The village diet


With all the fad diets around and the aftermath of the seasonal festivities sitting firmly around the waistline of the nation, it is not surprising that the bathroom scales are eyeing me accusingly every time I am in their vicinity. They do that to most of us in winter, when the odd extra pound or so can sneak in unnoticed beneath the thick jumpers that cover a multitude of sins.

The scales were bought, not for me, but to weigh a parcel for my son. They now sit in the corner of my bathroom where my own scales would have sat, had I not deliberately dispensed with them some time ago. I came to the conclusion that bathroom scales are one of the most depressing contraptions ever invented and, with that in mind, consigned them to the scrap heap.

They are often wildly inaccurate and can vary by several pounds depending upon where you put them. Then, by depressing you further than any actual gain of weight merits, they throw you into either starvation or comfort-eating mode. Therefore, I decided that scales themselves were bad for my weight, let alone my mental well-being, and should carry a warning to that effect. Or should be carried to the local tip. Preferably in small, bite-sized pieces.

I gave up weighing myself. I’m a woman… the daily fluctuation in the volume of curves has never borne much correlation to the actual poundage. As long as my clothes fit, I knew I was okay. I ate pretty much what I wanted and the jeans-to-muffin-top ratio stayed pretty much constant.


Then I hit middle age.

It is a time of life when we finally grow into ourselves…

…and I started growing into my skin, filling it out nicely.

I also ate less, because the family had left home and there was no reason to cook huge meals… and no appetite for them either. Food is best when shared. I grazed instead.

My weight, if you’ll pardon the expression, bottomed out, leaving me curvier than before, a little cuddlier, but, apart from the anatomical area that now requires a roomier shirt, I still wear the same size clothes. I just fill them better.

If I was, say, a six foot Amazon of a woman, the extra weight would be barely noticeable. On your compact, shorter-than-average hobbit-sized person, however, an extra pound or three goes a long way. Mainly outwards. Therefore, I have to conclude that the problem does not reside with inarguable extra pounds so much as with the minimalistic verticality.

But… according to the scales that are attempting to terrorise me from the bathroom, I weigh a stone more than I did when my figure was an enviable hourglass, before babies and the instant menopause of surgery took a hand. According to the ‘ideal weight’ charts that abound on the internet, those fourteen pounds make my weight now fall into the official category of ‘obese’. I know very well that I need to lose a few pounds. I have a mirror. I know that I am a little heavier than my own ideal weight. But obese?


Who writes these things? And who for? Stick insects?

The only time I have ever fallen within the printed parameters of ‘ideal weight’ charts, I was seriously ill and looked it. You could play the xylophone on my ribs. At my current age, and with my morphology, I do not expect to be sylph-like. Because I never was. What bothers me is how many, consulting such charts, are genuinely horrified by the classification of obesity and see starvation diets and worse looming on their personal horizon.

However, the village diet will take care of my excess, slowly but surely.

The village diet is a simple affair… I live in one. For a start it means that me and the dog are not limited to a quick stroll around the park. We get to walk.  We also have just one small shop that has limited opening hours. On my way home from work in town, I buy the absolute minimum that I need each day. There is no temptation in fridge or pantry. No cookies or treats… just light meals and fruit. Unless I then want to drive ten miles in the dark for a chocolate bar, there is no way I can snack on sinful goodies. Perfect.


My food intake is thus carefully and sensibly regulated. I must inevitably lose weight, right?


According to the damned scales, my weight hasn’t shifted in the half a year since they moved in. Either way. Not by so much as half a pound. Not even over Christmas. Not even with the mince pies and Christmas cake.

I therefore conclude that either the scales are malfunctioning or they are being downright dishonest.

Or maybe my body has decided its own ideal weight, all by itself, the way it always did?

And maybe the scales should go the way of the others.


P.S. For anyone seeking sensible dietary advice, visit Sally Cronin‘s excellent series on weight loss and nutrition.


