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June lost 8 stone 1 lb

What made you decide to lose weight - was there a moment that stands out when something just 'clicked'?

There was no "Eureka" moment but there were a number (12 in total!) of little things such as health problems, not wanting to be part of the obese statistics and (quite importantly), wanting to grow old, which finally made me face up to the fact that I needed to change. It was shortly after I had made a list of these 12 that I saw a leaflet for this online service.

Why did you choose to join this service?What appealed?

We all know we have to put less in and do more, and calorie counting is as simple as that! The opportunity to use an online service definitely appealed. I looked at several, but this one seemed to offer the most flexibility, and was definitely the best value.

Have you tried any other diets and how did you get on?

I had tried most of the major clubs, and the diets did work for me, but the "club" aspect left me cold. Having left the clubs, the weight would pile back on because essentially I had not learned how to control the food myself.

How did you feel about yourself / your health before you started losing weight?

The weight had piled on because I am a comfort eater, and I had gone through a few unpleasant years leaving me with very little self esteem. I was generally unhappy with life - I wouldn't join in events, would try to avoid meeting people and had no self confidence.

Has losing weight been easier or harder than you imagined?

Fortunately for me, losing weight has been quite easy - my average loss has been 2.5lbs a week, which has really helped to keep me motivated. Being able to choose meals from the eating plans, and adapt them into the way I eat has been a revelation for me, enabling me to establish a healthy way of eating which suits me.

What (or who) has kept you going and focused?

My family and friends have all been very supportive along the way, but the Forum has played a key role. It's such a friendly group, with support, advice and chat available almost 24/7.

What would have been a typical day's food for you before?

I have discovered that my portion control was way out of line. A typical day would be cereal or toast, a sandwich or jacket spud for lunch, and then meat and two veg for tea - but all would be huge portions, with chocolate bars featuring most days. I couldn't have packets of biscuits in the house, because I could never limit myself to one or two biscuits. None of this was balanced by exercise.

And what is a typical day now?

Breakfast is generally porridge, with the oats and milk measured out, salad or homemade veg soup for lunch, and a pasta or rice dish for tea. I have fruit, low cal/low fat bars or crisps as snacks, and often leave food on my plate, especially when eating out. Exercise has now become part of my normal routine, and I miss it if I'm unable to do any.

Do you have any tips for keeping your diet on track when faced with challenges like holidays, special occasions and nights out?

I made the decision early on to enjoy social events, and deal with the consequences later. So, if I go over my allowance, I compensate over a few days, and this strategy works well for me. When dieting in the past, I would just give up at this stage because I knew I wouldn't lose weight, so what was the point. It's really important not to give up, to just get back on track. After a while I found that making sensible choices when eating out and regular exercise had become the norm, which also continued on holiday - a real change for me!

What has been the single best thing for you about reaching your goal? (e.g. something you can do now that you couldn't before / someone's reaction)

Oh, can I really only choose one thing? OK, I suppose the major thing for me is the health benefit - coming off BP medication was a particular highlight for me, and the fact that other ailments have all lessened or disappeared. But, just to sneak in that I feel so much better about myself, with so much more energy, so much more self esteem and confidence, and that has to be up there too! Oh, and not being recognized by people I've not seen for a while is pretty good as well.

How do you feel now, as you are moving into the maintenance phase?

Initially, I was scared by the additional calories because I felt I would lose control, but following the Nutritionist's advice, increasing the extra calories incrementally until I find my balance is the way forward. Since I hit target, I have been on an emotional high. I have not felt this good in years.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out on their weight loss journey?

Set small achievable targets to keep your motivation strong, plan menus so you only buy what you need and thus reduce temptation, and don't be too hard on yourself. The weight didn't go on overnight, so don't expect instant results - you have to put the effort in. Remember that this is a healthy eating plan for life, not a diet which is going to finish at some point - it's just about finding the right balance for you, and it is worth that effort.

Weight loss is individual and your personal rate of loss may vary from any case studies shown on this website.