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LighterLife telephone groups: what are they really like?

Each week our expertly-trained LighterLife Counsellors help you to understand more about yourself and your relationship with food so you can explore why you eat the way you do.

It’s been scientifically proven that people in group lose 22% more weight than those who go it alone, and because we understand that it’s not always possible to travel to a LighterLife group, finding a time that suits you has never been easier.

Emma Davey lost weight with a local LighterLife Counsellor and is continuing to manage her weight dialling into a weekly telephone group.

No one else but Emma can describe her weight loss story better. Catch up on Emma’s progress here.

Week 1

“First LL2U call – done! It feels really good to be getting back on the wagon, albeit with a different driver this time round.
As I approached my goal this time last year, after losing 4 stone, my amazing LighterLife Counsellor had to make the difficult decision to change areas and this left me feeling nervous and without a local group to attend on a regular basis.

For a while I was OK, I would have to admit I was a bit more than OK really – my counsellor had put me forward to share my story and I had the huge privilege of being involved in photo shoots for Broccoli & Brains and Prima Magazine, which were both brilliantly fun days. However, I still found myself further away from goal than I wanted to be, so I decided to try other ways to continue my journey i.e. exercise, healthy eating plans, extensive reading around the subject to educate myself about the science behind eating and gaining/losing weight etc. When this didn’t go as well as I had hoped and when, for a while, life became very stressful, I then attempted to do Foodpacks on my own without group support. Sadly, I found myself struggling to stick to the plan, still no closer to my elusive goal weight and I noticed, and tried to ignore as a blip, I was beginning to creep further away from it.

What to do? After a lot of procrastination and ‘one more days off’, I discovered a close friend of mine had secretly been doing the LL2U programme and with great success – she had lost over 5 stone! So, without a second thought, I have finally taken the plunge and decided to give it a go…

I have to say my first counselling call has immediately made me feel more energised and motivated to get back on track. It’s not my original counsellor (who was and continues to be lovely) or my original group, but life moves on and, if I have learnt anything on this rainy summer’s evening with my lovely new counsellor and group, it’s the importance of drawing a line under the past and finding a positive way to move forward without guilt or hesitation…

Goal – look out ‘cos here I come!’

Week 2

”Weight loss this week 8lb!

My new LighterLife module book arrived this week entitled ‘Sparkle’. Oh the irony! Only yesterday I met up with a friend that I hadn’t seen for 6 months and her exact words were that I’d ‘lost my sparkle’. I just love how (lighter) life has a way of knowing exactly what you need, when you need it!

Tonight’s call nearly didn’t happen – my husband was away and one of my little people decided to come in during the call… The counsellor/group were fantastic – he told me how to mute the call my end whilst I sorted her out and a few minutes later I was back in business…

A big shiny penny has dropped for me this week – I have finally realised that when my life feels out of control, that’s when my food gets out of control. This causes me to get trapped in a cycle of feeling out of control, not coping, losing confidence, overeating and putting on weight – so tonight’s topic for discussion about affirmations could not have been better timed.

I have to say I have been really pleasantly surprised by how easily I have slipped into telephone counselling – after my brilliant experience of face to face group counselling I thought I was going to find it hard to adapt. However, it’s great for a number of reasons:

  • I don’t have to go anywhere, so there is no travelling time to factor in – important for me with a busy family life
    I can do it at a time to suit me/my family
  • You still get the life changing CBT and the chance to hear other people’s views/experiences, which I find helps you to understand your own
  • It is still led by a fully trained, experienced counsellor

After each call I’m more motivated and energised than when I began – ready to take on the world again for another week!”

Week 3

“As I sit here on this rainy summer’s day sipping my yummy LighterLife Vegetable Soup and reflecting on last night’s LL2U call, I find myself contemplating my LighterLife journey.

The first time I did LighterLife, 9 months after my first child was born, I stuck to everything meticulously and, as a result, the weight fell off, I then joined management and found myself the slimmest I had ever been. Before pregnancy I had always been a size 10-12, which then rocketed to a size 18 afterwards and subsequently plummeted to a size 6-8 when I finished management! I felt amazing and weighed just under 9 stone, however, I mistakenly thought that was it… I thought I would be able to maintain this going forwards with my new food knowledge, self-awareness and without any external help.

