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Why I Finally Refused to Lose Weight to Keep a Man

Right after I first came out, I went with some friends to Fire Island, the homo party-Mecca of Long Island. At the time I weighed 185 pounds, a standard weight for my five-foot-eleven frame. Several hours into the evening, my good friend’s date pulled me aside and declared he had the hots for me. Stammering with disbelief, I reminded him that he was on a date with my friend, not me. He ignored this statement, put his hand on mine and leaned in declaring these words that I’ve carried with me ever since; “You have such a pretty face, if only you’d lose some weight.” It was my official introduction to the world of gay body images and the enormous pressure to look perfect.

While on the one hand this man was complimenting me, it was a back-handed statement that outlined the twink-versus-bear mentality that is used in the gay community to label and categorize appearances, and hence people, with dismissive ease. I politely rejected his advances, but his words resonated in my head for the rest of the night. When I woke up the next day, I immediately began limiting my food intake to orange juice and pretzels, believing that I clearly would need to lose some weight if I ever wanted a serious gay relationship.

Several weeks later, I was out at a club when a sexy man followed me to the bathroom and started chatting me up. We went home together and began what was a tumultuous two-year affair. About a week in, my new boyfriend, who was incredibly athletic, suggested we join a gym together. Remembering my Fire Island admirer’s statement, I quickly agreed. The next eighteen months I proceeded to diligently visit the gym six days a week, whittling myself down to a lithe 158 pounds. Friends and family became concerned as I was slowly wasting away, but the attention I received from my man and the boys in the bars more than made up for their worries and validated the importance of being skinny.

Reveling in the shape of my new body, I went out dancing one night with my boyfriend, where I saw a heavy-set guy tearing it up on the floor. I was so surprised by his carefree attitude that I smiled and clapped along while he boogied away. After all, I couldn’t look in the mirror without seeing a few more pounds to lose or an inch to tone, while this guy was confident in letting it all jiggle and hang out. As I stood there joyfully clapping away, a cute and fit dude dancing nearby turned to me and chuckled, “If you just want sex, fatties are the best aren’t they? You can treat ‘em like shit and they don’t care.” Disgusted, I left the floor.

A few weeks later, I learned that my boyfriend had been cheating on me for months. Rather than leaving him immediately, I somehow convinced myself that he never would have gone astray if I was in even better shape. Thus, I worked harder at the gym than before. However, as our relationship continued to deteriorate, I became exhausted keeping up with the gay-Joneses at the gym. It was too much work, and I resented denying myself the things I enjoyed in an effort to stay some horny man’s wandering eye. Thus, I started quietly sneaking junk food in private when no one was looking. It was ridiculous because I’d sup on grilled chicken and salad while we were together, but I’d hide a stash of chips or cookies that I’d inhale the second my boyfriend left the apartment. Needless to say the relationship eventually collapsed. I moved out, ate myself into gleeful oblivion, and slowly ballooned to over 225 pounds in a period of a few years.

After a while, I began seeing another guy, but when this new relationship appeared to be stuck in neutral, I asked my new love where we were headed. He then leveled me with hauntingly familiar words, stating “You have no idea how beautiful you could be if you just lost some weight, but I don’t see this going further until you do.” Devastated, I bought a treadmill online that very night.

One evening while toiling away on the equipment, I picked up my cell phone to answer a call from this current boyfriend where he proceeded to tell me, through my panting and gasps, that he was leaving the country the next day on business and wouldn’t be back for a few weeks. He suggested that when he returned we should pursue a more casual relationship by just hooking up for sex on occasion with no strings attached. I replied by stepping off the treadmill and politely telling him to kiss my fat ass.

After that, when I went online to meet people, and I was particularly cognizant of guys writing “no chubs” in their posts or letting me know up front that being overweight was a definite non-negotiable. I also began to explore parties that catered to bears or chubbies and their chasers. However, I couldn’t help but be annoyed by the idea that I had to be regulated to a label or group. That’s not to say there isn’t great empowerment in these groups, but I just personally didn’t feel like I needed to officially belong to any particular clique or cater to fetish-like admirers in order to find a partner. Thus, I kept it moving and stopped putting energy into worrying about what anyone saw me as on the outside, as eventually all beauty fades.

