Helen's Weight Loss Success Story
Helen (aka beesef) Weight Loss Success Story - Weight Loss Resources

Helen was in denial about her weight gain and saw herself as middle aged and frumpy. Read how calorie counting and using a food diary helped her successfully lose over 3¾ stone in weight.

Helen's Weight Loss Success Story

Helen, Age 45, Height 5ft 5in
Start Weight 12st 2lbs
Current Weight 8st 4lbs
Goal Weight 8st 7lbs
Weight Lost 3st 12lb
Working to Rate of Loss 2lbs per week
Time Taken 6 months

About Helen

I was a size 12 in my 20s and early 30s and didn’t really think about my weight.

Although I didn’t do any specific exercise I was secretary to a solicitor, whose office was on the ground floor. I was on the top floor, so I spent a lot of time running up and down stairs.

When I was 34 I left my job to have my first child.

I put on a bit of weight after my son was born, but it was after my daughter was born three years later that the weight really started to pile on.

"As a full-time mum, I wasn’t getting any exercise, and it was all too easy to snack on crisps and chocolate bars during the day rather than preparing proper meals."

Although at some level I realised that I’d put on weight, I kidded myself that it was ‘just a few extra pounds’.

I think I was probably in denial. I never weighed myself and hid behind baggy jeans and shapeless tunics.

I’m also married to someone who can eat what he wants and never puts on a pound! Having children also means that there are always crisps and biscuits in the house.

Being in denial, I told myself I didn’t eat much anyway and that I’d have to starve to lose weight. Of course that wasn’t true.

I actually ate far more than I admitted, but telling myself I ate next to nothing gave me an excuse not to do anything about losing weight.

Helen Before: 12st 2lbs
Helen Before: 12st 2lbs

What diets have you tried in the past?

I lost a few pounds before I discovered WLR.

I realised I needed extra motivation, and did some internet research to see what was available, but none of the other major slimming clubs, such as Weight Watchers, really appealed to me.

Please comment on your experiences of trying these diets

I didn’t like the idea of attending meetings with the weekly weigh-in, and the Weight Watchers points system seemed overly complicated.

I also knew that any kind of faddy or restricted diet was not the answer.

"I think the trouble with any kind of diet plan like that is that it doesn’t help you manage how you eat in the longer term. In some ways losing weight is the easy part."

The crucial thing is to learn how to eat ‘normally’, but make better choices about the food you eat.

Tell us how your weight has affected you

When I was overweight, I always felt invisible. I never chose clothes I liked, but always ones that would best hide the bulges.

I think I just got used to thinking of myself as a frumpy housewife, and doubtless that’s the image I projected to other people.

I assumed I would be that way for the rest of my life and accepted that.

What has been your main motivation to lose weight?

My marriage hit a rough patch (thankfully things are back on track now, and better than ever) and I think that realisation made me see a lot of things much more clearly, including how I’d got trapped into a mindset where I basically wrote myself off as a middle-aged, overweight frump.

I realised that lots of things about my life had to change, and that – whilst there were lots of things over which I had no control – I could (with the aid of WLR) learn to control what – and how – I ate.

Which tools and resources on WLR do you find most valuable?

The food diary is a little miracle! Before that, I would guess portions, guess calories.

"The food diary gave me control over what I ate because I could see at a glance how many calories I’d consumed at any time on any given day."

It also really helped to be given a number of calories on which I could lose weight at the rate I wanted.

"The food diary is a powerful tool in itself, but the essential thing is that using it gave ME a feeling of control that I badly needed."

I also love the graph feature – so thrilling to see the blue line moving downwards! And filling in my decreasing measurements and BMI was really motivational.

I still use the food diary and can’t imagine life without it now! Hopefully at some point I’ll be able to choose foods instinctively, but I shall continue to fill it in for as long as I feel I need it.

I don’t use the forums a great deal, but it’s nice to know there are people in the same boat who will always try to help if anyone has a problem or a query or just needs some extra support.

"As a cheese-loving vegetarian, my stock of recipes was very fat-laden, so I used a lot of the recipes that other members have posted."

Not only did I enjoy them, but my husband actually preferred some the new meals and admitted he’d found a lot of what I used to cook too rich and heavy.

Have you purchased or used any products/fitness equipment that have helped to reach your goals?

My best buy is my digital kitchen scales.

