I’ve been on one kind of diet or another since I was 11 years old, when my parents divorced and I became badly bulimic. Having 3 children in 3.5 years, plus a very stressful job, and losing one of my parents after a decade of serious illness, all contributed to me piling on the pounds. I’ve been dieting, detoxing, and generally torturing myself about my weight for over 4 decades.
But I only ever managed to lose around 1lb before hunger and stress kicked in, and then that diet would go out the window. Life, and putting other people’s needs first, got in the way of me looking after myself, and my emotional stress eating habits became my downfall.
Success with LighterLife first time around
Having found counting points too time consuming and complicated after the birth of my first child, when I saw an advert for LighterLife shortly after the birth of my third child I thought I’d give it a go. And it was amazing! I stuck to my 4 packs a day and lost 6 stone 5lbs. I reached my goal weight, got my energy back, slept better, started running an hour a day 6 days a week, and kept the weight off for years.
What went wrong?
I got Covid and Long Covid and could hardly move. My weight ballooned so climbing stairs and even short walks became too difficult as I was living with constant joint pain. My mood went downhill, I had a short fuse, and I didn’t recognise the person in the mirror any more.
It was affecting my work, my marriage, and my kids. I didn’t want to go anywhere or see anyone, even though my job is talking to people all day and doing presentations. I was constantly embarrassed about my weight because although I love fashion, none of my clothes fitted, and I was too embarrassed to go and buy a bigger bra.
Why did you turn to LighterLife again?
I had 3 incentives to get back onto on TotalFast:
Firstly, my youngest child said, “Mummy, I’m worried about you. I want you to be healthy so you’re with us for a long time.” And I just cried as I realised I was heading for an early grave and might not be around to take part in my kids’ lives.
Secondly, the constant joint pain meant I was always tired, and out of breath. I was embarrassed about people seeing me, miserable about my weight, and turning down all invitations. So, I was unhappy mentally and physically as well as in pain.
Thirdly, my daughter’s 18th birthday and high school graduation were coming up. I wanted to make a speech at her graduation, and for her to be as proud of me as I am of her.
And because no other diet has ever worked for me other than LighterLife, although I feel like I’ve tried them all!
Success with LighterLife second time around
I started my second LighterLife journey in May 2022 and I’d lost 6 stone 2lbs. Being in menopause meant things took a little longer this time, but those months gave me time to think, recognise my triggers, adapt new approaches, and understand my deep seated issues better.
The first few days were all about trusting myself to stay on plan, because I knew how well it worked. I did feel a little hungry but I drank lots of water and chose my favourite food packs to have something to look forward to. By day 9, the energy boost had kicked in. After 2 weeks I was feeling much better and moving more easily. By week 3, my clothes were fitting better too.
And rather than weigh myself every week, I took a creative approach with my favourite Zara jeggings, which are still a great “measuring tape” of weight loss success. When I started TotalFast I could barely pull up the size 46, but now I’m into size 38. And if they get tight I know I need to go back on the packs for a few days.
Why is LighterLife so easy to stick to?
For me, it’s because I genuinely love the food packs. The chocolate shakes are my staple, I even enjoy them off plan as a filling, nutritious, calorie-light, and delicious meal. I also love the apple cinnamon and regular porridges, which feel like warm hugs. My other favourites are the green soup, spaghetti bolognese, chocolate mug cake, and fudge nut bars.
Not having to worry about portion control and having it all sorted for you with the packs is a huge help. It makes staying on plan easy and you can decide when you eat your 4 packs too. When I know I’m going to be super busy I have a shake and a porridge in the morning, and then have the other 2 packs before 9pm. Eating in a 12 hour window works well for me and fits in with work and family life.
And the LighterLife product that really makes the difference?
Definitely the chocolate shake! It’s replaced my Starbucks Frappuccino addiction and as I don’t drink tea or coffee any more, it’s my go to drink on ice. I‘ve made it everywhere – on planes, at work, at a wedding in Italy, even at a New York City bus stop!
How did having a Mentor help you?
Having a Mentor, who was always there with an encouraging word or a suggestion to support my journey, attending the CBT mindfulness sessions, and listening/talking to my fellow LighterLifers made a huge difference.
My Mentor, Alicia, also has a private WhatsApp group where we can ask questions, share our successes, be honest about our challenges, and support each other on the more difficult days. Knowing others might have found a solution to a challenge was always so comforting.
The group exercises helped me understand my unhelpful behaviours, such as eating too much, secret eating, and binge eating when stressed or tired. I learned to stop, think my impulse through, and consider other choices I could make instead. Now I’m on the Maintenance plan, I know I have the tools to make healthier choices about how to deal with my emotions.
I also learned that looking after myself isn’t selfish, it has to be at the top of the priority list. This is about changing my habits and behaviours in the long term, not just cutting calories in the short term.
Did you have any other support outside your Mentor’s private group?
Yes, I also joined the private LighterLife Facebook communities, to read about other peoples’ success stories. It was always so comforting to see successes and know I wasn’t alone in the challenges.
My youngest son is still my inspiration to look after myself and would always tell me how proud he was of me, that the difference was visible. My husband and other two children were also very supportive, making sure if we had to go somewhere that the people knew I wasn’t eating conventional food. And my work colleagues also said I was inspiring them on their own journeys.
What difference has LighterLife made to you?
I still have the remnants of Long Covid but I have my life back. My knees and hips aren’t perfect but the inflammation in my joints has subsided and my back no longer hurts. Being able to go for a walk or go up the stairs without feeling out of breath, be it with family, for work, or just for me, is an amazing feeling.
I now say yes to outings with my kids and friends. I’ve started going on small hikes, and hope one day to be able to run again because I love the feeling of freedom it brings.
I feel like the real me has finally emerged and been excavated from layers of fat and I’m so much happier. My confidence at work, in my relationship, and in everyday life has soared. Losing weight has changed every part of my life inside and out. My kids and husband are proud of me but most of all I’m proud of myself. I trust myself and I believe in myself.