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Joanne Holden

After spending far most of her early twenties feeling overweight and self conscious, Joanne came to LighterLife in hope of becoming happier and healthier.

  • Weight lost: 3st 2lb*
  • Weight loss plan: Total
  • Followed by Management
  • Maintaining since 2016

“Before LighterLife, I had a very unhealthy relationship with food and as a result I was always overweight and had extremely low self-esteem. I used food as comfort and considered my weight to be a façade, it was something I could hide behind. Although I have always come across as a “bubbly” and “outgoing” person, I most definitely hid behind my weight and, deep down, I was severely unhappy with how I looked in the mirror. I smothered myself in huge, baggy clothes and dressed in black to avoid drawing attention to myself.

I remember waking up one day, looking in the mirror with the same disgust that I had done every day for years and realising that nobody was going to do it for me. I was the only one in charge of my own destiny, and I had spent far too long feeling sorry for myself. I am extremely close to my mum and she too was desperate to lose weight, so together we made the decision to join LighterLife, and since that day neither of us have looked back. I have lost 44lb and my mum has lost 56lb – a combined total of 100lb.

As a child I was very sporty and I loved exercise. As the weight crept on, I became more and more inactive. I lacked confidence which stopped me from getting involved in team sports because I was embarrassed. It was a vicious cycle. I tried joining a gym but I was genuinely humiliated by my own fitness levels and I felt like everybody was staring at me. My weight very much held me back from doing the things that bought me the most enjoyment in life. I would admire all the lovely clothes in the shops but quite simply didn’t have the confidence to even try them on.

My life changed for the better

I am a completely different person now to the person I was little over a year ago. I train at a local body-building gym at least four times a week lifting weights and doing high intensity interval training. This time last year I wouldn’t have been caught dead in Lycra gym wear and now I live in it.  My partner is a professional cyclist and fitness fanatic, and happens to be the manager of the gym where I train. Our relationship has gone from strength to strength because of our now shared passion for health and fitness. My body confidence is the best it has ever been and as a result my wallet is the lightest it ever has been. I absolutely love clothes shopping now; I’m bold with colour and can finally wear figure-hugging clothes that I only ever dreamed about wearing before.

In total I lost 44lb between July 2016 and November 2016, so it took five months to lose the weight. Two years later I am still 2lb lighter than I was when I got to target. LighterLife’s Management plan has helped me to understand my relationship with food, and what I should and shouldn’t be eating. I’m convinced that being on LighterLife has actually changed my taste buds; I now love foods that I refused to eat for the first 27 years of my life.

Prior to LighterLife I used food as a comfort. I was addicted to chocolate and ate it in excess every single day. I was lazy and didn’t spend time preparing meals; instead I would eat fast food all the time. I didn’t eat fish (or vegetables for that matter) for nearly 25 years of my life. So it’s safe to say my family and friends have been pretty gobsmacked to see that now EVERY meal contains a variety of at least three vegetables, and I have what could be classed as a minor addiction to grilled fish. My partner and I look forward to spending our Sunday’s meal prepping for the week.

The most amazing thing about LighterLife is that if you do what is says on the tin, then the results are so quick. I noticed changes not only in my body but also in my mind within the first week. And it was the quick results that gave me the determination to get to my goal as quickly as possible.

Group makes all the difference

My weekly LighterLife group is still very much my crutch. It’s amazing to be in a room with so many different women who have all battled with food and weight like me. It was inspirational seeing everyone around me achieve their goals. The support in my group is unreal and my Counsellor, Hazel, is my biggest inspiration. The CBT and mindfulness work has been so important and has given me a much deeper understanding of why I have always used food as a comfort. It has taught me to break bad habits and create new and more positive ones.

The most important thing I have learnt from LighterLife is that “if you do what you’ve always done, you will get what you always got”. It was when I reached my goal weight that I really started to learn a lot about myself because I knew there was no way I was going to put my weight back on. Quite simply, I knew I couldn’t go back to the way I behaved before, so something had to change. I have learnt that in order to keep my weight within my target it will require consistency and balance, both of which I very much lacked prior to LighterLife. The second most important thing that I’ve learnt is to keep setting new personal goals. It is so important to have a goal in mind to keep that focus and determination. So whether it’s a holiday, an outfit for an event or even just a day out with friends, I always set myself a mini target to work towards so that I don’t lose motivation.

LighterLife has completely changed my life. My weight loss has obviously worked wonders for my self-confidence; I am a new person. I now find myself posing for pictures rather than hiding in the background like I used to. I would strongly encourage anyone who is unhappy with their weight to give LighterLife a chance; it really is life-changing and it offers such quick results, which I believe is key to sustaining motivation on any diet. But, more importantly, LighterLife has given me a much healthier mindset around food. It has made me challenge old behaviours and create more positive habits that give me satisfaction without being detrimental to my health.

Living my dream

If you told me at the beginning of 2016 that by the end of 2017 there would be photos of me in a bikini on social media I would have laughed at how ridiculous that was. With my new-found confidence I actually look at photos of myself and I’m proud as opposed to feeling ashamed, and that’s the best feeling of all. I am forever taking photos now and I use them as constant motivation to better myself every day.

And, to top off a fantastic 2017, I got engaged in November while on holiday! I then had another goal to maintain my weight for – wedding dress shopping!

On December 21st 2019 we got married, we had the most magical wedding day. It exceeded our exceptions in every single way. We can’t wait to see what 2020 has to offer.”