At last, I knew I had stumbled on the man of my dreams when out on a first date he asked me if I wanted to order dessert. When I said I couldn’t decide between two items, he ordered both of them for us to share! Many years and ice cream sundaes later, I am fully confident that letting go of the insane expectations of weight and shape have led me to a more fulfilled life. By first focusing on the value of my own inner worth, I was able to secure a relationship that was not based on my girth, which has fluctuated greatly through the years. My fabulousness, however, has not!

What is the best diet for staying slim and healthy long-term?

At some point most of us have tried a fad diet in the hope of miracle weight loss, but the results are temporary and they can lead to bad habits, says Karen Coghlan.


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The question I am asked most frequently as a nutrition coach is: “Which diet is the best?” The answer I give is often not the one expected.

Most people think they need to go on an extreme faddish diet to achieve fat loss. But what people fail to realise is that the more faddish the diet, the greater the rebound and the fatter they’ll end up.

So why so popular?

Short-term immediate results is the answer. People want results and they want them now, at almost any cost.

Faddish diets promise a quick fix, are based on celebrity testimonials, try to sell you products that make dramatic claims and eliminate one or more food groups.

Stay well away from them.

The sooner we stop chasing the magic diet pill, the better. The key ingredients for successful fat loss are having a healthy mindset and a sound nutrition plan. Nurture the mind and body.

There are hundreds of diets to choose from. They all claim to be the best in some unique magical way. The only reason any diet works is that they slash calories.

You’ve heard it all before — sugar makes you fat, potatoes make you fat, and so on. So you cut out sugar and potatoes and, hey presto, you are no longer fat. But this is just correlation, not causation.

The reason you lost

weight is because you reduced your calorie intake automatically by eliminating sugar and potatoes.

An excess of calories makes you fat. Not sugar, potatoes or saturated fat. So which diet? Please tell me!

Low-Carb Diet

The mainstream view of low-fat is shifting towards low-carb, which has been shown to lead to better outcomes. By cutting down on carbs you also cut out refined junk food such as cake, crisps and biscuits — and this cuts out calories.

However, all carbs should not be vilified. If you go very low-carb you will miss out on essential vitamins and minerals from nutrient and fibre- dense carbs such as grains, potatoes and fruits.

Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of energy, so a very low-carb diet isn’t suitable for very active people, sportspeople or naturally lean people. However, a carbohydrate-controlled diet can be beneficial.

The amount of carbs you should eat depends on your body size, type and physical needs.

Bikini Season: Eight foods to beat the bloat 

The Caveman Diet

The Paleo diet is one of the newer, trendier diets. It’s based on how our hunter-gatherer ancestors were thought to have eaten. It includes meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits and raw nuts and seeds.

It’s fantastic for your health, but it has its challenges. It excludes dairy, legumes and grains. These play a role in our health and add balance. Also, in the world of convenience in which we live, it’s difficult to avoid these foods all the time.

Paleo has a big focus on eating healthy fats. They’re necessary for your brain, eyes, hormones and more. However, healthy fats can still make you fat. For example, nuts. One small bag contains more calories than a whole meal.

Another fail is the list of ‘bad’ foods. This is not good for the mind and can lead to anxiety.

‘Caveman’ diet proves best way to shift a few stone

Clean Eating

Clean eating is another trendy diet, especially among physique and fitness models you admire daily in your social media newsfeed. It involves avoiding all junk food and refined sugar, including whole unprocessed foods, and eating five or six smaller meals a day. Again, this is a good one as there’s a big focus on health.

However, the negatives to clean eating are similar to those of Paleo — having a ‘bad’ food list as well as the amount of time needed for food preparation, which isn’t always easy.

Clean eaters often refer to the term “cheat meal” when they eat something that isn’t on their ‘good’ food list.

