Success Story: Cheryl
Cheryl's Calorie Counting Success Story

Cheryl cannot believe that she is not starting the new year on a diet. In 2006 Cheryl changed her eating habits which resulted in a weight loss of over 6 stone.

Success Story: Cheryl

Cheryl, Age 34, Height 5ft 4in
Start Weight 18st
Current Weight 11st 7lbs
Goal Weight 10st
Weight Lost 6st 7lbs - Wow!
Working to Rate of Loss 2lbs per week

Dieting History

Mainly Slimming World and Weight Watchers.

They didn’t give me the tools I needed to work out a lifelong plan.

I found SW and WW too fiddly; having to look up sins or points was a pain.

I did try calorie counting once, thinking that you needed to eat only 1000cals per day to succeed.

Big mistake, and completely unattainable. Cals on the back of a packet are so much easier.

Have you lost weight before and regained the weight?

I’ve dieted all my life and got bigger and bigger! I finally realised that dieting doesn’t work for me.

How being overweight has affected you…

I hated socialising to the point that I stopped going out, and if it was unavoidable I loathed trying to find something to wear.

"I didn’t want to be noticed, so I didn’t do my hair or makeup, and wore unfeminine clothes which probably made me more noticeable!"

The clothes I did have were stretched to the limit, and my trousers used to wear out between the thighs within weeks.

I have got quite a physical job in the chemical industry, and on more than one occasion my trousers split. The only thing that saved my modesty was the length of my lab coat, but even they were getting tight.

I couldn’t bend down to pick things up off the floor without nearly suffocating. I literally couldn’t breathe, because of my bulk.

I was having palpitations, constant chest infections, and need to use an asthma inhaler, despite not having asthma!

"We have a lot of social events at work, but there was no way I could partake in many of them. I was never going to fit into a go-kart!" 

I wouldn’t even go ten pin bowling in the end because the thought of what people would be thinking about the size of my bum…..!

I can actually laugh about it now but at the time the embarrassment was crippling, although now when I think about it, I’m sure no-one actually cared! It was me that had the problem, not them.

I thought I was the biggest person in the world, and that everyone else was slim, but now I can see that that wasn’t true.

The only time anyone said anything was in a shop. I wanted to pass by a young girl, and said ‘excuse me, can I get through please?’ She said ‘You could if you weren’t so fat’ I was incensed, and so hurt.

Motivation to Diet

The success I’ve had on WLR!

I lost a lot of weight very quickly at first, most of, which was fluid retention, I’m sure. That probably helped psychologically.

Very quickly I noticed that the pain was gone from my ankles, and then that my back had stopped hurting in the morning.

I’m sure that my very rounded bum was causing my spine to bend in bed, and I had terrible back ache. I couldn’t bend to put my own socks on, and had to get my hubby to do it.

I explained to him it was due to the back ache, but I never let on that I could no longer reach my own toes. My sheer physical bulk just wouldn’t allow it.

"Now I’ve changed many of my lazy habits (harsh but true), the joy of being able to move, and bend and stretch is amazing, and liberating." 

That might sound odd if you’ve never been as morbidly obese as I was, but anyone that has lost weight and regained his or her body will know just what I mean.

Now I can fold my arms across my chest, tie my shoelaces, scratch nearly every itch on my back! These were things I couldn’t physically reach to do at the start of my journey.

I was doing an awful lot of secretive eating too, and could easily polish off a family pack of sweets before I’d left the supermarket car park. I felt embarrassed by my behaviour.

"I also felt under a lot of pressure because of the media attention about obesity." 

While it would have been easy to say that that was discrimination, I realised that I’d got obese all by myself, and that no one else was to blame.

Discovering Weight Loss Resources

Well, it was that time of year again wasn’t it? New year new me, just like last year and the year before, in fact every year for the last 18 years.

I decided that I’d lose weight after the Christmas holiday blowout.

I was (once again!) searching for a calorie counting program on the Internet and I found WLR, offering a free 3-day trial!

"I’ve never seen any other weight loss resource that lets you try before you buy, so I was intrigued. I had nothing to lose so I gave it a go."

I was stunned to see that I could have nearly 1800 cals a day, and honestly didn’t think that it was going to work.

"1800 seemed way too much, so I was amazed when I lost 9 pounds in my first week!"

I switched to eating reasonably high fibre, reasonably low fat foods, ensuring that I was getting at least five portions of fruit and veg every day. I also gave the same foods to my hubby and son. Not having to cook separately for myself really helped.

I must admit that after all the usual Christmas stodge it was really refreshing to eat wholesome foods.

I realised that I could improve things for my husband and 10 year old son, so I stopped buying sweets and crisps and junk with the weekly shopping. Amazingly they didn’t complain. I explained that we needed to get healthy.

In fact no food is banned from our lives; it is just not so readily available.

If I want a packet of crisps I go to the local shop and buy a packet, instead of eating 6 out of the kitchen. In fact we rarely eat those things now. It’s a case of out of sight out of mind.

I’m the first to admit I used to eat like a pig! That is the key to this for me. It started off being about trying to lose weight, but quickly became a health quest instead, with the added side effect of weight loss!

