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Gillian lost 8st on our TotalFast plan and feels amazing!

An 8 stone weight loss really is part of my reality.

At the photoshoot, when I saw my pictures, I saw ‘me’ for the first time. I cried.

Even though I’d been looking in the mirror lots that day, I cannot describe how powerful it was, seeing those photographs. I have always struggled with my weight and, like many others in my group, I’d yo-yo dieted, for years, each time putting the weight back on and more besides.

Wow, what a day! I still can’t believe this is me

Before starting the LighterLife diet, a doctor at the hospital had said I needed knee and hip replacements. But they refused to do the operation.

I was too heavy. Until I got my BMI below 30, they would not be happy operating on me, and my BMI was 45. That meant I had to lose around 8 stone.

It seemed like an impossible mountain to climb. I thought I was doomed to hobble around in pain for the rest of my life.

I was desperate.

Then I heard about LighterLife. I hadn’t been sure what to expect but in February 2020 I joined a group.

Initially an 8 stone loss really did seem impossible.

The first few days were a bit tough, but the Foodpacks were very tasty, they made me feel full and Nicola, my Mentor, was very helpful. It is a great way to lose weight fast. Quickly, the group became a very important part of my week.

Then, six weeks later, Covid hit and the first lockdown started. I’d already lost a stone and a half, and I was determined to keep going. LighterLife and Nicola were great in reorganising everything and Nicola started running the weekly meetings on Zoom. She suggested I take a picture of me weighing myself every Monday – my feet have never been photographed so much.

This combination meant I still had the support, encouragement and someone keeping me on track. We also have a WhatsApp group where we share ideas and Nicola sends daily motivators. I’ve also moved since then and Zoom has meant I was able to carry on with Nicola without interruption. Win win as far as I’m concerned.

Understanding why I had been putting weight on

Each week in the Zoom group we look at ‘Hot Topics’ which are all about understanding more about the ‘Whys’ of weight gain. Topics such as emotional eating, changing unhelpful habits, trigger situations, that voice in the head that sometimes say’s ‘go on, just have one more’ and all the ‘cheating on diets’ stuff.

It was talking about all this that helped me stick to TotalFast. It helped me make sense about what I had been doing. And how to take better care of myself. It taught me how to make the right food choices and adopt healthy eating habits for the long term.

Interestingly, the group sessions also helped me deal with lockdown and all the challenges that threw up. No one at LighterLife tries to gloss over any aspects of the reality of this problem. It’s this honesty and understanding, along with the magnificent support that made what I had thought was undoable, doable.

Initially an 8 stone loss really did seem impossible. I now realise I have been playing at losing weight all these decades. This was the real thing. I was so happy getting rid of all my big clothes.

LighterLife say there’s no magic wand to weight loss, but I can assure you this is the closest thing to it. It is so much more than Foodpacks. You learn why you eat, and how to cope when you have holidays, Christmas etc.

When I went back to work after lockdown, they didn’t recognise me. 

It was funny, when I went back to work earlier this year after months of lockdown, they didn’t recognise me. Can you imagine?

How I keep the weight off

I’ve been on Management since November last year and now I’m putting some of the Hot Topics into action with conventional food; pressing the pause button and asking myself am I really hungry. I’ve learnt a lot about myself. Often, I used to turn to food, thinking I was hungry but really I was tired or stressed, or angry or sad or happy. I could always find an excuse to eat.

I’m still in the Zoom group every week and I will stay with LighterLife as it has been my reason for success. I can’t thank Nicola enough for being there for me and for the group. When you go onto the LighterLife Management plan you get guidance for meal planning and healthy food along with the group support.

It’s as if, without a structured Management plan, the lost fat is just waiting round the corner ready to pounce back on. This is the first time in my life I have lost so much weight and the first time I’ve been able to keep it off.

I love the pancakes LighterLife Foodpack and always keep some in my cupboard as a sort of comfort blanket. Perhaps you could call it a security blanket that I can turn to instead of the unhealthy habits I had around food in the past. I’ve literally changed my relationship with food, and myself. I really know now I’m worth taking care of.

It’s not just the health benefits, I love touring on my motorbike and it’s so much more comfortable now. Just a different, better, experience.

An 8 stone weight loss is part of my reality, and my belief that I can keep it off is a part of me, too.

Hear from LighterLife Mentor, Nicola

“I first met Gillian in my face-to-face group in North Wales. Gillian was very determined but there was another part of Gillian that didn’t believe it was possible. She described herself as being born fat and decades of yo-yo dieting had certainly undermined her belief in herself.

Gillian has worked for the NHS for 40 years as a senior manager, and is full of confidence in her role. I see it in so many clients. They have a strong belief about themselves in certain areas of their life, but not when it comes to losing weight. the decades of seeing themselves as dieting failures has seriously damaged aspects of their belief in themselves. That’s part of my work: to help clients increase their belief in themselves. But that doesn’t happen overnight and consistent group attendance is vital. Everyone deserves to give themselves the time to attend.”

Top tips from Gillian for long-term success

Keeping off your lost weight is all about getting the balance right. If I gain a pound or two, I go back on the Foodpacks to lose that weight instead of just sticking my head in the sand and continuing to just pile the weight back on.

To ensure success you need to take part. The groups have been such an important part of my life changing time with LighterLife. And I’m not going to stop taking part. I still attend my weekly Zoom meeting, and continue to get the support I need from my Mentor Nicola.

Discover more inspirational weight-loss stories and much more in our digital magazine. Get back on track and sign up to our TotalFast plan here.