Why you have been eating too much and why you now have a weight problem

If you weigh too much then the chances are that you have been eating too much. In order to conquer your weight problem you need to find out why you’ve been eating too much. You may have been eating because you’ve been bored or depressed. You may have acquired bad eating habits.

You won’t be able to do anything about your weight problem until you know exactly why you have been eating too much.

This quiz is designed to help you decide exactly what you have been doing wrong!

Work your way through these questions and keep your score on the special Slimmer Scoreboard. Naturally, you must answer all the questions as honestly and as carefully as you can. Every time you answer YES to a question you will have to record a score in one or more of the appropriate Scoreboard columns. So, for example, if you answer YES to question 1 then you must score 1 in the A column, 1 in the G column and 3 in the B column. If you answer NO to a question then you will have no score at all for that question.

Do you ever eat because you are bored?

YES: score 1A, 3B, 1G,

2 Do you ever eat while watching television?

YES: score 2G

3 Have you claimed that you can’t afford to diet properly?

YES: score 1A

4 Do you often insist that your weight problem is largely hereditary?

YES: score 1A

5 When you were small were you ever given food (e.g.

Sweets) as a reward?

YES: score 2C, IE

6 Do you eat to cheer yourself up?

YES: score 3C, 1G

7 Do you wish you had more self confidence and self assurance?

YES: score ID, IE

8 Do you keep sweets, biscuits etc. In your handbag, desk drawer, car?

YES: score IF

9 Do you pick at food while cooking?

YES: score 2F, 2G

10 Do you feel guilty if food is left over and has to be thrown away?

YES: score 3E, 1G

11 When you were a baby were you bottle fed?

YES: score IE, 1G

12 Do you ever hurry food so that you can get back to work?

YES: score 2G

13 Do you wish you had more responsibility?

YES: score IB

14 Do you ever get frustrated?

YES: score IB

15 Do you think marriage and/or pregnancy can result in a woman putting on weight?

YES: score 1A, 1G

16 Have you ever claimed that you can’t diet because you are too busy?

YES: score 1A

17 When you were young were you ever punished for not eating up all your food?

YES: score 2C, IE

18 Do you find sex unpleasant, frightening or painful?

YES: score ID

19 Do you think that some (or all) of your problems would be solved if you lost weight?

YES: score 2D

20 Have you ever used your weight as an excuse—e.g. For not going out or taking part in some social event?

YES: score 1A, 3D

21 Do you always snack between meals?

YES: score 2F, 2G

22 Do you ever accept—and eat—food that you don’t really want?

YES: score 2E

23. Do you ever accept sweets you don’t want because you don’t like to say no? YES:2E

24 Do you ever eat while working? YES: score 1A, 2G


25 Would you have to think hard to remember what you had to eat for your last three meals?

YES: score 2G

26 Do you get a lot of pleasure out of food?

YES: score 2B, 1C, 1G

27 Do you often find yourself bored and looking for some thing to do?

YES: score 1A, IB

28 Have you ever blamed a party, a dinner or a social engagement for a weight gain or dieting failure?

YES: score 1A

29 Have you ever claimed that your excess weight is due to the fact that you have big bones?

YES: score 1A

30 Have you ever given up dieting, claiming that you were obviously just ‘made to be fat’?

YES: score 2A

31 Do you frequently snack on biscuits and sweets during the evening while watching television?

YES: score 2F, 2G

32 Do you feel shy or embarrassed when you are with members of the opposite sex?

YES: score ID

33 Do you always try to finish up all the food on your plate?

YES: score 3E

34 Do you ever eat while reading or talking?

YES: score 2G

35 Have you ever blamed an illness for a weight gain or dieting failure?

YES: score 1A

36 Do you often suck sweets while working, driving or doing jobs around the home?

YES: score IF

37 Do you ever forget to eat properly because you are busy—and then gorge yourself later when the hunger becomes unbearable?

YES: score 2G

38 Do you always have a biscuit or a cake with your mid- morning tea of coffee—whether you’re hungry or not?

YES: score 2F

39 If you find yourself alone for an evening do you invariably end up eating more than you otherwise would?

YES: score 2B

How to check your score!

When you have finished the quiz you will have seven separate scores marked A to G.

Check through all your seven totals!

You will then be able to see the main reasons why you have a weight problem. The higher your score in one particular box the greater the chance of that reason being responsible for your excessive weight.

If you scored 5 or more in any of the seven boxes then you should study the appropriate advice in the seven sections below.


You have a tendency to look for—and find—excuses for your weight problem. You are ready to blame anything—and anyone—apart from yourself. Some of the excuses you produce may have a touch of truth in them but all too often I’m afraid that you are kidding yourself.

You may claim that you have a weight problem because you can’t afford to diet. But the truth is that losing weight will probably cost you less in food—not more.

You may claim that your weight problem is hereditary. But

That is only one small factor. You can’t put all the blame on your parents.

You may claim that you have got big bones. But however big your bones may be they will only make a couple of pounds difference.

