I’m done with dieting.

I’ve been on a diet for the last ten years and I’m so exhausted from it all. I got thin. Now I’m a bit chubby. Life goes on. There are so many worries in the world that I don’t have the will power to count calories and fight cravings any more. I’m free.

The hard truth is that it’s not that easy to free yourself from dieting. I’ve trained my brain to see foods in a certain light, to view exercise as punishment and to see clothes size as a way to categorise beauty. I was a serial dieter for such a long time, and looking back now the habits that I formed were very strange indeed. I know I’m not alone either; because magazines, books and slimming clubs everywhere have created little subcultures of calorie-counting women who all practice similar behaviours. Here is a humorous look at the things that only a serial dieter will understand…

1.Buying two miniature bottles of wine instead of one full sized bottle because it’s the only way you can exert self-control on a Friday night. This almost always results in a late night dash to the corner shop for a full size bottle after consuming said miniatures. Cue hangover.

2. Eating only vegetables throughout the day so that you can eat a very specific amount of cheese later on. This means being hungry all day as well as bloated and gassy from all the vegetables. At least you get your romantic moment with 40g of cheddar.

3. Spending money on diet magazines because you need ‘motivation’. You may also seek so-called ‘motivation’ from buying clothes that are too small in order to give you something to work towards. This never works.

4. Buying branded diet ready meals to make life easier when you’d rather eat a piece of cardboard smothered in peanut butter. The ready meal will undoubtedly be chucked in the bin in favour of some Warburtons Thins which are equally as disappointing.

5. Knowing the exact number of calories in a tablespoon of peanut butter and knowing that you could never just have one. Smirking with glee when you see the peanut butter sachets now available and shamelessly licking the packet clean on several occasions.

6. The obsession with stocking up on things that are labelled 100 calories or less. Muller Light Yoghurts and Special K Bars are your favourite, and your blood sugar levels are being carefully controlled hour by hour by these bad boys.

7. Living on diet drinks and espressos in between meals to distract from hunger pangs and keep your energy up. This leads to the odd migraine but you find more caffeine tends to sort that out in a jiffy.

8. How exciting it is when you’re going out for dinner, and you find that the restaurant’s website provides calorie information for every meal they sell. Obviously you can’t eat a full meal, but an interesting combination of two starters and a side salad with no dressing should just about suffice. Then a good long sniff of your friend’s chocolate pudding.

9. Refusing to buy clothes from H&M because their sizes come up small and you KNOW you’re no bigger than an 18. New Look are more forgiving so let’s stick with them.

10. Looking in the mirror and thinking you look pretty good today, only to have a rude awakening when you step on the scales to find that you weigh exactly the same as yesterday. How can this be? The detox starts today.

All joking aside, isn’t it time we all started forgetting about the calories in our food and instead concentrated on nutrition? Shouldn’t be be eating fatty avocados and avoiding sugary cereal bars? Isn’t it obvious that ‘diet’ foods are often void of the amount of energy we need to sustain a healthy lifestyle?

In fact, the low calorie plans most of us try to stick to are destined for failure from the outset. Maybe not instant failure, but inevitably these crash diets are unrealistic for most people. Let’s all rejoice in the fact that we live in a part of the world where we actually have enough food to eat, and work on retraining our brains to pick the best of the bunch.

What’s your worst ‘dieting’ habit?