I have lost 7st 1lb99lbs44.9kg. It has taken around 17 months. For the last few months, I deliberately slowed my losses down to make my transition to maintenance more manageable and less of a cliff face. I lost just over 6 stone in the first 12 months and then lost the last stone in the last 5 months.
I have tried many times to lose weight over many years. In July 2020, after putting even more weight on in the first lockdown, I took my grandson on a seaside holiday. During that holiday, it became so apparent that my weight and lack of fitness was an issue that could no longer be ignored. Either I couldn't do what we really wanted to do, or I avoided doing certain things because I felt uncomfortable or embarrassed. I decided during that holiday that I was in 'Now or Never' territory and jumped on the scales the day we got back. Even though I had been overweight for many years, the actual number on the scales shocked me and I decided whilst stood on those scales, that the number I was seeing was the heaviest I would ever be.
After trying and failing on many diets, I had already made the decision to forget about the fads and quick wins that had never worked in the past and to concentrate on what was in fact the logical and rational way - to eat in a sensible calorie deficit and obtain steady losses in a healthy way. I started logging calories manually and using my Apple Health app to help with my calories out and it was on this app that I saw Nutracheck recommended as a way to track calories. It would turn out to be the most important find of my whole journey.
At school and for a couple of years afterwards, I was fit and active and my weight was always at the lower end of the healthy scale naturally because of the amount of activity I was doing. Once I left school and started working, sometimes with irregular hours, my eating patterns and habits got worse, and my activity plummeted which combined meant that I put on a lot of weight in a few years and never recovered from that. In fact, as each year passed, I would be just that few pounds higher and this culminated in the weight of nearly 19 stones that greeted me on my return from that holiday.
Like many, I have tried many diets over the years and have lost weight on some of them. But none of them for me gave me an education in how to make better decisions when someone isn't telling me exactly what to eat and what not to eat. It's not just about the weight loss over a year or so - it's about weight management for the rest of my life and that is where the learning that came from calorie counting outstrips any overly-regimented diet plan which in my opinion just teaches you how to follow instructions, not make better decisions for yourself.
Like any change, it did take some getting used to and I had moments in the first few weeks where I doubted myself.
The great thing about calorie counting though, is that there are so many ways to adapt the days and weeks so that I didn't have to give anything up that I didn't want to. By not demonising any food groups or items, it gave me the flexibility to always have an answer or plan for social occasions. Using the Easier Days option to start was a great way to use the losing phase to mirror in some way how my life was likely to be going forward. I was always likely to want to use more calories at the weekend so what better way to learn how to manage that than doing that during my losing period?
It very soon just became a way of life, it has never felt restricted, and it has felt a million miles from previous diets. As I discovered new foods and new recipes, it became more and more apparent that you can have an awful lot of wholesome and tasty foods for your calories if you take a bit of time to plan and explore.
The big difference if you plan it correctly is that you can make the calories meet you halfway in any changes that are needed.
One thing that really helped me was being active on the Nutracheck app forums. There were so many supportive members who had experienced all of the stages I was going though and offered their advice in such a kind and completely non-judgemental way. This definitely helped me through some of the challenging moments and those times when I doubted myself.
Looking back now, as strange as it seems, the most difficult thing for me at the start was to trust the process and not inadvertently put myself on yet another 'diet'. For so many years, I had been taught that some foods are ‘good’, and some are 'bad', and that when trying to lose weight, only ‘good’ foods should be consumed.
Whilst it is definitely the case that some foods have much greater health benefits than others and some foods are best eaten only occasionally and in moderation, it was the realisation that what I needed was balance. If most of my foods were healthy and nutritious and some of my foods were those I really enjoyed (just in different amounts to before), then I could keep both my body and mind happy and working together to get me to where I needed to be.
I think I would best describe the feeling I have now as one of completeness. It hasn't made my life happier as such - my life was happy before - but it always felt like the overweight me wasn't the real me. In all aspects of my life, my weight played some part in either decision-making or how I felt, and that meant that the real me was somehow hidden away. Now, I am able to enjoy the things I couldn't do and the feelings I couldn’t have before, so I can concentrate on being me - all of me, not just overweight me.
I have had many milestones over the last 17 months. I purposely made a celebration of every single loss, every pound, every half stone, and stone and so many more. There is a milestone in most loss weeks if you look hard enough.
However, there are two in particular that stick out for me. Firstly, when I got to the stage where the first number on the scales was equal to or bigger than the second number. So 13st and 13lb and below. This was the first time in 25 years that I had been able to say that and really brought home to me that I was going to get where I needed to be.
The second one was getting into a size 32 waist jeans. When I started, I was wearing size 38 or 40. On previous weight loss attempts I had got down to a tight 34 but to be able to comfortably get into size 32 jeans was something I hadn't experienced for at least a couple of decades. I am now down to a size 30 - if I stay either a 30 or 32 going forward, I will be more than happy.
* Weight loss is individual and your personal rate of loss may vary from any case studies shown on this website.