Caught in a cycle of emotional eating and exercise
Throughout his youth, Alan used exercise to manage his weight. But as he grew older, injuries and a poor diet caught up with him.
Alan struggled with depression in his 20s and started gaining weight after taking anti-depressants. He also developed a problematic relationship with food including emotional eating.
With the Total Wellbeing Diet, Alan lost 12 kg*, broke the cycle of constant weight fluctuations and developed a healthy relationship with food.
When Alan was at his heaviest, he used to get really down about it. This again would lead to a poor body image and low self-esteem.
"I’d say that really affected me when I was in relationships but even more so when I wasn’t in a relationship in terms of having the confidence to approach somebody and chat them up and that sort of thing."
Often Alan would eat relatively well but when he got stressed he would overeat and eat a lot of unhealthy foods. The typical triggers were stressful days at work and other emotional issues.
Exercise for weight loss
Alan would counter his over-eating and weight gain by exercising more - sometimes for a couple of hours a day.
He believes that exercising too much can be a problem in itself, almost akin to purging yourself. However, as soon as he got injured or he was too busy to exercise, the weight would pile back on.
"It makes more sense to me now to just have a healthy diet - I don’t need to go and exercise for 2 hours," Alan says.
He still exercises - he loves running - but not to cover over bad eating habits. He says running helps with his mood and that it's great for mental health.
Alan currently studies counselling where he's learning even more about what constitutes a healthy lifestyle. He believes mindfulness can be a key to many people's bad eating habits.
"One of the problems in the past was that I’d come home, especially in the evenings, I’d have my dinner in front of the TV. So I’d literally just scoff the dinner down and wouldn’t even be paying attention to it," he says.
"Now I make it more of a ritual where I sit at the table and have a meditation for about a minute before and think about what I’m doing and just slow it down."
Work in progress
Today he's got a healthier relationship both with food and with exercise. He still struggles at times but overall he feels more in control.
"I think for me it’s a work in progress still, it’s almost the last part of the puzzle that I’m working on is the tendency to eat when I’m upset or stressed or whatever," he says.
For Alan, the Total Wellbeing Diet just worked. It told him what to eat, how much and it had a way of logging the food so he could monitor his diet.
"For me personally, I just find it very easy to adhere to. That was the main thing, and not necessarily a feature of the diet."
*Individual results may vary