The SparkPeople Blog

Dietgirl Shares Her 20 Best Weight-Loss Secrets

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
1/2/2009 2:08 PM   :  1049 comments

Today's guest blogger is Shauna Reid, otherwise known as Dietgirl. In 2001, after seeing her gigantic white underpants waving in the breeze, Shauna decided enough was enough. It was time to lose weight. Then 351 pounds, she could barely walk down the block. Seven years and 175 pounds later, the 31-year-old Australia native is happily married and living in Scotland. (See the before and after photos here.)

How did she lose half her body weight and keep it off? Ultimately, the same way many SparkPeople members did: Through perseverance, hard work and moderation. Here, she offers 20 tips for those trying to lose weight and get healthy.







  1. First, start with the big picture. Write down your goals and be specific. What do you want to change? Where do you want to be a year from now?
  2. Next, focus on the details. Every day we make dozens of tiny decisions that can spell the difference between whether we lose weight or gain. Do you pick the muesli for breakfast or the chocolate muffin? Do you spend twenty minutes on the couch or twenty minutes on a brisk walk? Small changes can add up to huge results.
  3. Start exercising--no matter what your fitness level. At 25 stone I could only shuffle to the end of the street, but I gradually built up to the whole block. Within a couple of years I was running! Don't compare yourself to others, just work within your limits and take it slow and steady.
  4. Eat breakfast. A wholesome breakfast makes me feel smug, satisfied and determined to stay on track all day. My favourite is porridge, livened up with grated apple and cinnamon, or chopped banana and teaspoon of peanut butter.
  5. Be kind to yourself and your body. You don’t have to look in the mirror and chant, “I love me! I am beautiful!” but at the same time yelling at your thighs won’t encourage your weight loss efforts.
  6. Make your treats miniature. Instead of banning dessert, I choose smaller portions – like an apple crumble baked in a ramekin dish or a small bar of Green and Blacks chocolate. I get my sugar hit without dangerous leftovers!
  7. Lift weights. It won’t make you bigger – it’ll make you svelte and strong! If you’re worried about loose skin, resistance training is the best thing you can do to tone your body as you lose weight.
  8. Planning is crucial. Every Saturday I take ten minutes to plan our meals for the coming week. I choose from a list of 25 easy, tried-and-true recipes, so it’s quicker to cook than phone for a takeaway.
  9. Buy your groceries online. It saves time and you’re not tempted by all the sights and smells of the supermarket. Or tortured by your screaming children.
  10. Feel your emotions, don’t feed them. In times of stress it’s tempting to bury your feelings in cake – better to feel bad about binging than tackle the real issue! But try to find non-edible ways of coping – I highly recommend kickboxing classes.
  11. Go Greek. If you’re a cream or sour cream fiend, 0% or 2% Greek yogurt is an excellent substitute. It's low in fat, protein-rich and incredibly creamy. Dollop into meringue nests and top with fresh fruit. Splodge onto a bowl of chilli. Swirl into butternut squash soup.
  12. The best exercise is the one you enjoy. So what if your best friend swears by aerobics at dawn? If you’re a shift worker or just plain grumpy in the morning, this will never suit you. Choose an exercise you like and do it when it’s most convenient for you – this way you’ll stick with it.
  13. Stock your office pantry. It's much easier to ignore the vending machine when I’ve got half an orchard sitting on my desk and a drawer full of oatcakes, nuts and seeds.
  14. Have a cuppa. When hunger strikes and it’s not meal time, I make a cup of tea. This gives me time to figure out if I’m really hungry or if I’m just bored or cranky or upset. Herbal tea is great – experiment until you find one that doesn’t taste like grass clippings!
  15. Have a moan. Losing weight isn’t easy, but you don’t have to feel alone in the struggle. Start your own blog, or sign up for a message board. Remember, we’re all in this lardy boat together!
  16. Put the scales in perspective. Don’t fret over small fluctuations – focus on all the healthy things you’ve been doing for your body. Get out the tape measure or have a pair of “measurement jeans”, so you’re not dependent on the scales for feedback.
  17. Be adaptable. Make your weight loss plans fit around your life, not the other way around. Sometimes circumstances will change – a new job, a family crisis, moving house – and suddenly your usual routine doesn’t work. The trick is to be flexible and know when it’s time to tweak your methods.
  18. Set a non-scale goal. Why not train for a charity 5k race or challenge yourself to do ten push-ups? Focusing on fitness means I don’t fret about the numbers so much. And all those endorphins make me feel less inclined to go on a chocolate bender.
  19. Accept that sometimes it’s going to suck. Despite your best intentions, there will be days when you fall into a bag of crisps. But long-term success is about persistence, not perfection. It’s picking yourself up when you fall, over and over again.
  20. Don’t wait to be “skinny” to start living your life. If you have dreams of traveling or writing a book or learning to scuba dive, don’t think you need a smaller bum before you deserve them. Your life is happening right now – so forget about your wobbly bits and jump right in!

