Name: Sonia Christie
Height: 5ft 2
Start weight: 16st
Current weight: 8st 7lbs
Sonia Christie has successfully maintained her weight loss with Cambridge Weight Plan for four years. She says changing her mindset enabled her to take control and stay slim so she could be accountable for her own happiness…
“I have yo-yoed with my weight all my life, since hitting puberty. I would reach a point where I couldn’t bear it a moment longer, find a diet (I have done them all!) always lose weight successfully, and then get to goal and say to myself “Great! I am slim now! Slim people stay slim naturally!” But then it would all go back on again and more. It was as if the dieting blinkers were removed, and within days I would return to my old eating habits, my old reliance on food to deal with any emotion, I would feel the ‘switch’ go in my brain and the control evaporate.
“Five years ago, I had reached my biggest weight ever, at 16st. I loathed myself, I felt disgusted and ashamed and so self-conscious. I knew I turned to food to help me with any emotions – sadness, anger, boredom, and to enhance the good times – more food! Food was my constant companion and source of pleasure, but I was not in a happy place.
“I found Cambridge Weight Plan, and my Consultant helped me to lose 7st 5lbs and to explore why I had put it on in the first place.
“At goal, I began moving up the Steps which was a vital part of learning to maintain, as was the continued support of my Consultant. I approached maintenance by viewing it as one big experiment in me and my relationship with food. Doing Cambridge Weight Plan helped me to pinpoint why I kept turning to food for something other than fuel, and to put in place other measures to cope. I realised that if nothing changed after I got to goal, I would simply repeat the old cycle of losing weight, put it all back on and repeat the cycle for evermore. So, I used my weight loss as a time of learning about me and why I kept turning to food. I realised for the first time that if I ate what I always used to eat I would weigh what I always weighed! So, I experimented and began to put in place boundaries and rules that I could accept.
“I asked myself 3 questions:
- What mindset did I need to maintain?
The most important realisation was that I had to take full responsibility for having been obese, and for taking back control to stay slim. I stopped blaming my life circumstances and stresses and decided that despite them, I had to be accountable for my own happiness.
If I do ever choose to eat off my maintenance plan (like on holidays), or if I don’t consciously choose to but do anyway (yes, I still have moments like that!), I accept it is a choice I have made, owning the choice. This gives me back control and allows me to take the approach of ‘what do I need to learn to make this work?’ I am grateful every day for the opportunity to stay slim, and I focus always on my next goal, on my next reason to stay slim.
- What did I need to eat to maintain?
I worked up the Steps, and soon realised that because I am post-menopausal and small in both height and weight, my Total Daily Energy Expenditure is quite low at 1300kcal a day. During the working week, I have two fast days at about 600kcal a day, and three days at 1,000kcal a day and then I relax at the weekends. In addition, I keep to low glycaemic index, low carbohydrate foods when possible, as I have learnt that eating refined carbohydrates just makes me hungrier! I still drink at least three litres of water a day, and have lots of rules in place, like ‘if hungry have a glass of water first’, and ‘one cup of coffee a day max’. If this all sound very abstemious, I must at this point say I love a slap-up meal at a top-notch restaurant, but it’s now always done as a special occasion with ‘weight consequences’ to face afterwards, and I find this makes me choose carefully when to relax – it must be worth it! I don’t worry if my weight does creep up slightly, as I have a healthy weight boundary of about half a stone within which I bounce up and down. I weigh once a week, but I find it unrealistic to expect to stay the same weight, as it depends on what socialising etc has happened that week! If I do bounce up because of my choices, then it is simply a matter of dealing with it the following week by being extra careful and perhaps even being stricter that weekend too.
- What did I need to do to look after myself so that I could maintain?
One of the main reasons I put on weight was because I was I was so busy looking after the rest of the family, getting my self-worth from being the best mum and wife I could be. The result was I lost myself, and made no attempt to look after me. The irony is that I now realise that putting me first is crucial in allowing me to be happy, and an even better mum and wife than I was! So, I make time to do things that I want to do now, things that give me a sense of fulfilment, happiness and worth, and I have found my voice to express myself when I am angry or sad, rather than literally eating my words. Funnily enough the desire to eat to feel happy has now waned.
Staying ‘naturally slim’ is not hard work, it just takes a shift in your mindset, and a willingness to make changes. I would rather be slim than eat food that makes me put on weight, and I suspect that is because I have found my happy place in the world at last.
“Cambridge Weight Plan not only enabled me to lose 7st 5lbs, it taught me why I kept using food for something other than fuel, and so gave me back control. Now, although I don’t use the products regularly anymore, I know it is still there for me to use for an occasional fortnight to shift the holiday or Christmas gains quickly if ever I need to.”