Denise Green, 39, lives in Essex and works as a Communications Supervisor at New Scotland Yard. She has lost an amazing 5st 4lbs in 11 months by keeping an online food diary with Nutracheck. Here's how it happened....
I think there are two types of overweight people - those who have no confidence and who spend their lives hiding in a corner saying "don't look at me", and those who just get on with it. I was always confident and bubbly, but it was like the tears of a clown. I would always get in first and make the joke about me being fat before someone else did.
When I started with Nutracheck I was at my heaviest ever - 16st 6lbs. Over the years my weight has yo-yoed but always crept up and up. My problem is portion control - if I'm told I can eat as much pasta as I want I'll eat a bowl the size of my head!
I had my moment of truth in Barratts shoe shop last December. I was bending over to try on a pair of ankle boots but I couldn't reach - my stomach was in the way and I couldn't breathe. I was puffing and panting like an old woman! I threw the boots down in disgust and thought, "Right. Enough is enough - when a girl can't buy shoes, something has to give!!"
I'm a firm believer that you need an epiphany, that 'click' in your head that changes everything. Mine was in Barratts shoe shop.
A couple of days later a very good friend who knew how much being overweight bothered me told me about food diaries. I searched on the internet and found Nutracheck.
The first 6 months of using Nutracheck were better than I ever imagined. I ended up losing 2 lbs a week. Of course, there were weeks when I didn't lose any weight, but that would be when I was due on. This is where the food diary is so good - if a week goes by where you don't lose any weight you can see why.
I've tried to go mad and have binges like I used to, but I can't physically allow myself to let rip because I have to write it all down in that flippin' diary! It's changed my attitude completely because there's no point eating and then lying to myself about it.
I've recommended the site to loads of people but I've said that you have to be honest about every cup of tea, every squirt of ketchup.
I remember all the little bits and pieces I used to in between meals. I've always loved fruit and salad, but I'd snack on crisps and chocolate as well. Because I wasn't eating junk at mealtimes I thought I was being healthy.
If I wanted a cake I would buy three instead of one, because I was self-conscious and wanted the baker to think I was buying for other people, rather than just me. Of course I then went home and ate three cakes instead of one.
Now I eat 2 slices of wholemeal toast with jam for breakfast, a salad or lots of chicken and vegetables for lunch, and something similar for dinner. I am a chocoholic so I'll just use a food swap and factor in a Crunchie bar.
I plan ahead and always make sure I've got something low calorie to nibble on in my handbag, like dried apricots or flatbread.
People joke about my pedometer having to be surgically removed! But eating healthily has become a lifestyle.
The Nutracheck site sets down the exact cause and effect of exercise on your weight loss. I now welcome having to walk to the Post Office because it's a chance to get out and burn off some calories. My target every day is 10,000 steps and I can't settle down until I've done them. I now factor in an extra half an hour to all my journeys so that I can get off the tube two stops early and walk.
I went into Monsoon in June to buy a dress, and even walking into Monsoon was an event because I was half-expecting sirens to go off and the Fat Police to turn up and escort me from the premises. I picked up a size 18 and tried it on thinking that it wouldn't fit, but I'd have a go anyway. I was right - it wouldn't fit. It was too big. I walked up to pay for the size 16 version and I had such a big grin on my face that the two cashiers asked me what I was smiling about. I ended up giving them the address of the website!
Other people's reactions have been absolutely amazing! Where I work there are always people coming in who won't have seen me for while. About every two days someone comes up and says "Oh my Gosh - you've shrunk!"
As I went down a clothes size I threw out all my old clothes or sold them on e-Bay. It was scary because I had nothing to wear if I failed! But I didn't give myself the opportunity to go back. Keep a few items of old clothes so that in your darkest moments you can get into them and just laugh at how enormous they are.
As for hitting a plateau, oh, I can tell you about plateaus! Just don't give up. Why stop when you're doing so well?
Remember you're not going on a diet; you're starting a new healthy eating lifestyle and the bonus is that you lose weight.
I am surprised that I've managed to lose so much weight, but I always hoped I could do it. I'm enjoying the amount of energy that I've got and at what my body is now capable of. In the future I'm looking forward to keeping the weight off and starting to do stuff I wouldn't have done before.
When I have one of those bad days when you wake up and think "oh, what's the point?" - I call it the 'miscellaneous blues' - I now say to myself, "I don't care - I've lost 5 stone!"
The weight fell off - why had i left it so long to do this?Read more
I feel confident now, my self esteem is where it should beRead more
I can walk now into a shop and pick up
what I want!
Don't use the word
diet. Say instead that you're re-conditioning your body
My life now is completely different! I feel liberated.Read more
This worked because I can have a bit of chocolate or glass of wine if I want it.Read more
* Published by Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research