Dieting as an effective form of weight management has lost its cachet. Deprivation may work in the short haul but over a lifetime, not so much. Starvation does work — the problem is that it only works so long as you are starving. The moment you disinvite deprivation to the party, the fun begins in earnest and it usually starts with a slice of cheesecake and a ladle full of gravy on your fries.
Typically, chronic dieters manage to re-gain not only the weight they lost but they frequently add a few extra pounds for good measure — your body’s way of punishing you for even thinking about not having seconds with extra butter.
Lifestyle change is key, argue the experts. Use moderation, practice restraint, control portion-size, eat fresh foods, well, you know the drill. Change the way you live by turning bad habits into good habits, and behavioural patterns that will be easy for you to sustain permanently.
That’s the premise behind the book 5:2 Your Life: Get Happy, Get Healthy, Get Slim by Kate Harrison, which has become popular in the U.K. Adherents of the 5:2 diet drastically reduce their calorie intake on two days of the week and eat normally the rest of the time. Devotees report significant weight loss, renewed vitality and vigor and feel psychologically more positive.
Harrison also encourages people to use the 5:2 method in every aspect of their life, from weight control, to a messy house to even messier finances. The idea is that by making tiny incremental changes eventually you will, almost incidentally, make a permanent change in the way you live. She suggests visualizing a better way of living and then, twice a week, tackle tasks you’ve been avoiding. The trick is that each assignment must not take more than a specific time limit — say 25 minutes — to accomplish. For example, if you’ve been avoiding cleaning the junk drawer, set a timer for 25 minutes to get the job done on one of your 5:2 days.
Ostensibly you will start a ripple effect that will turn into a transformative tsunami of change.