You may claim that an illness or a party ruined your diet. But

If you think about it you will know that claim isn’t really the whole answer.

You may claim that you have been too busy to diet. But

Watching what you eat doesn’t take time—just effort and determination.

Forget the excuses and start doing something positive about your weight problem!


Like thousands of others you tend to eat when you are bored. Halfway through a dull morning you will reach for the biscuit tin to liven things up. But in fact a biscuit doesn’t really get rid of your boredom. It is just something to do. And there are plenty of other—far less fattening—ways of distracting yourself. You could read the paper, do a crossword, write a couple of letters, balance your cheque book, cut your nails, phone a friend, take a bubble bath, wash your hair, have a bonfire, plan your week’s TV viewing, sort out the spare bedroom, weed the window box, go for a walk or just have a cup of black coffee or lemon tea.

You are using food to distract, entertain and amuse yourself. There are lots of other ways of amusing yourself without making yourself fat.

Box C: EATING FOR COMFORT You probably acquired this bad habit when you were quite

Small. The chances are high that your parents used to give you sweets, cakes or biscuits when you behaved well. They taught you to associate food with feeling pleased and happy. And you grew up with that association firmly fixed in your mind. The result is that these days you turn to food whenever you are feeling low. If something goes wrong you open a bar of chocolate. If you have a particularly bad day then you tear open a packet of biscuits. If you are worried about something then you make yourself a sandwich.

But there are lots of non fattening ways to cheer yourself up. Try ringing a friend for a chat. Or looking through some old holiday snaps. Or treating yourself to a new hair do or a beauty treatment. Or buying yourself a book or magazine. Or picking up some holiday brochures and having a day dream about a super holiday! Or, best of all, talking things over with your partner or a friend.


It may sound rather strange but I suspect that you are rather frightened of being thin. It is, therefore, hardly surprising that your diets continually fail. This is commoner than you might think.

Women who are worried about sex or who want an excuse for not starting—or holding onto—a relationship with a member of the opposite sex will often hide behind their fatty bulges, taking some comfort from the feet that their extra weight may make them unattractive and so protect them from close social or sexual contact.

I suggest that you think hard and try to work out in what way you might benefit from staying fat. What are you trying to protect yourself from? Do you use your weight as an excuse for social failure, as an excuse for not progressing at work or as a defence against sexual threats? Perhaps being fat means that you feel that you don’t have to compete any more.

Until you have worked out why you are frightened of being thin—and dealt with your fear—then your dieting will never be really successful.


You don’t like saying ‘no’ and your politeness is killing your diet. You try to finish up everything people give you to eat because you don’t like offending them. You accept food that you don’t really want so that you won’t hurt their feelings. You probably even eat cakes and sweets because you don’t want to be impolite. But that’s just the half of it. Guilt plays a part in your weight problem too. You probably feel guilty if you leave food on the side of your plate—so you try to eat up everything in front of you. And you feel guilty about throwing food away—so you even eat up other people’s leftovers.

These ‘guilts’ were probably nurtured when you were small and were told by your parents that you must eat up all your food. (’The starving people in Africa would love that spinach.’) If you want to lose weight successfully and permanently then you must change. You must learn to say ‘no’ and you must learn to conquer those ‘guilts’. Just be rational. The truth is that no real friend would be offended if you refused food that you didn’t really want. And why use your body as a dustbin? Will it really help the starving millions if you fill yourself with food your body doesn’t need? It’s a pity to have to throw food away (so prepare less in future) but it is even crazier to eat it just because you can’t bear to throw it away.


I am a great fan of nibbling as a way of eating. But your type of nibbling will ensure that you remain fat. All those snacks will

Ruin your weight—because you are snacking as well as eating

Full meals! Take a look at some of your habits and try to change:

Don’t pick at food while you are preparing meals.

Stop those in-between-meal snacks.

Don’t nibble in the evening while watching TV.

Stop buying foods that you can nibble between meals.

Take the sweets out of your handbag, desk drawer or car.


The commonest reason why people put on excess weight is that they have bad eating habits. If you eat only when you are hungry and stop eating when you are not hungry, then you will never put on excess weight and never be fat. But your eating habits mean that you eat for all the wrong reasons. And your bad eating habits mean that you never listen to your body for long enough to know when you are full.

You eat while you are reading, chatting or watching TV and so even when your body is struggling to tell you that you have eaten enough you will still keep putting forkfuls of food into your mouth.

You eat in a rush while you are working. Or when you are hurrying to get back to work. And so you never listen to your body’s appetite control centre. You just eat whatever is there—whether you need it or not.

Half the time you don’t even know what you are eating— let alone how much you have eaten.

If you are going to conquer your bad eating habits and acquire good, new eating habits then you must learn to pay attention and concentrate on what you are doing when you are eating. Every time you are about to put food into your mouth ask yourself whether or not you are really hungry. Once you have got into the habit of eating only when your body really needs food will you be able to conquer your weight problem permanently.