Anna Richardson- 'Diet is not a dirty word!'

C4’s Anna Richardson, 42, gives us the lowdown on her life of dieting –and the inside scoop on what works when it comes to losing weight

Anna Richardson

Let’s be clear – I’m a thin girl in a fat body. I’ve spent my life trying to convince people I have an effortless size 10 body that moves like Madonna on a lit-up disco dance floor. The reality is, I’m built like Fatima Whitbread. So I made it my mission to diet… and BOY have I tried every diet known to man (and woman – see below). I have been constipated, flatulent, hungry and in pain. And, after all that, did I lose any weight? Nope. Just my mind. We like to kid ourselves that our issue is with food. How many times have you heard a girl say: “My problem is, I’m a chocoholic,” or “The trouble with me is, I’m a carb addict?” The truth is, we don’t really have an issue with what we eat – the problem is always with ourselves. But working out when your eating issues really began and why is a great place to start.

'We don't really have an issue with what we eat- the problem is always with ourselves'

Anna Richardson before

Dial D… for Denial. Here’s a question for you. What is the link between 62 per cent of adults in the UK being overweight and our diet industry being worth billions? It’s denial! People are constantly looking for a quick-fix diet, which will magically turn them into a thin person. And the diet industry is worth so much because people fail and continue to look for that “fix,” then fail and try again. And it’s only when we’re faced with the reality of what we’re really eating that we’re shocked into action. It’s also the reason why my C4 surveillance series Secret Eaters is watched by millions. And why it’s had the most successful weight-loss results of any TV diet show. One of my favourite characters on the series was a chap who’d paid thousands of pounds to have a gastric band fitted only to make it his mission to try to “cheat” it. He’d eat the same amount of food as he had before the op – just blended. None of us want to believe we eat as much as we do. And that’s why, as a nation, we’re getting fatter. Are you in denial?

'None of us want to believe we eat as much as we do. And that's why, as a nation, we're getting fatter'

Anna is a size 10 now

So, what's eating you?

My most successful weight loss was achieved after visiting Marisa Peer, a hypnotherapist and psychotherapist who specialises in weight-loss. She identified the six types of over-eaters and this is what she taught me: If you’re overweight, it’s likely that you fit into one or more of the five eating types that weight-loss experts talk about: Addictive Eaters (crave sugary junk food), Emotional Eaters (find relief from boredom, loneliness and/or depression through food), Habitual Eaters (conditioned to eat at mealtimes, even when they’re not hungry), Ignorant Eaters (ready-made meal junkies), Destructive Eaters (need volume and frequency of meals and feel panic if they have to share) and Ignorant eaters who, Marisa says, have been completely brainwashed by food manufacturers to believe that what they are eating is healthy or harmless. They eat a lot of convenience and ready meals. Which type are you? You can only change your habits if you know why you’re overeating! And, remember, there may be a million ifferent diets out there promising magical weight loss in a mythical amount of time. But, in my experience, there is only one way to lose weight. A sensible, calorie-controlled diet. The rest is all in the mind.

Closer magazine cover