The definition of cheat is “to act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage”. I don’t like the use of “cheat” when it comes to food.

Food should never be associated with dishonesty or guilt.

It’s to do with your mindset, and a negative mindset can lead to a loss of control, binge eating and even disordered eating behaviours.

Instead, we should include treats in our diet. A treat is a food that is out of the ordinary, gives pleasure and should be enjoyed. Planning for and allowing fun foods is what ultimately makes a diet maintainable, sustainable and enjoyable!

Treat yourself to a cheat meal, satisfy that craving 

Meal Replacements

Most meal replacements replace two meals, along with having a healthy meal and snack. The shake typically includes a protein powder, fructose and fortified vitamins and minerals. I’ve yet to come across a meal replacement powder that doesn’t have a list of ingredients as long as my arm.

The majority are based on soy protein, which may be derived from genetically-modified soy. There’s lots of conflicting reports on the safety of isolated and highly-refined soy, from thyroid disease to breast cancer. So it’s recommended to avoid consuming isolated and highly-refined forms of soy on a regular basis.

Meal replacers work because they dramatically slash calories. A shake contains as little as 200kcals. That results in a huge cut of 800 calories per day, so no wonder results are quick.

I don’t believe meal replacements are conducive to having a healthy relationship with food, plus you can end up becoming overly-dependent on them and fearing food.

The One That Works For You

So, which diet? The answer is neither sexy nor magical, it’s very simple. The best diet is the one that works for you.

If you consistently stick to the diet while not feeling deprived and are able to maintain your results — that is, your size and shape — in the long-term, then that’s the diet for you.

The main focus should be on health and fixing nutrient deficiencies. Only then should you be concerned about creating a calorie deficit.

A diet should be maintainable and enjoyable and based on positive affirmations with a focus on adding things to your diet that will ultimately have a positive effect.

I would advise staying clear of groups of people who have a very dogmatic or extremist view on nutrition. These sorts of groups can lead people to fear certain foods.

Find a diet that works for you; one that maximises nutrient intake, maximises health and makes you feel good.

Instead of following your social media newsfeed or unsuccessful friends, I encourage you to find a mentor or a successful coach and adopt their habits, patterns and behaviours for long-term success.

For more information:;

Paleo diet serves up Stone Age cuisine for health, weight loss

Imagine noshing only on foods that can be hunted or gathered. That’s what proponents of the Paleo diet claim we need to do in order to be leaner and less prone to getting chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. This culinary approach harkens back to a pre-agricultural era when our ancestors were not yet privy to processed foods, dairy products and refined sugars, culprits that Paleo advocates blame for much of today’s chronic illness and obesity.

Primal Plan

The Paleo diet, taken from the term Paleolithic, includes meat, fish, shellfish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. What you don’t eat in this nutritional plan is as important as what you do consume. Foods to avoid include whole grains, dairy products, potatoes, sugar, salt or processed foods.

“There is no scientific evidence that supports the claims of the Paleo diet, however the good aspects are it’s low in sugar, low in saturated fats, includes a lot of good quality foods, fewer chemicals and less packaged foods,” says Jim White, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios in Virginia Beach, Va.

On the other hand, says White, eliminating nutrient-rich foods from your diet can be dicey.

“By deleting foods like dairy and whole grains which studies have shown help to prevent cancer and bone loss, I feel that people are going to have major cracks in their plates and they’re going to have major deficiencies which may affect them later in life,” says White.

White also cautions that decreasing your carbohydrate intake so significantly can lower your energy, particularly if you are athletic.

“People do feel better on the Paleo diet, but following a low carbohydrate diet is not fun, especially when you’re an athlete trying to build muscle and train for distance,” says White.

Making it Work

Any nutritional plan with stringent guidelines can be challenging to maintain and the Paleo diet is no exception, says White. However, he says, there are ways to modify it to suit a more modern lifestyle.

“Increasing the whole grains and knocking down the fats to less than 30 percent of daily calories from fat would be a more ideal meal plan and more livable,” he says. According to a U.S. News and World report, the Paleo diet serves up about 39 percent of daily calories from fat, exceeding current recommendations.

