I first started dieting over 20 years ago (after putting on weight during my teens). Having successfully lost weight back in 2011 through counting calories, I then put about half of it back on before shifting a couple more stones in 2019. But during the pandemic in 2020 I put it all back on again. After that, I tried numerous times but couldn’t stick to anything for longer than 3 weeks, or even 3 days.
Following a knee injury, both my knees continued to hurt for the next 18 months. I could see others around me, including my mother, struggle with their knees as they got older and I knew I had to take care of mine now. For each pound you weigh, it means four pounds of pressure on your knees.
Why I chose LighterLife
My final trigger was my holiday in April 2023, when I put on even more weight. That’s when I realised counting calories wasn’t working and it was my mindset I needed to work on. Knowing how to lose weight was one thing, getting my mind to stick to it was another.
Then I remembered a work colleague from 10 years ago talking about how effective the CBT Mindfulness sessions from LighterLife were, and I decided it was time to try a different approach.
Mentoring and Mindfulness
There are so many things that are unique to LighterLife and work for me. My Mentor, Hazel, was great during my weight loss journey and she’s still there for me now I’m maintaining that loss. She helped me see things from a different perspective, and to not be so hard on myself.
She also took the time to get to know me and find out what would work for me and what wouldn’t. I sent her a weekly message to let her know how I’d been, but I also contacted her a couple of times during a struggle to get her advice and guidance.
The CBT Mindfulness sessions were instrumental (and still are) in ensuring I can tackle the demons in my mind that make me want to reach for food as a way of “coping.” They raised things I’d never even thought of before and there were so many “lightbulb” moments each week.
The activities and tasks really delve deeply into us as people, focusing on how we can amend our thought processes to cope better. Being able to watch back the videos later in the private Facebook group also helped as a reminder.
Facebook Community and Family Support
The LighterLife TotalFast Facebook client community was an invaluable resource for me. Hearing other people’s success stories was inspiring, and seeing the difference in photos (where it’s like you’re looking at new people) really motivates you to carry on too. Hearing their struggles and other people’s suggestions for them was also helpful – I picked up many coping techniques from here, especially in the beginning when I felt like I had so much to learn.
They’re such a positive and uplifting group of people who are all going through the same thing as you. I would check to see new posts every day without fail and it really helped me along my journey.
My partner has been incredibly supportive too. Having that support in the home was definitely a great help as I was always able to talk through how I was feeling.
I would spend the occasional weekend with my parents and, again, they were so supportive and encouraged me 100%. I found I really enjoyed going out for meals and I would just have water while others ate. It made me appreciate engaging with people at the table and I could concentrate fully on the conversation instead of being distracted by what I was eating, or not “tasting” what I was eating, as I’d be too busy talking.
I started on TotalFast on a Sunday, during a Bank Holiday weekend, so I wasn’t at work for the first couple of days. This definitely made life easier as I could keep myself busy rather than reaching for food while sitting at my desk (one of my habits). So, by Day 3 I knew I could stick to it (after trialling the 7-day Taster Box) and signed up for the next 12 weeks.
While I liked eating, I’m not a great cook and didn’t like meal prep. Having Foodpacks made life so simple and that was also a great help in keeping me going. I would lay out my packs for the next 3 days, depending on my plans, and then I just had to reach for a pack at a time.
Plus, you get results and see the numbers go down on the scales so quickly. Although my mind still struggled with the weekly weigh-ins if it wasn’t a figure I “wanted” to see. So, my Mentor, Hazel agreed I could weigh in fortnightly and just check in with her every week instead.
The LighterLife products that kept me going during the Summer were the Jellies, and during the Winter it’s the Broth. Although my tastes changed while I was on plan and my current staple is the Apple and Cinnamon Porridge. But I only add 50ml of water rather than 160ml and let it get cold because after I discovered a hack for making waffles, when I licked the spoon, I liked the mixture so much I decided to keep eating it that way!
What have I learned?
Having never managed to maintain weight before, always either gaining or losing it, I’ve learned it’s about balance. Hazel has taught me that if I do “slip up” it doesn’t have to be a disaster. What she said that resonated most is this: “If you got a flat tyre, you wouldn’t then get out of the car and slash all the other tyres.”
I’ve always had a tendency of thinking, “Well, I’ve blown it now and it could take days, weeks, or months to get back on track again.” Now I just think of that tyre, don’t let it affect me, and move on. I’ve learned that one bad day isn’t going to magically put my 5 stone back on.
How do I feel now?
Having lived in leggings, hoodies, and oversized jumpers since 2020, and wearing them for work, concerts, and on holiday, going down from a size 18/20 to a size 10/12 feels incredible. Now, my outfits are filled with jeans, jumpsuits and dresses. I still love a hoodie and a jumper but they’re more form fitting and I feel so much more confident in them.
Since losing the weight I haven’t felt any pain with my knees either and can squat and kneel on the floor again with no issues.
I’ve always enjoyed adventure and pushing myself but weight limits on things always held me back, as well as worrying about what other people might think if they saw me doing something. However, now I have the confidence to do these things again, and have already taken part in a Tree Top Adventure. I’ve also been looking at what other activities I can do this year. And I completed a photoshoot while on holiday in London, which has given me the confidence to book a studio photo session, which I’m really looking forward to.
What I’d say to anyone thinking about starting LighterLife
I would tell them, “Go for it, it’s the best thing I ever did for myself.” The key is preparation and the Foodpacks make it so easy to incorporate the plan into your routine. Going out for the day? Take a couple of bars with you so you aren’t tempted by other food.
My top tip is to buy a 1 litre bottle of water to keep track of your water intake throughout the day. Whenever I feel like I start to struggle, even now, the first thing I do is reach for my water bottle and drink away.