Diet Girl Interview at Real Women’s Fitness
Everyone who has searched for dieting online knows about Diet Girl. She is one of the biggest online weight loss celebrities and I am a long time fan of her Blog; The Amazing Adventures of Diet Girl.
I sent Diet Girl an email requesting an interview expecting her to say she was too busy. Instead I got a lovely and friendly response saying she was happy to have a chat.
We talked about all things diet, weight loss, exercise and touched on some important women’s issues that I promised I would continue to address here on this blog.
I hope you all enjoy the interview. Feel free to leave your comments for me or Diet Girl with any further questions you might have.
Interview with Diet Girl on Real Women’s Fitness
RT: Diet Girl, welcome to RealWomensFitness.com and thank you for doing this interview with us.
DG: My pleasure, RT! Glad to be here.
RT: You have a pretty amazing following on your Blog The Amazing Adventures of Diet Girl but for those people who might not have encountered you could you tell us a bit about yourself and your Blog?
DG: My name is Shauna and I’m a 29 year-old Australian living in Scotland. I started my blog in January 2001 weighing in at 351 pounds. I felt so overwhelmed by how much weight I had to lose and was looking for an outlet. Despite having great friends and family, I still felt rather lonely and isolated as none of them had experienced a weight problem quite as big as mine! So I started pouring out my heart and soul online. Having a place to vent and feeling part of the fatblogging community has proved incredibly helpful.
Calling the blog “The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl” started as sarcasm, really! I was thinking at the time, I have to try and lose more than half my body weight. Yeah, that’s going to be SO amazing! But it has turned out to be a real adventure! My weight loss journey has been full of ups and downs but I’ve kept writing throughout it all, and after six years I’ve lost over 170 pounds.
RT: Here at RealWomensFitness.com we have been delving into the dark and saddening world that is self-hatred. On your now famous weight loss journey were there any times you felt anger or hatred towards yourself because of how you looked?
DG: In the very beginning I did feel a lot of anger and self-loathing. The worst moment was after my first weigh-in when I discovered I was 351 lb. I couldn’t believe I was so heavy and that I’d let it get so out of hand. I remember getting home from my weigh-in, stripping off in front of the mirror and just bawling at my reflection. I just hated myself in that moment so much, I wanted to rip my flesh off. I didn’t see how I could possibly feel anything remotely positive towards my big unwieldy body.
But to my surprise it got better. Simply by starting to eat healthy foods and exercising, I slowly began to feel better about myself. Even though I could only manage to walk to the end of my street and back, I was proud of even that tiny achievement. Just making small positive changes and taking the time to take care of myself and my body completely changed my outlook. The moments of self-hatred and anger started to recede. I learned to like myself right in the moment, and stopped thinking I had to be skinny before I was worth liking!
RT: Do you have any techniques or advice to women who might be feeling the same or was there anything that was particularly helpful during this time?
DG: Try to be kinder to yourself! Anger and self-loathing are such debilitating emotions. I once thought if I hated myself enough, I’d shame myself into doing something about my blubber! But it just made me eat more and ultimately feel even worse.
I wasn’t one for cheesy techniques like smiling in the mirror and saying “I love me!”. Instead I realised I’d have to actively work to break the cycle of negative thoughts and self-hatred. Learning to be more positive was a skill I had to learn. Way back in 2001 I started small – going for a daily walk, choosing a healthier breakfast – and patted myself on the back for making those little changes. The positive feelings from those changes started spilling over into all aspects of my life and I realised I wasn’t so damn crap after all. I felt more confident, capable and comfortable in my skin. I saw how much energy I’d wasted by hating myself and became more determined not to listen to that negative voice of self-doubt anymore. It took a long time and of course I still have crappy days, but for the majority of the time I’m happy to be me – lump and bumps and all.
RT: On your weight loss journey have you found any form of exercise or diet to be particularly effective?
DG: For exercise, weight training has been fantastic. I started very early in my journey, when I was about 300lb. Weight training was incredibly satisfying as the moves are straightforward and being bigger isn’t a problem. In fact it’s an advantage in a lot of respects – my big legs were very strong! So I could see results quickly – lifting heavier weights, feeling new muscles growing beneath the flab. There was a real sense of achievement that I never found by puffing away on the treadmill! And it’s helped my body to tone up better that I ever thought possible. To all those worrying about loose skin, I say Get Liftin’ as soon as you can!
As for what I eat, I don’t ban any foods as that never works for me in the long term. Everything in moderation, otherwise I’d go insane! I love food and cooking and enjoying trying new ingredients and recipes. I have tried various diet plans over the years, but prefer to clobber together various ideas and do my own thing, that way it works for my lifestyle and budget.
I stick to a general calorie range and track my intake using an online food diary. Vegetables and fruit are the core of my diet as well as lean protein and whole grains. I try to eat food that has been “fiddled with” as little as possible and doesn’t have wacky ingredients that I can’t pronounce – so very little processed or convenience foods. But I always make room for chocolate!
RT: Do you have any tips or tricks for women out there who might want to follow your example but don’t know where to start?
DG: I always say just start somewhere… anywhere! I used to always think the perfect time and/or the perfect weight-loss program would come along, and THEN I’d do something about my weight. But that never happened. You just need to take one little step in a more positive direction – going for a walk, joining a Weight Watchers meeting, throwing out all the crappy food in your pantry.
It also helps to figure out some goals. Where do you want to be a year from now? Maybe you want to lose X pounds, fit into Y jeans, be able to run or do yoga or just walk without wheezing! It’s good to keep the Big Picture in mind to remind you why you’re going for a walk instead of eating the cupcakes. Then you start thinking about the Little Picture – how to break those big lofty goals into little steps. If you’re completely overwhelmed, don’t try and change too much at once. Set yourself little tasks then build up from there.
The biggest thing to remember is you’re not alone! There’s so much support and help out there. I find the online community invaluable – blogs and forums – for inspiration and information. Or you might have a friend or family member that can help. I think it’s so important to have someone to talk, because you will have ups and downs and a good support network can mean the difference between keeping on or giving up!
RT: I get a lot of emails at RealWomensFitness.com from women who have trouble sticking to their diet or exercise plans. Do you have any tips or tricks that you use to make sure you don’t fall off the path?
DG: My biggest tip is to accept that you will fall off the path from time to time. Long-term success is just about getting back on it as soon as you can, and keep doing that over and over again, for as long as it takes. Keep reminding yourself what it is you’re aiming for, then get back to it. It’s about persistence, not perfection.
RT: Another serious issue we have been talking about at RWF is the increasing number of women who are getting cosmetic surgery. Would you ever consider this type of surgery and do you think there is a problem with it?
DG: I don’t have a problem with it – to each their own! It’s not something that I would do. My body has been through a helluva ride and I’m proud of it for hanging in there. I’ve got curves, I’ve got stretchmarks, I’ve got muscles and they’re all part of me and the journey I’ve been on. I don’t feel the need to tamper with it at all.
RT: If you had to summarize everything you knew about losing weight into three pieces of advice for women who are doing the same what would they be?
DG: Be patient, be determined, keep a sense of humour and never forget there is so much more to you and life than what you weigh.
RT: Diet Girl, thanks for taking the time to do this interview. I hope to see you around at RWF again soon!