About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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78 Responses to The village diet

  1. Could be that it has found its own ideal weight. 🙂 I wish mine would. I’m busy walking off my indulgences. Yay.

    Sally gave great advice in her piece.:)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ritu says:

    I think if you are happy in yourself, and as you say, your clothes fit nicely, you shouldn’t worry!
    That’s why I wanted to get back to my happy weight before relaxing my diet!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jenanita01 says:

    Not sure I’m qualified to comment n this subject, as I have a life long running battle with the pounds. The problem, I think, is that the real me, the one only I can see, is perfectly proportioned. Great pity about the one that turns up in the mirror!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue Vincent says:

      Being so short, even a small fluctuation in weight shows up in the mirror here. The reduced activity levels once the kids have all left home has a lot to do with that though. We slow down and spread out 😉 So, I think, does the change in dress as we age and tend to expose less flesh 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    As a supplement to my weight reduction post this morning please read Sue Vincent’s excellent Village Diet too.. it too laments the presence of the weighing scales.. and also has some good tips for you.. thanks for the mention Sue.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Prajakta says:

    I swear! We should stop going by the scale and just how happy and comfortable we are in our skin. The “happy weight” is what really matters… And as long as the clothes are fitting and you feel good – yeah. Trash them scales.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The “ideal weight” chart is ridiculous. I know I need to lose some weight, but I also know that what my body considers to be its ideal weight differs a lot from what the “experts” say my ideal weight should be. Attempting to reach the weight they think I should be only resulted in me feeling terrible, trying so hard to lose it that I reduced myself to tears on a daily basis, and still finding the stupid scales were insisting I’d either stayed the same or gained some most of the time.

    My bathroom scales drowned last year when a pipe burst and our bathroom flooded. I didn’t get new ones. Also, I have to confess that a small part of me… OK, maybe a big part of me… Felt a sense of satisfaction at knowing they were gone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I agree with Sally, who stresses that a healthy weight is better than an ideal drawn up with too many averages. Her series is excellent for information and inspiration, especially as she fought her own battle to et her weight to a healthy one.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, I can relate to this post, Sue! I am ‘obese’ according to the charts too (I am also hobbit sized), That, and already having Diabetes Type 2, is what finally pushed me over the edge to get some help losing weight as I was struggling with it.
    As you know, I am on this low carb diet, and my scales don’t bloody work (BOTH sets)!! However, with me, I have to see that something is working (or not as the case may be), I am rather beholden to the scales at the surgery now when I get weighed monthly, but wish I could be like you and just go by how my clothes fit and how I feel about myself.
    I am, also following Sally’s posts as they are extremely helpful and informative.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post Sue and yes throw the scales away and live a pleasant and happy life. Ya if one can always nice to do a bit of dieting but too much is also not good.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m loving your village concept, it makes sense to me to buy just what you need and avoid those temptations. I threw away my scale years ago, but had a constant reminder on my annual physical that I was outside of those BMI charts…my only goal was to get to the upper (heavier) end of that recommended weight. I did that a few months ago. Enough. I had the advantage of seeing myself as an underweight youth, always trying to put on/gain weight to get to “normal”. The goal is good health, with which I have been blessed for a lifetime. Nice post. I agree, Sally provides such excellent info.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I have two sons, three years apart in age, an inch apart in height. They both weigh about the same. One is constantly fretting about his waistline and the size of his thighs, the other looks as skeletal as a you can get. Both are in excellent shape and health…and completely differnet. I think you have to take not of how your own body wants to be.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. When I was on the ‘baby buggy workout’ I was in such better shape and health. The island hills aren’t nearly as challenging to climb empty handed and I don’t feel near the workout that I used to get. Same size clothes, different fitting; funny how that happens!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. wordwitch88 says:

    Apart from alternating in laughter and then shaking my head in agreement and then the anger – because seriously, as you say, these charts??

    I too, even at my thinnest, was still, according to the charts, overweight – not “obese” – but seriously overweight – by 10 pounds, and I was thin – much much younger – but what, shall I shave off the extra weight by removing some bone structure?!?

    What strikes me about “middle age” and being a woman is this: weight doesn’t change too much – it just mysteriously shifts and re-places itself overnight, depositing itself from one snug place, like say, belly, to oh, look …. let’s fill in the bust area this morning …. and it happens all rather well and easily without our interference. So when someone asks and insists, “you’ve lost weight” – I just laugh and reply, “no – it just rearranges itself, and clothes hide a multitude of sins.” Sometimes, it’s just best to smile and let nature take its course.