Since the diet offers little in terms of calcium, White suggests boosting your intake by adding two to three daily servings of organic skim milk or Greek yogurt.

White suggests doing a trial run to determine whether the diet is right for you.

“Give it 30 days as a jump start and then get into a little bit more realistic plan,” he advises. “If it helps you lose weight and gets you motivated to start working out more, but then switch it over to something more livable.”

White recommends seeking professional guidance to help you get started.

Weight Loss on Paleo

Most people start on the Paleo diet to lose weight. There are two ways the regimen can help you shed unwanted pounds. First, by decreasing the amount of carbohydrates you consume, you can lose water weight.

Second, many people eat high amounts of unhealthy carbohydrates.. The Paleo diet offers less of these foods and more filling, high-protein, high-fiber food sources.

“When you go on a meal plan like this, you’re getting rid of your high amounts of unhealthy carbohydrates and with that there will incur a weight loss, more from decreasing portion sizes and decreasing calories,” says White.

The amount of protein and fiber you get in the Paleo regimen serves as an appetite suppressant. In a small study published in Nutrition and Metabolism, participants on the Paleo diet reported they were just as full yet consumed fewer calories than those consuming a Mediterranean diet.

To help you transition to a new way of eating, the Paleo diet allows three “cheat” meals a week for you to eat what you wish.

Banco Santander’s Scrip Dividend Diet Is Unhealthy

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9 ways to lose weight by rearranging your kitchen

A kitchen makeover may be the first step to losing weight.

If you declutter your kitchen, you’re likely to snack about half as much, and if you don’t keep breakfast cereal on the kitchen counters, you may weigh about 20 pounds less than your neighbor who has it in plain view, says one of the nation’s top researchers on eating behavior.

“It’s easier to become slim by design than slim by willpower,” says Brian Wansink, director of Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab and author of a new book, Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life ( He also wroteMindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think.

For years, Wansink been on a mission: to ferret out environmental factors that push Americans, sometimes unconsciously, to eat too much.

“We’re all mindless eaters,” he says. He has found that people make more than 200 decisions about food every day, including what and when to eat, how many bites to take of different foods and whether to get seconds. And he has shown that people typically eat most of the food, about 92%, that they put on their own plate.

Wansink has been studying eating behavior for 25 years, and he and colleagues have conducted hundreds of studies on how and why people eat. When it comes to doing a kitchen makeover, he recommends:

• Move healthier foods to visible spots. Rearrange your cupboards, pantry and refrigerator so the first foods you see are the healthy ones, Wansink says.

In one study, he and colleagues asked people to move their fruits and vegetables from the crisper bins to the top shelves of their refrigerators and move the less healthy foods to the crisper. After one week, people reported consuming nearly three times more fruits and vegetables as they did the week before. “We might think we are keeping fruits and vegetables fresher longer in the crisper, but our goal is to eat them, not compost them.”

He suggests having a bowl with two or more types of fruit in plain view in the kitchen and at work. He started doing that, and now, “I eat more fruit than Tarzan.”

• Make tempting foods invisible and inconvenient. Don’t have any foods other than fruit visible in the kitchen. That means no cereal, baked goods, chips or muffins out on the counters or table, he says.

He and fellow researchers visited more than 200 kitchens in homes and photographed them extensively, including taking pictures of the dishes, refrigerator shelves, counters and snacks. They also measured the height and weight of the person who purchased the food for the house.

Among their many findings: Women who had even one box of breakfast cereal visible anywhere in the kitchen weighed an average of 21 pounds more than those who didn’t have any cereal in plain view.

• Declutter your kitchen. His research shows that cluttered kitchens prompted people to eat 44% more of their snack food than a kitchen that was organized and decluttered. This means putting away things such as the toaster, cutting board and knives. “Where a more organized kitchen may prompt self-control, a disorganized one does the opposite.”

