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I’ve reduced my meds, and I really am in a great place.

My parents 50th wedding anniversary party was on 1 June and, after seeing the family pictures at Christmas, I did not want pictures of this event to be the same. I thought I looked horrific. Enough was enough. 2020 through to 2022 had been pretty stressful for lots of reasons, and in 2023 I ate and drank what I wanted, not considering the cause and effect, just thinking I’d deal with it later. I tried several times to cut down on drinking and it lasted about a week!

Why did I choose LighterLife?

I’d done LighterLife before but didn’t go on to the Management stage. I’d tried lots of other diets many, many times as well, but the CBT Mindfulness isn’t part of those programmes, and it’s this which has really resonated and worked for me this time around on LighterLife. Also, I chose TotalFast as I wanted to lose weight fast, with the anniversary party in June.

Following the plan

I started TotalFast on 5 January 2024, weighing 17st 13lbs. And I reached my goal weight after 12 weeks, having lost 3st 12lbs, at which point I started the Management plan on 1 April, weighing 14st 1lb.

During my first week on TotalFast, I don’t remember feeling hungry at all, nor did I feel the stages of going into ketosis. In fact, I felt full of energy most of the time. That said, 10 days in I got COVID, which levelled me. I had to have more than a week off work, but I still stuck to the diet – and that was the only time I felt I had less energy, for obvious reasons.

I’ve not had any alcohol while on plan either which, considering the amount I was drinking before, also feels like a massive achievement. And I’ve been active the whole time too, being obsessed with my iWatch and completing my activity rings. Even during COVID I managed some exercise.

I’m an all or nothing type of person and when I commit to doing something, I commit. Being restricted to the LighterLife packs and, more importantly, being strict with myself to stick to the packs and nothing else, (I did lick a pringle once!!!) 

Other diets have conventional food and talk about calories or portion sizes but I feel with my personality there are ways of ‘cheating’ or thinking ‘I can get away with that’ on those. Plus, the fast pace at which you lose weight on LighterLife kept me going. Although during the first 2 weeks of March I stayed the same weight, which was disheartening, but I didn’t give in and eat other food, I kept going.

Having both a sweet tooth and a savoury tooth, (just my luck), I love the Double Chocolate Bars and the Salted Caramel Bars. Being able to have the Popped Chips every day this time around has been a revelation! And the Jerk Noodles were delish!

How did having a Mentor help?

My Mentor went through the weekly Hot Topic worksheets with us and helped us think about what was being discussed, giving us time to write down responses before asking us all to contribute our thoughts. Everyone was given ‘air’ time to offer responses or talk about an experience, and to ask each other questions, without the Mentor having to keep ‘feeding’ the conversation.

While there are about 20+ of us in my Mentor’s WhatsApp support group, only 5 of us at most have been on the call at any one time. Some only appeared once or twice after they’d been added to the group. Mostly, it’s been me, and one other. Thankfully, she’s been chatty and has a different personality from me so we’ve worked well together with our Mentor. And I engaged in the TotalFast Community Facebook group as well.

Initially, my family didn’t really get why I was doing LighterLife, and my mum even asked if I was ‘eating properly’ when I had COVID. Although my husband didn’t understand TotalFast to begin with, or felt I needed to do a very strict diet, he supported me. I was honest with work colleagues too and they’ve been intrigued by the pack deliveries, have asked how I’m doing, and have noticed the changes in me.

What can I do now that I couldn’t before losing weight?

Hahahaha! One of the NSVs (non-scale victories) I shared in my Mentor’s group was being able to paint my toenails without having to do some sort of contortionist act of moving all my tummies out of the way, while holding my breath to be able to reach!

When I started TotalFast, I also started 6 weeks of physio in a gym for my knee, and I’m now up to 45 mins on the static bike at home – talk about being self-motivated! I’m also looking forward to starting swimming again. And every day I look forward to taking our 3 dogs out for a walk, instead of thinking, oh, I need to take the dogs for a walk. I’ve lengthened their walks and actively look for new routes/longer routes to take.

On the weekends, instead of lying in bed looking at my phone when I wake up, I’m up and about, and getting on with my day.

A few weekends back, I had a list of things I wanted to get done, including: walk the dogs for at least an hour, do the food shop in Aldi and then Tesco (I was still cooking for my husband and step-son), go to the care home to see my mother-in-law, get home and unpack the shopping, make the dinner, make some brownies, do 40 mins on the bike, have a shower, and clean the bathroom.

And… I’d done it all by 2.30pm! I then sat down and started to read a book – I’ve not read a book in years!!!

My new Lighter Life

I’m definitely feeling more self-confident now, and I’m much more active with new habits, and lots of new clothes. When I started on plan, I was a size 20 and squeezing into an 18. Now I’m a size 14-16 on the bottom and 12-14 on the top!

Mostly, I’ve been shopping on eBay and charity shops for brighter colours, and even horizontal stripes! I’m also wearing dresses again, which I‘ve not done for years. It took a long time for me to “come out” of my old clothes but all of a sudden (after the 2 weeks of not losing weight) they were drowning me.

I think, because the CBT Mindfulness has really worked, I’ve changed other things in my life too. I drink a whole glass of water with my meds in the morning now, instead of a sip or two. And I drink half a litre of water on the way to work each day.

A year ago, the doctors thought I was perimenopausal, but now I’m not convinced they’re right. I’m no longer sweating all day and all night, I’m sleeping better, and I’m on a defined timeline with the doctors to reduce and come off my antidepressants. I really am in a great place.

What have I learned that will help me keep the weight off long-term?

I’ve learned so much! Such as:

  • What’s behind the boredom and how to overcome it
  • Visualisation
  • Comfort Zones
  • Understanding my triggers
  • How to use the STOP method
  • Can-ability – changing my thoughts, changing how I feel, changing my world
  • It’s OK to put myself first
  • Recognising situations that might cause me to self-sabotage
  • Consequences of my actions.
  • E+R=O – Event, Responsibility, Outcome
  • If my fridge could talk – I don’t need idle food in my fridge, just better food prep

Siobhan’s Top Tip

If you’re thinking of starting the programme, go for it. However, don’t underestimate the commitment it takes. And definitely get a Mentor and go to the groups as you learn so much. The support is there if you’re willing to receive it and to take part in the whole LighterLife experience, including going on to Management after finishing TotalFast.