Against the Odds - Julie's Incredible 4½ Stone Loss!

Against the Odds - Julie's Incredible 4½ Stone Loss!

Julie, Age 52, Height 5'4"
  Weight Dress Size
Start 14 stone 5.8 lb 20
Current 9 stone 12lb 10
Julie's Lost 4 stone 7.4 lb 5 dress sizes
Time Taken 11 months

A bit about me and my lifestyle...

I’ve been married to Paul for 31 years now and we have two boys, now grown up and recently left home.

I was a stay-at-home mum and then gradually took on more and more caring duties with Paul’s parents. I gradually became a full-time carer to Paul’s parents. They were older parents when they had Paul and were older than my own grandparents.

I always enjoyed cooking and baking and very much enjoyed having friends and family round for meals and going to their houses too.

I have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which was diagnosed when I was in my early twenties. This is a big issue with trying to lose weight.

It leads to cravings for bread and cakes, pasta and potatoes. It makes me very, very tired, it makes it hard to concentrate and plan anything, including a menu for the week and as for trying to eat healthily, that can seem impossible because I’m so lethargic and can’t concentrate.

I have this quite bad and has led to me being very depressed over some winters. I started using a light box in 1995, and this enables me to be able to concentrate better but doesn’t get rid of the cravings for food nor the inability to plan and think clearly.

I am the total opposite in the Summer, quite active, and lively and it’s so frustrating.

So, over the years I would put weight on over the Winter and try Weight Watchers again every Summer to try and lose the weight. Sometimes this worked and sometimes not.

How I've tried to lose weight in the past...

I gradually put weight on when having the boys and after our youngest son was born, I attended Weight Watchers and lost all the weight I’d put on and was at a healthy weight.

Weight Watchers was excellent and promoted a healthy way of eating. It also heavily promoted its own brand of cookbooks and food, neither of which was very affordable at the time for us with two young kids, especially with the weekly subscription.

Unfortunately, this was before the use of the BMI scale and it meant that I didn’t achieve a ‘gold weight’ with Weight Watchers, and at just half a stone off the gold weight, my husband developed depression.

This meant he was off work for 3 months and I was unable to carry on attending Weight Watchers, and it was becoming expensive.

I gradually put weight on again, and life was terribly busy with two boys who had just 18 months between them in age. They started school, and after a few years I started to take on more and more caring responsibilities for Paul’s parents.

How my weight affected me...

I hated being overweight. In the Summer I would walk somewhere and get so hot and sweaty.

I had red raw marks where my skin rubbed, and I didn’t feel able to run around with my kids.

Julie hated being overweight
Julie hated being overweight...

I was doing housework in two houses, our own and my parents-in-law, and I would feel so uncomfortable trying to move around when I was overweight.

I also wouldn’t buy myself any new clothes unless I had no choice.

I felt that I didn’t deserve the clothes and they were a waste of money. Not getting new clothes was my way of punishing myself.

During the long SAD winters my weight and not being in control of it would be another reason to feel thoroughly depressed and unworthy.

In 2010 my very elderly father-in-law became malnourished because of his age mostly, and he had to have meal supplements and regular visits from a dietitian.

I was there for all these visits as his main carer and I felt so bad, being so overweight and he was so underweight.

I found Weight Loss Resources during this time and because I’d been listening to the dietitian, I realised that all the information on the website was based on nutritional fact and not a fad diet or programme. It was also very affordable. I joined WLR based on this.

Over the following year I lost a lot of weight but didn’t get to a healthy BMI. You’d think that that was it, but it wasn’t.

I struggled to take control...

My father-in-law died in Winter 2011, and even though I’d used WLR I hadn’t really conquered my relationship with food and the need to eat the wrong things when life was tough.

After my father-in-law died, I had to take on the full-time care of my elderly mother-in-law. This was completely overwhelming. I yet again put weight on, this time I really struggled with everything.

I felt that the only good thing to happen during any day was the wine and chocolate every evening, yes, that’s right, every evening.

When the Summer came, I didn’t feel the motivation to do anything about the situation. My whole being was concentrated on looking after my mum-in-law, there was no space left for a healthy lifestyle.

We eventually asked my mum-in-law to move in with us. She was bed bound, partially sighted and was diabetic.

