Ninety-five percent of dieters fail. So what about the other 5 percent? Well, they succeed. You see their success stories in magazines and on TV, complete with before and after photos. Those heart-warming stories: ‘How I used to be a twenty-stone colossus, but now am proud to strut about in a mini-skirt. I may seem a touch smug, and a reproach to everyone out there who is still struggling, but, hey, I’m so happy with my new life I really don’t give a fig.’

    We all know that diets don’t work, so what happened? What did she DO?

    Well, all the successful slimmers seem to agree that their secret was that they stopped dieting and ate according to their genuine hunger signals.

    Look around you and you will see many overweight people. To be brutally frank, you will see many really fat people. Most dieters are quite sure that they would join them if they ‘ate what they wanted, according to their genuine hunger signals.’ What is it about a hunger signal that tells you it is genuine? What is the difference between a healthy, normal hunger signal that tells you you need to eat and a wicked, greedy hunger signal that tells you to eat just a few calories more than you can burn?

Are the happy 5 percent lying? Or do they have a second secret that they are not sharing? 

I believe they do. A couple, actually. And that is what this book is about: everything you need to know about why dieting does not work and how to achieve that magical state of affairs where your hunger does tell you the ‘correct’ amount to eat. There is an alternative way of satisfying your hunger and controlling your eating. I have a secret that I have not seen in any other weight loss book, and I reveal it in this story.

Maybe the key reason why I have a different take on obesity is that I spent most of my working life trying to make people eat. I worked for Mars, McDonald’s, Quaker, and Cadbury, to name a few of the most nefarious calorie pushers. I do blame the food industry for the obesity epidemic because their efforts have made food so irresistible, so accessible, and so cheap. It is true they didn’t mean to, no more than cigarette manufacturers set out to promote a product that gives people cancer. In both cases, the damage done is the unforeseen side-effect of something pleasurable. In the long run, social attitudes will change and governments will restrict the consumption of fattening food, as they have done with tobacco. For the time being we as individuals have to learn how to protect ourselves. You can learn to protect yourself, and I believe I can help you.

Why not just blurt out my secret in the introduction? Well, the story I want to tell is a little more complex than the calorie counting theory, and I believe that the best way to paint the complete picture is to tell it as a story, rather as I lived it myself. As a teenager, I could not understand why I had become so plump and why my desperate efforts to diet just seemed to drive me deeper into my battle with weight. By the age of twenty-two I had adopted a crazy set of dieting rules that worked, but meant my weight was forever either rising or falling. Falling whenever I restricted myself to a thousand calories a day, and rising whenever I didn’t. I was always hungry. It took me ten years to work out what had gone wrong and what to do to put it right. I will reveal it all to you in twelve chapters.

Weight becomes a psychological issue, as well as a physiological one, and we need to explore the psychological side too. This is a detective story (and a story about love, friendship, and heartbreak, as stories should be), not a meandering trip into my subconscious. It is the story of how easy it is to fall into a pathological relationship with weight and what you have to do to escape. In Chapter Nine I explain a set of three practical, easy-to-follow instructions that will render you permanently slim. But I beg you to start at the beginning and read the complete story. In the end, I have come to believe that stories are important as well as facts and logic, maybe more important. 

So let me take you back to when I was seventeen, and let us merge our egos, for the space of two hundred pages, and share this journey...



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