Ever noticed how your mind works back to front? “Don’t,” you tell yourself, “think about the chocolate in
the desk drawer,” and then you proceed to obsess about it for the duration of an awfully important
Your mind is no different when it comes to dieting. Start out with a “no bread diet” and you think, “easy, I
can do this, I don’t even like bread”. And then for the next few weeks all you dream about is a thick slice of
white bread toast with butter melted into it.
So let’s flow with this strange, apparently natural tendency to do what you’re not supposed to, and look at
all the tricks you can follow to ensure you don’t lose a gram. Reverse psychology maybe?
The old, (un)faithful crash diet
How about a crash diet? Quick results guaranteed. For little food in your mouth, you can add heaps of
weight to your hips.
All you need is a few hours of starvation, jittering, irritation and a rumbling tummy every day. Initially you’ll
drop a few kilos in no time, but don’t worry, once you begin eating gain, you’ll pick it all up very quickly,
with some extra weight into the bargain. Talk about a great return on investment.
This kind of dieting is known for its famous “yo-yo” effect: as fast as the weight drops, it goes up again.
Up, down, up, down… you get the picture.
Research has shown that a diet lower than 3000 kJ per day is such a shock to your body, that it goes into a
type of a starvation mode, slowing your metabolism radically. It will become so slow that you can eat
green salad all day and still gain weight.
Looking for sympathy from friends and colleagues? This is a perfect way as they will observe you eat next
to nothing and still maintain your weight.
Eating too little
None of this six-meals-a-day thing. Oh no, wait until you are ravenous before you eat. Long hours between
meals is a double bonus: the blood sugar drops, causing the shakes and a range of other nasty symptoms,
plus your hunger hormones get to kick-in. The result – a hankering for fatty refined carbs, grabbing all the
kilojoule-bombs you can lay your hands on.
So you might experience a few headaches, tremors, even a bit of nausea, but this is the best way to keep
the guilt at bay when you do over-indulge. Join so many others, who often will tell you “I haven’t eaten a
thing today” and then you just gorge when you do eat. Go all out, heap food on to your plate. Have
seconds, thirds, why don’t you… and add desert to this.
Eat as if it is a race to win
It’s you versus your satiety hormones. They take about 20 minutes to arrive once you start eating. And
when they do, you’ll be satisfied. Eat fast, gulp down the food in a swallow-now, chew-later type of thing –
just get it down as fast as possible. The more you can stuff in before your brain says stop, the more likely
you are to remain rotund.
When you sit down to eat, there should be nothing slowing you down. Stand and eat if you can, research
shows this is a good trick for staying in the heavy league because you eat so much more when you’re
Also, don’t put down your cutlery between bites, this only wastes time. As a mouthful is being swallowed,
the next bite should be loaded.
Treat eating like a marathon. Don’t look up from your plate and try to beat yesterday’s scoffing record. By
the time those satiety hormones come round, you will be stuffed to the brim and this will ensure you
Who says you should stop eating when you are satisfied? Which reminds me of another quick trick for
piling on the pounds: eat every last crumb of food in your plate, take no prisoners. Particularly when the
Now focus: when offered a bite, snack, sip, forkful or slice, swallow it. Never let the opportunity to put
something in your mouth pass you by. Any free kilojoule is a bonus. Take it.
At dinner parties, eat as much as you can by positioning yourself as close as possible to the snack table.
Money spent at an all-you-can-eat buffet, should be seen as money saved. You paid for it, sister, so tuck it
in. Don’t worry that you’ll later spend just as much – or more – money buying bigger clothes or diet pills.
Weigh yourself all the time, even after you’ve just eaten a small fat free yoghurt. If you’ve put on weight,
you are likely to argue that “this is not working” and eat more anyway. Should you weigh and see the
scale’s needle tipping to the left, you will argue that it is working, and eat a little more as a reward. Either
way, this is a sure fire way of maintaining your weight.
Don’t for one minute consider that your periods, a bowel movement, full bladder or even an intense
training session in the gym with consequent water retention for muscle repair, could affect your weight.
Weighing yourself often will also determine your mood: Weight loss = happy you; weight gain = moody
Another advantage to knowing your weight is that it is a great conversation starter. People will just love
talking about your weight all the time.
Get trapped in the “all-or-nothing” approach
Always set yourself the highest target of never eating chocolate, bread or sugar ever, ever in your life again.
Then, when you default (which is very likely to happen), have the all-or-nothing approach.
Postpone the diet and healthy eating till Monday and if next Monday doesn’t fall in the beginning of a
month, postpone it to a Monday in the beginning of a month. Either you eat “perfectly” or you trip, fall,
pig out and start again later.
None of that get-right-back-on-track nonsense after a weak moment. Nope. This way a steady influx of
huge kilojoules is supplied and all the good of your “perfect” days is undone in one fell swoop. Forget
about balance, which brings me to the next trick.
Intake should be more than output
In short, eat like a power lifter, but be as active as a power failure. In order to put on weight, the influx of
energy via food must be more than the efflux of energy through activity.
The best way to achieve this is to be as sedentary as possible. Park as close to an entrance as you can. Use
lifts instead of stairs. Ask your children to fetch you stuff. The idea is to move as little as possible.
The process is speeded up as follows: when you settle in front of the television, have a spread of energy
dense, fatty and sugary snacks within close proximity. Have an extra set of batteries close-by in case the
remote needs a replacement set. Getting up and changing the channel is for the lightweights.
To balance out all the guilt that follows, watch as many programmes as you can about how to lose weight.
This way you’ll feel better knowing that you know how to do these things, while also making sure your
huge dinner gets nicely settled for a good, long stay.
During the day, take bites of food all the time, have lots of crunchy, highly processed foods like chips, salted
nuts, chocolate and refined carbohydrates in your handbag, at your desk and in your car. Always within
arm’s reach. Evidence shows that people who have to get up and walk to get to their snacks actually
consume less. So don’t let this be your pitfall, have it close by and make sure you are amply and easily
So remember, it is true for both weight loss and gain: failing to plan, is planning to fail. If you’re in the
market for weight gain, now you know what to do – plan your diet pitfalls and you will be hugely successful.
© René Jv Rensburg, 2011.