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The biggest thing I’ve learned from LighterLife is that taking care of me is a priority, not an afterthought

I’ve lost count of all the diets I’ve tried over the years. But this time was different. I knew it was time to get out of being miserable every waking hour. My weight was so heavy, both mentally and physically, there was no escaping it.

LighterLife is the best diet I’ve ever done, and it was so easy because all the food portions are worked out for you. I’m an all or nothing kind of person, so going all in on TotalFast worked for me. I don’t do groups or meetings, but I was totally committed to losing the weight, so this time I made the promise to myself that I would follow the plan to the letter as doing it my way in the past hadn’t been successful.

How LighterLife’s support is different

As I said, I’ve always opted out of other diet groups, but that’s because they were so very different to LighterLife. Having a personal Mentor was a huge factor in my success and finding Valerie was like finding gold, she’s been brilliant.

Now I love the CBT Mindfulness sessions, they keep me on track, and my fellow LighterLifers are a fantastic support too. The CBT Mindfulness sessions helped me learn about myself and how to change my beliefs. The weekly topics are interesting and varied, and they all gave me confidence as well as a “tool box” to help me through the difficult times.

Although I’m not a fan of computers, I found the online Zoom meetings really good as if I’d had to make the effort to attend meetings in person, that would have been a short-lived effort!

Starting TotalFast

Valerie helped me prepare for my first week – before the food packs arrived, I ditched carbs, upped my water intake, and ate more protein. So, my first week on plan wasn’t as difficult as it could have been. I didn’t have any headaches, apart from my mind telling me I was hungry while I was getting used to not eating conventional food. But I felt so well and had so much more energy – and I loved the chocolate mug cake and all the bars!

Why Mindfulness works

The CBT Mindfulness sessions and Valerie have taught me so much – I’ve learned I’m not alone in my crooked thinking, and that I’d actually set myself up for failing so many times in the past.

The E + R = O equation (Event + Response = Outcome) has saved me many times. I’ve learned how to make better choices by having a response not a reaction to the situation.

For example, I’m very much a stress eater but I’ve learned that comfort food actually makes me feel very uncomfortable. And having experienced a lot of stress while on TotalFast, I realised I don’t need to eat to manage that stress, that I can choose to override the bad habit and have a positive outcome instead.

Finally, I’ve learned first and foremost that self-care and taking time for me isn’t selfish. It’s a priority, not an afterthought.

My partner, Dave, has been 100% supportive, he’s really helped keep me going on my down days, even changing his eating pattern to help me. My two boys have also encouraged me all the way. Although I didn’t share what I was doing with many people (this is my journey and I didn’t feel the need to talk about it with others) friends have been very supportive too.

How do I feel now?

I’ve lost 4st 6lbs in 5 months and my wardrobe now reflects who I really am. I wear fitted clothes that show off my new shape, nothing baggy anymore.  I actually like shopping for my new size 10 labels.

I can run short distances, I can walk faster and further, including uphill, without being out of breath. But it’s the day to day things that are so much easier. Getting dressed. Putting shoes on. Everyday movement such as getting up and down. I hadn’t realised how disabling my weight was, that it stopped me doing things like cleaning out the kitchen cupboards because it was uncomfortable. But now I have no excuse!

And when we’re out at shows with the trucks and cars I can climb in the truck now, whereas I was too heavy to hold my body weight before. My confidence is so much better and I don’t have all those negative thoughts in my head any more either.

What I’d say to anyone thinking about starting LighterLife

If you’re looking at LighterLife, it’s because you’re unhappy with your weight. And that’s a good first step in wanting to change. So make the decision to do it for yourself and stick with it

It’s not an easy road, but it’s also the easiest road. Be strong, don’t let others sway you, and most of all don’t eat off plan, no matter how small.

Reading other people’s stories is an inspiration, showing the programme does work.