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Julie Whittingham

After spending far too many years unhappy with her weight, Julie came to LighterLife in hope of finding her sparkle again. Now over 3st lighter she’s looking and feeling better than ever.

  • Weight lost: 3st 7lb*
  • Weight loss plan: Total
  • Followed by Management
  • Maintaining since December 2019

“Becoming 60 in March 2019 was the turning point for me in trying to overcome my unhealthy eating habits. I was feeling really down in myself at the size I was. Of course, I knew if I wanted things to change I would need to do something about it, but it wasn’t until I was at the spa (a lovely birthday surprise) completely self-conscious and uncomfortable in my size 18 swimsuit, that I had my lightbulb moment.

Being what I would call a ‘pro dieter’ I knew that to lose weight this time a meal replacement diet plan was going to be my best option. Over the years I think I tried every diet out there, and although I lost weight I always returned to my old eating habits and put the weight back on.

A few weeks after the spa day I contacted my local LighterLife centre in Horsham. I chose to follow the LighterLife Total plan, not only so I could lose weight quickly but also take food out of the equation for a little while. It was fantastic to not have to prepare or plan my meals, for the first time in a long time I wasn’t constantly thinking about food. I also really liked LighterLife’s total diet replacement meals – Foodpacks – they’re delicious, especially the Toffee Bar. Who said diet food couldn’t be yummy? I was so surprised how easy it was to follow, too; all I had to do was choose four products for the day and I knew I was getting all the nutrition my body needed without the excess calories.

I was 8lb down at my first weigh in, it was such an exciting moment to see what progress I could make it just one week. It definitely spurred me on to succeed. Every week I would go along to my group run by Hazel – my LighterLife counsellor – and joined in with the cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) mindfulness activities. Through the sessions I learnt that I’d been stress eating for the last two decades and although I knew how to lose weight I’d never been given the mental tools to keep it off.

From the first LighterLife meeting I knew I was amongst ladies who understood how difficult it can be to lose weight. Week by week we would discuss why we ate the way we did and the learnt behaviours that led us to over eat in the past – for me it was my stressful work environment. At the same time, we would challenge ourselves to change and develop new behaviours. It was eye opening to recognise that we all have choices when it comes to eating, thinking and acting on those thoughts. Learning this ultimately helps you reduce your weight and lead healthier lives.

One of the main changes for me was recognising that I could change the way I viewed food.  I realised I was the one choosing what I ate – no one was forcing me!  High calorie foods gave me instant gratification, but the inevitable weight gain led to a loss of confidence and dampened my usual sparkle. My weight problem affected my everyday life. I wouldn’t take my jacket off at work as I was very conscious of my weight gain!

I’ve always loved socialising with friends and family, either going out for coffee or meeting up for dinner.  Before my LighterLife journey, I used my social life as an excuse to eat what I wanted and didn’t think about the consequences of gaining weight.  Now, if I meet up with my friends for coffee, I avoid the calorific cakes and instead have a LighterLife bar in my handbag ready and waiting.

Another thing I love is visiting different countries, but when I look back on my photos from past cruises, I was shocked to see that I’d cropped them all to just show my head and shoulders. My dream has always been to join the dance classes on the cruise ships, but I’ve always felt too self-conscious. Now having lost almost 4st, I will definitely be signing up for the beginners dance class to live out my Strictly Come Dancing dreams!”