They had different reasons for weight gain – but needed the same solution.
Simon and Nicky are our amazing My LighterLife Magazine husband and wife cover story. They have lost 13st between them and have both gone on to train as LighterLife Mentors. For Nicky, obesity started in childhood and for Simon it was changes forced on him by Covid-19 that saw his weight rocket.
Their journey – taken years apart – has led them ultimately to the same place. To be LighterLife Mentors. They’ve seen how the unique LighterLife Programme, combined with Mentor support and CBT Mindfulness can have a positive effect on their weight and their happiness. Now they want to help others who are frustrated with unhelpful messages such as ‘eat less and move more’ from doctors and the government.
Even though Nicky’s only in her mid-30s, she’s had a lifetime of food addiction. Overweight since the age of 5, her weight matched her years; 5st at 5 years of age and 9st at 9 years. We all have our own pattern of weight ups and downs but for Nicky, it only went one way. During puberty, Nicky got to her maximum weight of somewhere between 26 and 28 stone.
That number is not totally clear to Nicky because her own scales did not register any weight over 20st. You’d have thought that even personal scale makers would have recognised that stopping their machines measuring at 20st was a misjudgment.
But worse was to come. Guessing she was at her heaviest (even elasticated waists have their limit!) 21-year-old Nicky visited her doctor for help. We know that whether you were 20, 40, or 60, many of you have similar stories too.
Nicky was badly let down by her doctor
Her doctor said (and this is a quote from Nicky): “You have to do it for yourself. We do have scales in the surgery that measure people your size but they’re not available now and mine don’t go high enough. Here’s a diet sheet and I’m giving you details of a walking group that you can join.”
Now what the doctor didn’t know (because she never asked) was that despite being obese, Nicky had been a member of the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme and was already a leader of walking groups in that great organisation. Nicky walked miles every month, even though she acknowledges that carrying the excess weight made it difficult. But she was young and relatively fit and fought the aches and pains because she was, and is, a tough young woman. As she walked out of her doctor’s surgery, she felt humiliated and defeated. It takes courage to ask for help. Having bravely reached out, Nicky, like many of us, was badly let down by her doctor and indeed by the government with its unhelpful ‘eat less – move more’ message.
So, Nicky left the surgery and continued to put on weight. Until Simon proposed. “I didn’t want to be an enormous bride,” she explains. At 24st, she was snacking all day long: bread, chocolate, crisps. Then I heard about LighterLife. My dream for my wedding was so important to me that I was motivated enough to lose 7st for the wedding. At that time, I didn’t realise how important the group work was for keeping the weight off.” By 2017, the couple was ready to have a baby but with no luck. Going for IVF, she was told she had to lose more weight first and, again, turned to LighterLife. But, after her son Ollie was born, the weight loss didn’t last.
A holiday photo of her on the beach, where she described herself as ‘looking like a whale’, didn’t do the trick. And not even a heart scare could get Nicky to find out why she was drinking and eating too much.
It was having a chair collapse under her in the garden after she’d been too exhausted to play with her son, that prompted a determined change of heart.
This time, she admitted her head wasn’t in the right place and she had to change the way she thought about eating. So, she joined a LighterLife group and met her Mentor, Sharon Hamilton. And everything changed…
One of the most important messages that Nicky learned was that weight loss on its own is not the whole story. It was working with Sharon to understand the ‘why’ behind her eating habits that have led to her new healthy living, that benefits the whole family.
By May 2021, she had achieved her target of 12st. “It felt amazing, and this time, I have learned what I need to know to never go back.”
Last year, Nicky’s family business bore the brunt of the lockdown. As an exhibition company, overnight they saw their work come to an abrupt stop. But Nicky didn’t let it defeat her and she trained as a LighterLife Mentor. It’s a role she is perfect for as she genuinely understands how her clients feel and what they are struggling with.
Simon’s life, too, has gone through some momentous changes over the past four years. Not least was the birth of their son Ollie. He explains: “I’ve always been a very active person but as I began to get older, and Nicky became pregnant we completely changed our lifestyle for the worse. “In the past whatever my size, Nicky and I did lots of activities around youth work with the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme. But, as her pregnancy progressed, she couldn’t do so much, and I slowed down too. “I told myself I was ‘supporting her’. “Nicky also decided part of her role as a mother was to cook three ‘proper’ meals a day ‘cos that’s what mothers do’! I guess you could say I began ‘eating for two’ as well, which carried on after Ollie was born.
“When Covid-19 hit, our activities with the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme completely stopped. Then I lost my 37-year career in the airline industry. A double whammy which meant I lost all structure in my life. The combination of all these factors meant my weight rocketed.
“Eventually, I decided I had to do something about it. And, I admit it, originally, I felt very skeptical. But Nicky knew the LighterLife Programme had worked for her, so it was an easy decision for me to make too.
“I lost 4st in 4 months. It was a life-changer. I could see why it worked and I could see how my attitude to life changed too. All for the better.
“When Nicky received her license to practice as a Mentor and started to build her business, it was clear how much she enjoyed helping her clients. And it seemed to make so much sense for us to make it a family business.
LighterLife is for men too!
“I can see how much men need this support. The blokes I know seem to stick their heads in the sand when it comes to weight gain. Just slipping the belt down a notch, spending more time in the pub than on the football pitch.
“I now know men don’t have to accept slipping into middle age. They should wake up and ‘smell the coffee’ as the saying goes. It’s my aim to help Nicky and to help men realise they don’t have to accept the slow deterioration of their bodies into a quagmire of health risks.
“We are so looking forward to developing the LighterLife business that Nicky and I share. Working together as the family we have become.
“It’s been a life-changer for us”
At LighterLife we know that losing weight isn’t just about what you eat, but about your whole relationship with food, and the truth is losing weight and learning to keep it off is a skill you have to work hard to acquire. Our Mentors are ready to help – click here to find your nearest Mentor or email firstname.lastname@example.org.