Then, just six months after she came, my husband suffered a very rare spinal problem, something called Cauda Equina. He had to have emergency surgery on his spine and suffered from permanent damage to nerves in his spine.

This meant his right leg and foot are now partially paralysed. He went over-night from being a full-time worker at a bank being incredibly supportive and helpful looking after his mum, to being unable to work due to this spinal issue.

I then had two people to care for, super full time.

Just a year later, my 45-year-old sister died very suddenly, and then just two weeks later Paul’s mum died suddenly at our home.

Wow, what a period of time. We went on holiday immediately after this and when the photos were being looked at later, I was utterly ashamed of how I looked.

My motivation to lose weight...

I realised now that my lovely husband had this permanent injury and that he too was overweight, and it wasn’t great for our health.

I went back to Weight Loss Resources, and this time my husband and I did it together. It was fantastic to change our lifestyle together.

I had never realised that the weight loss journey is so difficult when you do it and you’re the only one in the household that’s doing it. I wish that I’d got him on board much earlier, especially as he was so good in helping me with dealing with my SAD.

How wlr helped me (even through the blips in the road)...

Again, I lost weight, as did my husband. Right up until the middle of winter, then the SAD took over again, with the carbohydrate cravings, the wine and the chocolate.

In early 2018 we got back to WLR, and this time got to November 2018 and then moved to a new house.

Before we moved to a new house, I had been using WLR so well, I got really into walking with our new Cocker Spaniel puppy and loved doing the Walk the Weight Off challenge. I got two medals for this and this was brilliant.

And then yet another winter!! And gradually put on a lot of the weight I’d just spent nearly a year losing…. So, on November 3, 2018 I was 10 stone 12.8 and by January 2 nd, 2019 I was 12 stone…….

This time I stayed a member of WLR because I knew that I HAD to conquer this, that I couldn’t let each winter sabotage everything I did each Summer.

I kept paying for my WLR subscription because I knew that it was the most professionally researched and well-balanced way of having a healthier lifestyle.

I knew I needed to keep exercising and eating healthily. I kept having a bash at changing the way we ate, but never for long enough. I put more weight back on.

Then COVID came. As more information came out about the risks that made COVID deadly, being obese was one. A big one.

There was so much about COVID that you couldn’t control, but I could control my weight.

I’d sort of done it before, so I needed to do it properly, for keeps, and not let the winter ruin everything.

So, with everything in lockdown and being petrified of getting COVID, we started getting our shopping delivered each week. You couldn’t even order a meal from our local chippy anymore.

Also, there were no more meals to prepare for family and friends because you couldn’t have any one around anymore or be invited out.

So, we thought that it could be the best time of all to lose weight. So, I weighed myself every day and the weight came off really well. A couple of pounds a week for a while and then eventually it started to slow down a bit.

I read some articles on WLR about weight loss plateaus. I stuck with what I was eating and started to drink more water before meals as suggested.

I also started walking quicker when I was walking the dog and using an app to track my fitness.

Soon the weight started to come off again. I knew that if I trusted the fact that I was exercising correctly and eating properly then the weight would come off and it did.

Soon the weight started to come off again
"Soon, the weight started to come off..."

In the past I’d given up at this point, but persevered and it was worth it.

I realised that you need to give yourself a ‘treat’ that doesn’t involve food.

Previously I’d reasoned that a monthly trip to the chippy was ok, that a weekly bottle of wine and chocolate was ok. That I ‘deserved’ it as a treat for denying myself all week.

We stayed away from alcohol as much as we could. It takes away your inhibitions, and somehow you don’t eat something healthy with a glass of wine or beer, do you?

I felt like I was ‘being good’ when sticking with our healthy suppers. Then each morning as I weighed myself and I’d lost a bit more weight or not put weight on, I knew that the healthy food I was eating and the effort I was putting in was paying off.

Julie's Amazing Weight Loss Graph
Julie#39;s Amazing Weight Loss Graph

The interesting thing about not going into a supermarket every week was that I was no longer seeing the special offers on things that weren’t included in our healthy menu for the week. So we weren’t buying anything we shouldn’t.

Also, during the run up to Christmas, the shops are so full of high calorie foods and not being there to see this in the supermarkets really helped during the winter with my SAD. So, I began to realise how to beat the Winter!! What your eye doesn’t see your heart can’t grieve over….

What I love about wlr...

