"I just wish I had done it years ago. Because my life would have been so different."
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your relationship with food.
Hello, I'm a mum and nanny. I’ve two very active grown-up kids, and now grandchildren. And in my working life I'm the Operations Manager of national charity.
My relationship with food has always been pretty rubbish. When I was eight years old, I was taken to the dietician and put on a diet, and I can still remember that horrible piece of paper, and the fact that one of the keys on the typewriter didn't type properly. And instructions to my mother about what I could and could not eat.
Then my weight was not too bad, in my early 20s. I had a very active job, I was on my feet all day and then I had a very active bunch of young children. But over the years, my eating got worse and worse, really, particularly in response to kind of traumatic like life events.
And I was faced with finding a plan and knowing that I had to do something, when my brother, who was younger than me, died of the complications of diabetes. And I thought, I don't want this to happen to me, I must do something.
So, having done every diet known to man, for about a fortnight and then got bored of it and not really lost as much weight as everybody else, and sat through those slimming classes full of women who sit, talking about how you can make a delicious cheesecake out of Miller Lite yoghurts, and I'm sorry that stuff just was not for me.
Anyway, I found a way of eating that really suited me, and I lost lots of weight. I lost four stone and I just felt invincible.
And then my dear mum in law died, and life just fell apart. We drove very late at night home from the hospital having said our goodbyes. And the only place where we could get any food was a chip shop. And I stopped eating healthfully, and I just ate whatever I wanted, because what was the point. It didn't really make any difference whether I ate healthily, or I didn't eat healthily, because she was gone, and I had loved her very much. So that was the start of pretty much putting most of the four stone that I lost back on. And that was three years before I found your podcasts.
So, I was listening to your podcasts, and what you were saying made so much sense because I knew that the answer for me was not specifically diet. It was to sort out my relationship with food, because it was really, really dreadful. And I didn't like myself. I didn't like my relationship with food. I relied on it to numb out all my emotions. And I had some really weird thoughts, you know, ‘food didn't judge me’. ‘It was my friend’. And I had some really bad behaviours around food. So, it was no wonder that I had gained so much weight.
I think it's quite hard to explain to people what it's like doing the programme. What’s been the difference between doing this programme and other programmes that you've done
The mastermind program addresses the root issue, which is not really food. It was how I felt about food, how I used food my thoughts about food, using food to numb out negative emotions.
And I was thinking that I was not really a very emotional person at all, which was completely not true.
And I agree, it, it's very hard to describe it in a funny way, it's probably the hardest work I've ever done in my life. But it was hard work, and there were times when I felt I wasn't getting anywhere at all.
And I would ask you but when am I going to lose the weight. And you would go, ‘be curious, it's about the journey’. And it wasn't what I wanted to hear. I wanted to hear, ‘do this and the weight will come off’, because other people were losing the weight and I wasn't.
But then it was happening, because everything else got put into place, and I learned how to manage my emotions. I learned to accept that there will be positive and negative ones, all through life. I learned how to sit with discomfort. I learned how to manage cravings for things that I had decided I didn't want to eat anymore. So, it's completely different to anything that I've ever done before. Because they ‘diets’ have always focused on the food, not the behaviours or the thoughts, or the emotions around food, and the rest of life.
So, it took a while. And there were a number of issues, I guess, having been since eight years old, there's going to be.
But I'm in such a good and positive place now where the weight is coming off without it feeling hard. Sorry, but it just isn't that hard. I've become so much more aware of how I feel, and the things that might cause me to think that I need to eat more than I do.
So, I didn't sleep very well last night, I was away from home. So, I was very grumpy, and by lunchtime. I asked why emotional brain just wants me to eat all manner of things that are not on my food plan, and I thought, this is because you're tired, and there are better ways of solving being tired than eating.
And prior to doing this I would have had no clue that it was as simple as that. Just understanding something about my mental state and my, how my body was feeling so I didn't need anything that wasn't on my food plan. I had a lovely healthy salad and a cup of coffee, and it was all fine. That would have never happened before. This programme is designed to get to your root issues.
What's something that you're proud of achieving, or learning, or overcoming?
All of it. Sticking with it because it was hard. And there were times when I just wanted to put two fingers up and go away and buy a loaf of bread or six donuts or something, but doing the work week after week, rocking up to the class and listening to everybody and, you learn a lot from everyone else as well.
And I learned how much I disliked myself for having such a rubbish relationship with food and feeling that it was in control of me, and I wasn't in control of it.
And how angry I was had been at myself, for putting the weight back on.
And then, it's not easy to face up to those things or, or at least I didn't find it was easy to face up to them and to learn that I'm actually quite an emotional person who goes up and down many times in a day, let alone a week sort of thing.
Whereas before I thought I was just this quite passive personality you just kind of sail through life and the only reason that happened was because I numbed all the negative stuff out with food. In fact, I probably numbed some of the positive stuff out with food as well because, as far as I was concerned, the way I used to eat was that ‘anything was an excuse to eat’.
So, it was completely different to anything that I've ever done before.
Is there anything else that you would like share as a part of your journey, as a part of the programme or just for anyone considering it?
This has been one of the hardest things I've done in life, and also the best. I'm not somebody who easily spends money on myself, so had a huge mental tussle to sign up to the mastermind programme.
And if there are women who are listening to this and thinking, Is it right for me? I would say, do whatever you've got to do. Sell something, you know, sell your husband! Whatever you need to do, but get on the mastermind programme, because it's life changing. I just wish I had done it years ago.
Because my life would have been so different.
I can't tell you the difference that my whole family has noticed. And I don’t go around going, ‘hey, I'm on this programme’, because I've gained and lost weight so many times, that people just get a bit sick of it, so I haven't really said anything.
The only person who knew that I was doing it was my husband because he saw the money go out of the bank. And he encouraged me to do it.
But people are noticing how different I am in a good way, and in a positive way. It’s not about them noticing that I lost weight, which I kind of don't really need to hear anymore, because I'm doing it for me. I'm not doing it for other people to mention it. I don't need that validation I'm, I'm doing it for me to be healthy. And that's happening.
And it's not hard work. I'm sorry, it just isn't any more. This is how I want to eat.
So, if you are listening, just do it!
"I've lost nearly four and a half stone. But somehow, even more important than that is that I have this collection of amazing tools for my life that I have learnt to be able to apply in lots of different situations. I use them at work. I use them in my relationship with my husband. I use them in my relationship with my grown-up children."
"I am pleased about sustained weight loss, of course. But more importantly, my beliefs have shifted that I can manage my emotional eating. I’m not doing it every day, but I can truly see a future where I am at peace with myself and have created a healthy eating programme that I look forward to."