In her own words …Victoria’s weight loss journey
Victoria reached her target weight, working with our coach Alex. Read her story, in her own words, of how the one-to-one support and advice she received from Alex has helped her make healthier choices, stick to them and feel more confident in herself.
I am in my mid-40s and have a child with special needs. I work part-time and life is always busy. My weight had slowly crept up, through poor eating habits, often snacking or grabbing something unhealthy on the go, rather than having meals. I knew I comfort ate and knew that, now my son was 8, it was getting harder to tell myself I was going to lose the ‘baby weight’!
An ‘MoT’ with the Doctor put my weight in the ‘overweight’ zone, tipping towards obese. Stress and poor eating meant I often felt unwell and I knew I needed to get on top of the situation but didn’t know where to start. I wanted to feel better about how I looked and felt and knew I was going to need to improve my health and energy for the sake of my son. I’d tried weight-loss clubs in the past but found their prescriptive diets hard to follow or stick to. I was fortunate to work in the office next to the Healthy Lifestyles team and found out I could self-refer. I was amazed that the service was free and really flexible in terms of appointment times and meeting places.
Alex, who I would work with, got in touch to explain the service and to make the first appointment. He was really friendly and approachable, and I wasn’t nervous about the meeting. Alex took time to listen to me and find out about my situation, eating habits and goals. He helped me to set an ‘ideal weight’ goal and gave me lots of great advice about small changes I could make to my eating to make it healthier. He also gave me sheets to keep a food diary for a week. I really liked that we didn’t talk about ‘numbers of calories’ and I didn’t feel like I’d been told off or patronised.
I met with Alex regularly over the next couple of months, looking at my weight, progress and adjustments I could make to my eating. The discipline of keeping a food diary and knowing that I was going to check my weight really helped me to be more conscious about my food choices. The tips and advice from Alex gave me ways to change and adjust my eating habits so it never really felt like dieting.
I also gently increased the amount of exercise I did. I steadily lost weight over a couple of months and was delighted to drop the first stone. Alex was encouraging and supportive, especially when I hadn’t had a ‘good’ week (where things that should be treats crept back into every day!). Alex helped me see that life may sometimes get in the way of healthy eating (like periods of ill-health, emergencies, etc) but that it didn’t mean I needed to resort to my previous unhealthy choices long term.
Getting my family involved in helping me to make better food choices really helped me too. I laughed when I found myself thinking ‘What would Alex say?’ when I was choosing groceries!
In the past I had struggled with going on a hard diet, failing and feeling even worse about myself (and usually gaining even more weight through comfort eating) but, with the help of Healthy Lifestyles Gloucestershire, I actually succeeded in reaching my goal weight (over a stone and a half lighter and having to buy smaller jeans!)
Making lots of small changes, keeping a food diary and knowing I was going to meet with Alex (and get on the scales) meant I was making healthier choices. Alex helped me see that losing weight isn’t about starving yourself and denying yourself treats – for me it was about adjusting my eating and having occasional treats (which I look forward to and enjoy more now).
Once I’d reached my goal weight, Alex helped me to find ways of maintaining my weight – helping me to find my own ‘rules’ to live by, where I can find balance and not regain the weight. I’m happier with my body and am more confident. Knowing that I succeeded in reaching my goal has made me proud and helped me to think more positively about myself. Even if I overindulge at times, I now know how to get back to eating better and how to shed the extra pounds. I am hopeful that I can maintain my weight in my target range.
I have recommended the service to friends, several of whom are now being supported by the team and are succeeding with weight loss. I think I would have struggled to make that initial contact, if I hadn’t worked next to the Healthy Lifestyles team but I would encourage anyone who wants to get healthier to get in touch. They support with reducing smoking or drinking and with increasing exercise as well as weight. The staff are friendly, knowledgeable, approachable and, most importantly, realistic and empathetic.
I’m still amazed that such a fantastic service, with one-to-one support, is available locally and free-of-charge!