I love WLR, the ability to eat anything you like, nobody telling you to buy a particular brand of food, or to eat certain things. No obsessive promotion of certain cookbooks and no more drain on the finances.

The only guideline at first is the number of calories you need, and you can even choose the rate at which you want to lose weight, which changes the number of calories allowed as well.

All of this is backed up thoroughly with the proper scientific research needed to be able to change your lifestyle to a healthy active one.

One especially important change I made was to weigh the portion sizes I was eating. So, I weigh my breakfast cereal in the morning, the fruit I eat after my salad at lunchtime, and my portion of potatoes and meat for my evening meal.

I still weigh my portion sizes. It’s so easy to overestimate how much you’re giving yourself.

How I stayed motivated to keep losing weight...

The challenges on WLR are brilliant. I read the articles on WLR about how the new healthy habits I was developing made me healthier. The Slim habits 2021 challenge is the best ever. The science behind it all is fantastic.

I loved getting the tokens, and the interesting challenge of balancing the protein and fibre.

Then my medal came through the post as well. It goes with the others I got for Walk the Weight Off and Countdown to 21 challenge. They are awesome.

The thing about the changes made when using WLR is that YOU, the one using the service, effect the changes yourself to suit your own lifestyle.

That way they become more permanent.

So, I got through the Winter of 2020/2021 with more controlled food cravings. I wasn’t buying things that I knew would be a trigger for unhealthy eating.

I sat in front of my light box every day during the Winter and got my weekly healthy shopping delivered. It had plenty of treats in it, but they were all healthy.

My weight finally got to a BMI of 24.9. I was absolutely thrilled!! Just a few weeks later I got to my goal weight. Wow!!

Julies weight loss awards
Julie's weight loss awards

How my life has changed since losing weight...

Since then, I’ve been to out to a couple of outdoor only BBQs in family back gardens and had a couple here.

I’ve eaten a little extra but kept it healthy and only for that one meal. Enjoyed a glass of wine or two.

Then the next day back to healthy eating and any pound or two that has gone on comes back off.

How exercise has helped my weight loss...

I carried on walking as much as I could with my Cocker Spaniel and walked for at least 6 miles a day with him. This extra exercise really made a difference.

During the first lockdown the sun shone and shone and the only thing you were allowed to do was walk the dog! So, I did, and it was good for my mental health and my physical health too!

I’m still walking the dog plenty and enjoying walking fast without being out of breath.

My personal weight loss benefits...

The best thing ever had to be buying new clothes.

I got a new blouse and pair of skinny jeans and the jeans are a size 10 and the blouse a size 8.

I feel great, look great and am sure that if COVID came my way I’d be in a much better position to fight it off. Not just that but other illnesses too, including SAD.

My 'Top Tips' for losing weight...

1) Don’t be put off by how much weight you have to lose overall. Break it down into smaller goals. Then once you’ve achieved small goals, you’ll feel amazing, and it’ll spur you on to the next one.

2) Weigh portion sizes of food all the time. Don’t reason that you deserve a bit more and it won’t matter. It does matter and it just takes longer to lose weight otherwise.

3) Write up a menu for the week and include treats that are healthy that you will look forward to.

4) Get someone who cares about you to help you and even join you on your journey.

5) Do whatever exercise you can manage. Also, exercise helps to get through any weight loss plateaus.

6) Don’t think it will happen overnight, be patient and work at it and it will happen though.

7) Reward yourself with new clothes, bunches of flowers, new shoes, new perfume, new makeup, etc., and other things that aren’t food.

My advice for getting the most out of wlr...

  • Set up the food diary as a shortcut on your mobile phone if you have one so that you can use it all the time.
  • Set interim goals so that you do not get overwhelmed with a huge amount of weight to lose.
  • Stick to the calorie allowance honestly. You are only cheating on yourself if you don’t.
  • Use the challenges as much as you are able.
  • Read the fantastic professionally researched articles that will convince you of the healthy way to eat and exercise.

Start a Free Trial Today

The Weight Loss Resources tools can help you break the yo-yo diet cycle. Keeping an online food diary and learning about eating healthily really puts you in control. You can try it free for 24 hours

Take our FREE trial »

Lose a Stone for Christmas Challenge

If you enjoyed this article, try our newsletter. It's free.

Receive the latest on what works for weight loss straight to your inbox. We won't share your email address. Privacy policy