My old manual ones weren't sensitive enough and couldn't accurately weigh small amounts of food.

The digital scales are brilliant for measuring out portions of food, taking out all the guesswork.

Why do you think WLR has helped you lose weight where other diets have failed?

I’m not the sort of gregarious person who would enjoy going to meetings, and I’m very much someone who likes to go it alone and do it my own way.

"WLR gave me exactly the kind of support and assistance I needed to enable ME to control my diet rather than being told what I should or shouldn’t eat."

As other people have said, WLR provides the tools but treats its members like adults who keep responsibility for their weight loss journey.

I don’t have to eat any ‘special foods’, just make better choices about what I eat, knowing that the only person I’m answerable to is myself.

Try WLR's tools for yourself

Calorie counting for weight loss is easy with the tools in WLR and you needn’t give up your favourite foods!  You can use the information on Weight Loss Resources to count how many calories you need to consume each day and how many you are actually eating. Try it free for 24 hours.

Have you struggled at points in your weight loss journey? Experienced a weight loss plateau? What has kept you motivated?

I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve not struggled anywhere near as much as I thought I would.

"I’m a very single-minded person (‘control freak’ might be nearer the mark!) and when I really set my mind to do something, I stick to it."

There were a few times when I thought my weight had crept up, but thanks to WLR I realised that it was down to fluctuations to do with water retention/time of the month and just carried on doing what I was doing.

Since losing weight can you give examples of how your life has changed?

I’ve rediscovered my love of clothes and I’m having the greatest fun buying clothes because I like them, without having to worry about having to hide bulges.

I’m indulging my love of vintage fashions and just really enjoying clothes and feeling good in them.

"On a less frivolous note, I used to get heartburn pretty much every day. Now that I eat far less fatty food (cheese in particular) I hardly ever get heartburn."

I also used to suffer from migraines, which I’d get about every 4-6 weeks.

Since I became a member of WLR I’ve only had two migraines, and they were very much milder than the ones I’ve had in the past.

I have much more energy now and far more self-confidence.

I no longer feel invisible and don’t want to be! I feel much more motivated about my life in general and I’m now studying towards a degree with the Open University.

Helen Now: 8st 4lbs
Helen Now: 8st 4lbs

Exercise routines adopted

I can’t say that I enjoy exercise. I was always the kid who tried to get out of games lessons at school.

"But I also knew that it was important to take some exercise, and – most importantly – that I had to find something I would stick at."

My key purchase was a set of Rosemary Conley aerobics DVDs. The level of the exercises was perfect for me and 25-30 minutes per day, in the privacy of my own home, was manageable.

At weekends, when husband and kids are around, I take a couple of brisk walks – nothing very ambitious, just half an hour or so.

I’m sure I could probably do more exercise, but at least I know that I can stick to the activities I’ve chosen.

What do you love about your body now?

"I love having a waist! I’ve lost my ‘muffin tops’ and I get a real kick out of seeing the size 10 label in my clothes."

I’m in proportion now, and although I don’t have much of a bust, I make the most of what I have (Wonderbras are brilliant!). I’ve also lost my double chin!

  Before After
BMI 27.3 19.3
Body Fat 35.2 21.7
Chest 37" 33"
Waist 38" 28"
Hips 44" 35"

Helen's hints and tips

I think the key thing is to think of the WLR journey not just as a weight loss diet, but a means of finding a manageable way of eating for life.

If you deprive yourself of the things you like, you’re probably less likely to stick to it than if you include them, but within the context of a balanced diet.

"I still love cheese, but I use a lower fat version and only use it for cooking rather than snacking on great lumps of it."

I don’t eat high-calorie puddings, but I’ve found lower-fat options that are just as tasty. My current favourite is the Shape range of desserts.

I always choose lower-fat options wherever possible, and in many cases there is very little difference in taste, so it’s a good way of cutting calories painlessly.

I made white sauce with skimmed milk instead of semi-skimmed, and even my husband didn’t notice the difference.

"The main thing now is that I eat when I’m hungry and stop before I’m full."

Because I log everything in the food diary, this makes me think twice before eating something.

I do tend to get peckish at certain times of the day, but I make sure I snack on something low fat and healthy (Weight Watchers fromage frais with layered fruit are surprisingly filling and very tasty) rather than crisps or biscuits.

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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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