motivate people and generate a sense of camaraderie and “team”. Going to weekly weigh-ins and listening to other people’s success and disappointments each week can boost people enormously. Often it can make the difference between making a success of the plans or not. Having someone next to you bearing their soul and sharing how and why they saw a weight change can make you think “well if they can do it so can I”

So although the plans themselves are simply good eating guidelines based on minimising fat especially ones of a saturated nature and making sure you get a good balance of complex low GI carbs and clean proteins, where they stand head and shoulders above the rest is their inclusion of how our brains work. I really like the no nonsense clear and healthy approach message they give to eating and how they suggest you are in it for the long term gain not a short fix. I know lots and lots of people who have tried these “diets” and had huge results that last.