    And apart from the very few who through genetics and physiology will, blessedly be more or less “thin” and svelte most of their lives? Wonderful – but for crying out loud, can we stop the madness of using “stick insect” “teenagers” to sell every damn product, especially the ones marketed for middle aged women? Let’s just welcome our wrinkles, rolls and sags, and be done with it. Now, pass the cookies, please?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I have noticed the tendency of the female body to rearrange itself daily, with no warning and less regard for that nice outfit we had in mind. You get used to just shrugging and going with it.
      I can’t eat much less without going into starvation mode, can’t, these days, move much more than I do without risking being unable to move for several days and I do still have a reasonable shape. I’m happy enough in my skin not to worry about the wrinkles I’ve written. But it does make me angry to see how many people feel less than they are truly worth, just because their natural shape doesn’t fit the idealised norm presented by advertisers courtesy of photoshop.

      Liked by 2 people

      • wordwitch88 says:

        I’m sitting here nodding my head in understanding.

        It’s just crazy how much pressure people are under – and how we end up believing that our value and worth is based on externals, most of which are extreme in their own way. It’s tough to not get lost somewhere in all of the mess.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Mary Smith says:

    I loaded son up with all the leftover mince pies, Christmas cake, Stollen, shortbread when he went back to Glasgow – he’d already eaten any chocolate he across – so now I have nothing tempting in the cupboards. Hide the scales in a cupboard for when you need to weigh a parcel or a suitcase!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue Vincent says:

      My sons got most of it too, not that I’d bought or baked a lot this year anyway. I did keep half a dozen homemade mince pies and a small slab of fruit cake though. I have a real weakness for my own pastry….which is why I seldom bake any more 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. My scales weigh differently to those at SW, but then mine are friendly! However, the actual loss/gain week to week is the same as is recorded in the book, it’s just the start and end figures that differ to home. I’m doing the michelin impression again after yesterday, but what goes on quick comes off quick. Clothes sizes are totally irrational, and as for the Expert charts? Sometimes I think they’re referring to teenagers rather than adults.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Helen Jones says:

    I don’t believe in scales – weight is relative to gravity, anyway, so you could posit that any small loss or gain could be due to fluctuations in the earth’s gravitational field ;-D

    As for weight loss, I’ve learned which foods I can eat a lot of, and which ones I can’t. Other than that, I just try to keep moving. Those charts are ridiculous, aren’t they? And when I consider that most sizes are based on measurements taken on women over fifty years ago while they were wearing foundation garments, I just ignore the number on the label as it’s totally useless.

    And there’s no way I’m giving up chips. No way.

    PS You look gorgeous, Sue xx

    Liked by 1 person

  15. C.E.Robinson says:

    Sue, agree, loose the scales and go with how your clothes fit & feel. Also agree, Sally has important health & nutrition info on her website! Chuckled at the Village Diet! In the US it seems we have grocery stores on every corner like Starbck’s coffee shops! Yikes! I stick to a list of healthy foods to buy! It’s a must, I’m in the over 75 age group! 💛😧💛 Christine

    Liked by 1 person

  16. paulandruss says:

    Entertaining & amusing article

    Liked by 1 person

  17. No, no, NO – you are using your scales wrong! Pick the weight you want, then adjust the knob so that when you step on the scale, that’s what it says. Works every time.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”


  18. I just went to the doctor. They weighed me and had the decency to NOT point out that i’ve gained weight. Sigh. I think i need a cookie. Maybe two.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. dgkaye says:

    Spectacular post Sue!!! Loved every morsel of truth. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Widdershins says:

    On my regular checkups, post-cancer, I’d be asked what my weight was. Their consternation amused me no end when I would inevitably reply, “No idea! I feel good though.” 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  21. noelleg44 says:

    Such an appropriate and great post, Sue. My scale sits there and glares at me. I am doing my usual after-the-holidays-lose-some-weight thing: smaller portions of everything and no sweets.


  22. That’s another good thing to do!


  23. olganm says:

    I like your diet, Sue. In the village where I usually live (not so usually these days) the Tesco is open until midnight, but I also tend to buy most things on a day to day or a couple of days basis, and avoid buying certain things.


  24. Pingback: Friday Fun: Diet Dilemmas | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

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