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I feel like I’m embracing life rather than hiding from it

I used to be very fit and active before I retired but during the pandemic lockdown my weight began to spiral, and I started finding it difficult to go on long walks with my beloved dogs. Increasing back and joint pain, together with being told I was pre-diabetic after a blood test at the GP’s, made me realise I couldn’t continue in this way and potentially put myself into an early grave.

LighterLife vs. other diet programmes

I’d actually done LighterLife before and kept my weight down for about 10 years – until retirement and lockdown meant things went a bit pear-shaped, literally! And before LighterLife I’d tried other diet programmes too, but found I spent far too much time thinking about what foods I could or couldn’t have, as well as ages on preparing my meals.

As I live alone, I’m very lazy when it comes to food and would often resort to ready meals, takeaways, and simple, easy to prepare meals. I also did a vegan low-calorie diet prior to starting LighterLife this time. Yes, I lost a stone, but the time spent preparing meals, the cost, and the waste were all ridiculous.

Why did I choose LighterLife (again)?

Because I know it works for me. There’s no thinking about what food I need to buy or spending hours planning and preparing meals. And even though the initial outlay may seem expensive, it’s actually much cheaper than other diet plans, especially if you’re a single person.

The cost of buying one small tin or food or one apple isn’t cheap. Shops only give bargains on bulk buys, which means I nearly always bought too much. And as I hate waste, I ate too much as well – so it all became counterproductive.

As well as the Foodpacks, you get the ongoing LighterLife Mentor and CBT Mindfulness group support to help you understand your relationship with food. I knew from previous experiences that changing habits of a lifetime isn’t easy. I think the CBT Mindfulness support during weight loss becomes even more essential when you’re trying to maintain that loss because that’s when you’re presented with all those triggers that caused the problems in the first place.

When I re-joined LighterLife I knew I’d get that ongoing support, even after I’d reached my target goal. This is a lifestyle change not purely a diet.

 

My LighterLife journey second time around

I started TotalFast in October 2022 and lost 3st 7lb and have been successfully maintaining that weight loss ever since.

The first week I was hungry, but I knew that would happen so I made sure I had lots planned to keep me busy. Once I got through the first week I was back into the swing of it, no longer feeling hungry, and starting to feel a lot more energetic.

My three favourite products this time around are the Jerk Noodles which taste great and feel like a main meal, the Jellies which are a nice treat if you’re feeling a bit peckish, and the Water Flavourings which I most definitely couldn’t live without.

How does having a Mentor and regular Mindfulness sessions help?

My Mentor, Amber, holds weekly CBT Mindfulness sessions that address “crooked” thinking around food, and she also sends out lots of supportive messages to our LighterLife group. She’s clearly done her research and I like that she’s going through the programme with us. She also promotes discussion and encourages everyone to support each other.

Although I prefer face to face meetings, the group camaraderie in the weekly online meetings is very powerful.

I learned so much from my Mentor, and my fellow LighterLifers. My key takeaways for the long term are to keep a regular eye on my weight and not ignore any gain so it doesn’t get out of hand again; not to shop when I’m hungry; and to plan my meals, write a shopping list, and stick to it.

Did it work and was it worth it?

Oh, yes. I’ve been able to reduce my pain medications and can walk further and faster without getting out of breath. No more puffing up hills like a train and having to stop every 100 yards or so to get my breath. My sleep has improved significantly too and it’s really nice not to have my cats stomping all over a big belly in bed!

Simple tasks like getting out of the bath, taking laundry up and down the stairs, shopping, or even just getting up from a seat or from bed are so much easier now too. Losing weight has impacted me in a positive way in every aspect of my life. Getting older slowed me down a little but it was the weight gain that really curtailed my activities. And now I’m so happy not to feel restricted in my activities anymore. It’s definitely a life changer.

 

My new lighter life

I definitely feel much more confident. When I was measured for new bras, I had to remove my top, and I certainly wouldn’t have done this before. But now I have well-fitting bras that flatter my shape.

I go walking a lot more now too and will take on almost any walk, whereas before I would worry if it had hills or stiles to climb over. And I make an effort to meet and talk to new people rather than slinking into the background trying to become invisible. I feel like I’m embracing life rather than hiding from it.

Your tips for new clients joining LighterLife

If you’re thinking about joining – or re-joining – LighterLife, I would say:

  • Plan your first week to keep busy.
  • Expect to feel hungry initially but push through it as that feeling will pass.
  • Weigh yourself to stay motivated, and always drink water – if you think you’re hungry, you’re usually just thirsty.
  • Always have a water bottle with you – at home, when you’re out, and in the car.
  • Find activities to distract you from wanting to eat. I took up knitting, which helped a lot as I could pick it up and put it down whenever I wanted to.