"I’m not complaining! I lost 2 stones within my first 4 weeks, and that was by eating all my calories!" 

I never intended to lose weight that rapidly, it just happened. The reduced salt levels of my new eating routine probably helped to eliminate loads of water, because my ankles disappeared almost overnight!

Of course the rate of loss has slowed now, and sometimes I don’t lose any weight for two or three weeks, then four pounds can come off seemingly overnight.

I don’t stress about it. I think you can guide your body in the right direction but you can’t force it.

With a healthy attitude and exercise, the weight will come off eventually, and if it doesn’t, then the healthy eating and activity will be doing your heart the biggest favour you can do for it.

How Weight Loss Resources Helps

I love the message boards. Being able to see my nutrition profile of protein, carbs and fat is a useful tool that I’ve never seen anywhere before.

I’m a vegetarian, and my intake somehow meets the recommended ratio without me actually trying!

Starting off on a high level of cals and dropping down gradually with the weight loss is a great way to ensure success, instead of eating too little from the start, which is why I’ve always failed at dieting.

"I also like the fact that I’m deciding what I eat, not a complete stranger who doesn’t know what I like and don’t like."

I’ve also learned that it is okay to go hungry a little. In the past, at the first sign of hunger I’ve reached for a chocolate bar or three.

Now I understand that if I‘m hungry at 11 in the morning, it won’t kill me to wait an hour until my lunch break.

However I’m also aware that if it is six in the evening, and I’ve eaten all my calories and I’m starving, that I’m better off getting something to eat!

Most days I eat a little over or a little under, I don’t think ‘I’ve got 26 cals left, I’ve got to use them’ or ‘I can’t eat that because I’ll be 60 cals over’.

"This is me for life now; it has to be, so I take a fairly relaxed attitude to it."

I can’t go back to my old ways. I was killing myself and putting my husband and son in early graves, and I never want to feel so ill again. When I think of the rubbish we used to eat, I shudder.

Now I’m aware of the way certain foods can make me feel too. We’ve had 4 takeaways this year (we often used to have 4 a week) and I’ve realised that I can feel grotty after eating them.

It reminded me of how sluggish and yuk I used to feel all the time. We used to eat a deep pan pizza each, now we share a thin one, between the three of us, and eat salad with it.

My hubby has lost weight, but I have to ensure that my son doesn’t, so he has plenty of wholemeal bread, and he usually has a flapjack with his packed lunch.

"I’ve learned that no food is ‘bad’, in fact I don’t associate food or days with being good or bad. It takes the emotion out of it. There is a place for everything, but in moderation."

I have learned so much from WLR, and feel like I have support at all times.

I like that I’m doing this for me. At weekly classes I’d have 24 hours off after class, knowing I had 4 days to scrape it back before next weigh in. If I did that now I’d be fooling myself.

Cheryl's Calorie Counting Tips

Do this for you and your family, and do it to be healthy.

Think not just about losing weight, but about what the food that you are eating and giving to your family is doing to your insides.

Find an activity that you like. As my weight came off I started walking, and then bought a second hand treadmill that lives in the lounge, not in the bedroom to become a clothes horse!

"Now I’m following a running program. Me! Running!? If you’d told me that 10 months a go I’d have laughed myself sick."

I started belly dancing (Very sexy, I’d forgotten what sexy felt like!) and now I’ve joined Tae Kwon Do.

There is no point slogging your guts out in the gym if you hate it, but there are plenty of alternatives.

This summer I’ve ridden a bike for the first time in 10 years. Putting up the trailer tent this year was a breeze compared to the effort that it required last year, even my Other Half felt the difference.

"Quite often I don’t realise how easy something is now, in the way that I used to notice how hard it was, like walking into town."

You don’t have to have crisps and biscuits in the house ‘for the kids’ if that is your stumbling block. They really don’t need them in nutritional terms, and if you are the one eating them (I was!) get rid of them.

I’m saving a fortune at the shops because healthy fresh food is so much cheaper than pre-packed, and seems to go a lot further. I’m not related to Jamie Oliver, honest! Of course I’m spending a fortune on new clothes!

I am not on a diet. I have modified the way I shop and cook for me and my family, for life.

"For the first time I am not struggling to lose weight. It feels like it is happening naturally."

I can’t find a way to express how good it feels to have such a wide range of physical movement, and how liberating it is to move my body, to bend, reach, stretch, run, to have energy enough to want to do these things.

I know I sound a bit mad and a bit of a zealot, but I’m not, I’m just so happy!

I cannot believe that this year I will not be thinking about ‘having to go on a diet after Christmas’.

"This year Christmas is not going to be about the food. This year I am going to the Company Christmas party, and I’m going to enjoy buying something to wear." 

I haven’t been to a Christmas do for years. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do…

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* Note: The success stories published on Weight Loss Resources are written by WLR members, past and present, telling their own stories in their own words. As you will see if you read more than one or two of them, everyone's story is different and they have reached their success from a variety of starting points and lost weight at varying rates. Individual results may vary.

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