Content used with permission from Dietgirl.

Shauna's book is out now!



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Comments

  • 1049
    I've read her book several times, follow her blog (even though it isn't so much about weight-loss anymore), and have even read this blog/article many times - and STILL she makes me feel like I've got a funny friend in this journey with me. She's got a gift! - 7/31/2014   2:51:25 PM
  • 1048
    Excellent methods! - 5/22/2013   11:06:54 PM
  • 1047
    This was absolutitly wonderful.Just what I need to read when I get discouraged.Bless you for sharing. - 2/16/2013   2:16:18 PM
  • 1046
    Really needed to read this today! Thanks! I will keep trying. - 2/10/2013   10:32:52 AM
  • SUNNYLIFE72
    1045
    Great article and tips! - 2/8/2013   7:21:23 AM
  • 1044
    Wow. What an inspiration. Thanks. - 2/8/2013   5:51:51 AM
  • POWER2XCEL
    1043
    Thanks for the tips. Very insightful. - 11/13/2012   9:49:00 PM
  • 1042
    Excellent points to keep in mind every day. Especially the last one! - 11/3/2012   5:03:59 PM
  • 1041
    Thank you for those wonderful tips will keep them in mind - 10/4/2012   6:28:34 PM
  • 1040
    thanks for sharing these great trips i going to be using therm to finish my journey here as i head to the goal line and a new healthy life style. - 9/21/2012   7:00:21 PM
  • 1039
    Great tips!! I need to print this out! - 9/18/2012   10:27:50 PM
  • 1038
    I just finished reading her book... I can't count how many times I literally laughed out loud! It was a really good, funny read with lots of insight into the madness we're all going through. We're in this lardy boat together, lol! - 6/12/2012   9:49:09 AM
  • DAMIOTM
    1037
    What a hoot, "granny panties", I totally understand. Although old enough to be a granny, I have a 4 year old and don't want to look like one. Having lost 75 lbs almost 3 years ago, I'm working on my twin girls to get fit. It's more of a struggle, since they take medications which negatively impact weight loss. And, although we all love tea, I completely get the experimentation of herbal teas...YES, MOST DO TASTE LIKE GRASS CLIPPINGS! - 6/11/2012   6:43:23 AM
  • 1036
    The last one really strikes home with me. I keep putting things off and putting things off. Now, years have passed. I'm getting healthy and I'm halfway to my goal, but I still find myself putting things off. Now, I tend to ask myself: why am I putting this off? If the answer is "because I'm self-conscious/fat," then I try to find a way to work around it without depriving myself entirely. This mentality is a work in progress. lol - 6/6/2012   3:58:13 PM
  • 1035
    Thank you for sharing your tips they will work for many projects plus weight lose. Thanks again, Lucinda - 6/5/2012   12:45:02 PM
  • 1034
    Thank you so much for sharing! Keeps things in perspective when I have so little weight to lose in comparison. - 6/1/2012   9:14:57 AM
  • CALMMAMA2
    1033
    best tips ever! - 6/1/2012   8:52:37 AM
  • 1032
    Love your book! Thanks for all the tips! - 5/30/2012   12:37:37 PM
  • KDMAMA2
    1031
    This is great. Thank you! :0) - 5/29/2012   12:44:19 PM
  • 1030
    Would love to see the 20 tips, but they didn't show up!
    Bummer. - 5/29/2012   12:42:12 PM
  • MYSTERY-LADY1
    1029
    Congrats - 3/18/2012   4:58:46 PM
  • 1028
    Thanks for the encouragement! Congratulations on your weight loss! - 3/8/2012   4:24:41 PM
  • 1027
    Thanks for sharing! Great tips!! - 2/27/2012   4:28:57 PM
  • 1026
    Awesome Awesome Advice ~ just getting back on the track and it is so good to see these tips! Thanks!! - 2/27/2012   2:06:12 PM
  • 1025
    Thanks Stephanie! - 2/22/2012   10:57:28 PM
  • 1024
    Congratulations!!! Thanks for sharing some of your secrets. You look beautiful!!! - 2/18/2012   12:58:57 PM
  • IRISHCATHY1957
    1023