• Make your kitchen less friendly for lounging. The more you hang out in your kitchen, the more you’ll eat, so don’t have comfy chairs, TVs, computers or tablets in the kitchen, Wansink says.

• Think twice about buying big packages of food. His research shows that people eat more from bigger packages than smaller ones. His advice: Repackage the bigger boxes into single-serving portions.

• Use smaller serving bowls and spoons. In one study, Wansink had nutrition professors serve themselves ice cream using different-sized spoons and bowls. They ate 54% more ice cream when they used bigger bowls and spoons, “and these are people who should know better,” he says.

In another study of elementary-age campers, the children ate 42% more cereal from a 24-ounce cereal bowl than they did from a 12-ounce bowl.

• Use smaller, narrower drinking glasses. His research shows that people pour themselves more in a 16-ounce glass — the typical size of many kitchen glasses — than a 12-ounce glass. Even more surprisingly, they pour more in a 12-ounce wide glass than a 12-ounce narrow glass. To consume less of high-calorie drinks, such as soda and sugary tea, use the smaller, narrower glasses, but for things such as water, use the bigger glasses, he says.

• Serve food from the counter or the stove. In another study, he found that people ate 19% less food when they served their food from bowls on the counter or stove vs. bowls on the table. “People, especially guys, tend to serve themselves again and again when the food is right in front of them.”

• Avoid doing other activities while eating. His research shows that the more people reported watching TV during dinnertime, the higher their body mass index (a number that takes into account height and weight) of both the parent and the child.

When Wansink gave moviegoers free 5-day-old stale popcorn, they ate an average of 173 calories more from a big bucket than a medium one. Complaining that the popcorn tasted horrible, they continued to eat while watching the movie, he says. “We tend to mindlessly eat while we’re doing other activities. The cue that we are finished eating is that our food is gone.”

Rethinking your kitchen can help you reach a healthy weight, Wansink says. “Slim by design is forever; slim by willpower can be wimpy and has to last a lifetime.”

(Copyright © 2014 USA TODAY)

My lazy man’s diet plan actually worked

One: no processed foods. If it ain’t a fruit, a vegetable or an animal,
it ain’t going in my mouth (eggs and dairy, in moderation, filed under

Two: no bread, no pasta. Weird at first to have eggs not-on-toast,
bun-free burgers and Salad Bolognese, but you get used to it.

Three: having ‘a glass of wine with my meal’ is to be taken literally,
folks. No proper boozing.

Four: for two meals a week, completely ignore rules one to three and
have an ice cream, or a Guinness, or a Guinness-flavoured ice cream.

Five: when on holiday, eat whatever the hell I like. Chinese New Year
and St Patrick’s Day count as holidays.

These may seem like pretty lax rules for a diet, and indeed they are: by the
time we came to film the pilot I’d perhaps only lost half a stone, though
that was still enough to make a small difference on camera. But as a slow,
steady lifestyle change, the process has been transformative: one year down
the road I’ve gone from a 40 inch waist to a 34 inch waist, which means
Abercrombie and Fitch actually stock my size, although their sales staff
remain suitably sceptical when I walk through the door.

Superslim me: Olly Mann before and after his lifestyle change

Thanks to the Olly Mann Diet Plan, I don’t feel like I’m losing out: when an
edible or drinkable delight is truly irresistible, such as afternoon tea at
a posh hotel that someone else is paying for, ten pints of beer at a stag
do, or a detour into Five Guys on my way home from work, I permit myself to
indulge. But the rest of the time, I genuinely enjoy creating no-bread
breakfasts (currently: celery, spring onion and goji berries, marinated in
lime juice, however wacky that sounds); grilled fish and steamed greens for
lunch; steak or shrimp salad for dinner. No hardship. Plus, my snoring has
stopped, according to my girlfriend. I feel fitter, and the unhealthy foods
I used to enjoy snacking on now make me feel bloated, so I actively want to
avoid them.

That said, the pilot never was picked up by a TV network, and I’m basically
still fat. Which is a headline you’ll never see in Men’s Fitness.