DNA, Dieting and Getting Sweaty


I have been dieting for about ten years now and I am heavier than when I started. I have tried just about every ‘solution’ known to woman from calorie control to clean eating to not eating to macrobiotic mindfulness. They have collectively, along with a dollop of stress and a bout of mid-life hormones, added a good 14 pounds to my backside and belly.


The diet industry is worth billions yet Western society has an obesity epidemic. There are hundreds of weight-loss books, each one presented as the holy grail of fat-loss but each one works for only a few – the people who write the positive reviews. The rest of us sigh and put the book in the Oxfam box. There are schemes aplenty – from sensible Slimming World to the extremes which remove food and replace with shakes. Not a single one works for all. If it did, there would be no market. The latest thinking is that our genes dictate not only what foods will make us loose or gain weight but also the style of exercise our bodies need. See our article on DNA and weight loss. It makes some sense. If we all have our unique blueprint, then we also need our unique management system. In another peak of hope, I scrubbed my inner cheeks and sent off my sample for testing. This is operation catwalk, and my results were going to give me the formula.

I opened my DNA results with baited breath. Hopefully, surely this was going to give me the secret to weight loss which has evaded me for years.   Was this going to be the breakthrough I have been searching for? The tweak I need to make to watch the pounds which belligerently cling on just melt away.

I read the first section with some relief as it told me that I require a diet high in vegetables and protein and low in carbohydrates. Good – that is what I have been eating for over five years. In fact my diet is so clean that my microbiome must be Persil-white and my shopping list makes Deliciously Ella look like a sugar junkie. My only diversion from the road of diet puritanism is red wine and the occasional decadent gin cocktail. I turn the page and my heart begins to sink. No alcohol. Not cutting down. Oh no. The report says unequivocally – none.  I was beginning to dislike this advice.

Another turn and we get to exercise. I have been full of self-congratulatory thoughts since buying my Fitbit over two years ago and achieving my 10 thousand steps every day. To be honest, when your work involves tramping through London going from client meeting to client meeting or all day on your feet in a training room, the 10K is pretty easy to achieve. Nevertheless, I was quite sure I was not a couch potato. Not enough says the report. My DNA profile means I need to do high impact, aerobic exercise several times a week. Trotting between meetings, even wearing my trainers is not enough. By now my heart was sinking in the realisation that I need to get it racing. I hate gyms, I dislike getting sweaty and, being a woman of ample means, I hate running. It hurts, it makes me go red and puts unreasonable tensile-stress on my Berlei straps!

This was not the magic formula I was hoping for. It meant taking out my one remaining love (wine) and putting in my one remaining horror (getting red and sweaty). Operation catwalk was suddenly looking like misery road.

I needed inspiration. The obvious advisor was my friend K who has lost over five stone in 12 months and now shimmies round in cute size ten dresses, looks ten years younger and buys clothes for fun rather than camouflage. Her advice was quite clear – get your butt moving, make it something you enjoy, and keep doing it. My grumbles about other Sassistas being able to lose weight by just cutting down on calories fell on stony ground. ‘Well their bodies are different to yours’. It made sense. So I bit the bullet, read Tara’s articles on Getting Started with Exercise and at the point of writing this blog, I am at the end of my first week of Spin Cycling. See our first article on finding the right exercise for you – Spin Cycling. Oh, dear God! It may not strain my Berlei scaffolding, but every tendon and muscle in my body is feeling it. On my first lesson, the relief at seeing that the instructor was definitely north of sixty was soon wiped away as he Spinned without breaking a sweat while I was creating puddles on the mat. After 45 minutes I am red, exhausted, have mascara smeared down my face and have shaky legs – but I feel a sense of achievement.  Will I get to love it? Time will tell. Will it be the key to operation catwalk? I think only if I get to like it.  There are other exercise regimes to try, and I am determined to find something aerobic I love.

But for now, spinning off the calories will be the catwalk formula (oh, and water – not wine, damn it). Will report progress next week.



Until next time.... Stay Sassy

Dr G.

"The Online Magazine for strong women"


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