    I just read your tips - and I wanted to thank you for these. I have been having a bad week and losing my focus and a lot of your tips are just what I needed - especially the idea of having the cuppa ... many times I eat when I get home from work and I am just gonna have the cuppa and see what that does before I snack on something... tea makes all things better!!
    Cathy - 2/16/2012   1:05:52 PM
  • 1022
    Love, love, loved it! So many great tips I can and/or have put into practice. I'm going to save this to my favorites so I can access it regularly. G'day and thanks mate! - 2/14/2012   5:29:00 PM
  • 1021
    Thank you for your great tips. It is so encouraging to get advice from someone who has gone through it themselves. You understand it is not as easy as some may lead you to believe (infomercials etc) - 2/10/2012   8:25:26 AM
  • 1020
    This is really fantastic! Clearly I'm catching on late in the game, but it's still great advice and even better motivation! - 2/5/2012   5:13:08 AM
  • 1019
    wow... I see all these success stories and realize i need to grab this by the horns and quiet cutting corners it wont help me, thank you - 2/3/2012   10:04:01 AM
  • 1018
    Love your book! -- it made me laugh mostly but also cry and it said so many things I have thought on some level but never shared with anyone. And thank you for the tips. - 2/2/2012   2:17:57 PM
  • 1017
    Love #14 -- I often will do the tea trick, sometimes with a bit of honey. It can take the edge of a nosh craving.
    - 1/27/2012   9:20:43 AM
  • SBNORMAL
    1016
    Thanks for your words of wisdom!! - 1/17/2012   3:17:04 PM
  • SBNORMAL
    1015
    Thanks for your words of wisdom!! - 1/17/2012   3:16:55 PM
  • 1014
    Good tips. Agree on them 100%. - 1/16/2012   4:52:36 PM
  • 1013
    Great tips. Thank you. And congratulations! - 1/9/2012   12:35:05 PM
  • 1012
    Thanks for sharing, Love love love this blog! - 1/5/2012   1:55:32 PM
  • 1011
    I cant see the tips anybody willing to share them with me? - 11/30/2011   11:50:12 AM
  • LUVCARDIO
    1010
    Tips !? What tips !!? None show up currently. Would LOVE to know what they are..... can some one send them to me via email please ? Thanks !!!! - 11/30/2011   10:17:11 AM
  • 1009
    WOW! Congrats and great job! You look fantastic. I love the transformation you've made. Thanks for the tips! I'm glad to see the tip about not waiting til your skinny to live your life. I'll never be skinny, and that's not my goal, but once I finally finished my Dream Board/ Vision Collage, I started living it, I am living it. And I gave up on the scale a long time ago. Once I started to see a huge difference in my figure, and I was getting toned, I realized that the number on the scale isn't really all that important. My body changes are more important to me now. - 11/28/2011   9:15:59 AM
  • TLOVESC1125
    1008
    The tips did not appear for me bummer - 11/10/2011   11:25:46 AM
  • 1007
    This is so great I'm printing it out to read every day! Thanks and congratulations! - 10/31/2011   6:42:41 AM
  • DCGAL9
    1006
    those are great tips. i especially like the don't wait until your skinny one at the end! thanks - 10/11/2011   12:01:34 PM
  • JLBRHW
    1005
    Love your light-hearted approach and I applaude your success! - 10/5/2011   7:56:33 PM
  • PICKANYNAME
    1004
    AMEN, Girl!!!!! Absolutely loved the tips! Thanks for reminding us of all the little details that pave the way to the big picture! =) - 10/5/2011   2:12:32 PM
  • 1003
    Great tips. Congrats too on your awesome transformation. Keep up the great work.
    - 9/4/2011   12:56:55 AM
  • VSEL55
    1002
    Thanks for sharing your journey and the terrific tips. - 9/3/2011   1:48:14 PM
  • 1001
    I am currently reading this book, and I love it! I can relate to so many of the issues that Shauna has been going through. This is a great list of do's & don't highlights that she discovers during her journey. - 8/29/2011   4:58:11 PM
  • COOLRUNNINGS21
    1000
    Great blog, you make it sound so easy! - 8/24/2011   7:37:12 AM

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