To be fair I did manage it for a while, several years in fact, but the pounds started to creep back on just before I became pregnant for the second time and then everything went out of the window again. I came back to LighterLife after a couple of years of injuries and when both of my children had gone to school, giving me more time to think about myself again.

Thanks to the CBT element of the classes and my brilliant counsellor, I realised that unpicking decades of bad habits/crooked thinking and expecting myself to be ‘fixed’ afterwards was just not realistic.

After leaving this group, when it had to close because the counsellor relocated, I really struggled to lose my final stone and get to the elusive goal/management alone. Joining a telephone group has reignited my motivation to get there now – even though it’s the summer holidays and I know that is a difficult time for me being out and about and away with my 2 children so much… It has helped to remind me of many of the things I already knew, as well as making me realise a few new things – it is also really interesting listening to other people’s perspectives/thoughts on a subject. Talking about guilt trips, self-sabotage, affirmations, anger and quick wins (amongst other things) has made me take a long hard look at myself again – not always easy or comfortable, but ultimately rewarding and I know it will lead to success if I stick with it.

Without wishing to sound cheesy, the CBT element of LighterLife has made the world of difference to me and when I do it, it feels easy to stay positive, in control, confident and able to maintain my weight. I know CBT isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and that it can feel weird if you’ve never done anything like it before, but if you persevere and try to get past the discomfort you might experience at the beginning, I promise you it’s worth it. Jump in feet first and embrace the exercises – you might feel silly, like it’s doing nothing for you and that not every week applies to you, but gradually pennies will start to drop and you will realise things about yourself that will change your relationship with food and indeed your life generally for the better going forwards. Change/growth is often uncomfortable and lots of us self-sabotage to avoid it (my counsellor pointed this out last night!), but if we always do what we’ve always done we’ll always get what we’ve always got!

As well as improving my own life, health and happiness by doing all of this, I am also determined to be the best role model I can for my two children as they continue to grow. I want to find ways to help them learn from my mistakes, bad habits and crooked thinking over the past 4 decades and try to teach them some of the life-changing realisations I have made during my LighterLife journey”.

Week 4

BREAKING NEWS: the size 10 summer dress I bought at the end of last summer fits! Such a good feeling and nice to know I can wear it on my holiday this year.

Anyway, back to business – ‘Delay gratification’ are the words I have been  repeating to myself this week…
For me starting is not always the hardest part when you have decided to make a change, it’s the keeping going until you reach your goal – getting past the first, second and thousandth hurdle!

One of my hurdles this week was doing the grocery shopping for my family –  it seemed like all the foods I love were looking at me and I couldn’t help but feel sad about not being able to eat any of them. This is where the weekly group sessions and CBT really comes into its own, continually helping to refocus your mind and motivation, helping you to find out along the way why you ended up in this situation in the first place. After a bottle of water and a talk with myself about why I’m doing this, I felt able to carry on again.

If I’m completely honest, it can often be a daily struggle to keep going and without the strategies I learn in group each week I would definitely fail more often than I do. I have to remind myself that, as I am only ‘human’, some degree of failure is inevitable – it’s learning how to cope with those setbacks and not spiralling out of control when I do fail that has been the biggest help to me.

In order to get the prize, I must keep an eye on my goal – all the time looking for quick wins to keep me going! Celebrating what I have achieved so far and trying not to focus too much on how far I still have to go. I am really looking forward to a slim and healthy Christmas at my ideal weight for the first time in years and every day feeling a little closer to that goal.

All I want for Christmas this year is to be a healthy weight, to be fitter and to have a better relationship with food and exercise in order to stay that way! Thank you LighterLife for helping me to achieve my goals.”

If, like Emma all you want for Christmas is to be happy and healthy, begin your LighterLife journey today.

Want more? Read Charlotte’s LighterLife tales.