Tuesday, 19 February 2013

4 Stone in 4 Months

So the other day I met with a school mum friend who has lost an almighty 4 stone in 4 months. She has done this by following the Lighter Life diet. Now I know another friend who has also followed this diet and lost, I think, 5 stone but regained all and and a bit extra. She's a bit lighter now but no where near the dramatic weight loss she achieved in a very short period of time.  Some celebrities have also followed this plan - its one those diets that you immediately think "yeah that's the one where they lose loads of weight- for it all to go back on and more" In essence another get slim quick scheme with a hefty price tag. 

I must say I have always sneered at these types of diet.  To me they are just screaming the obvious like  when my other friend said, in all seriousness, "they take a blood test to see what you are intolerant to and it came back - cakes, biscuits, crisps, sugar etc" You don't say. What all the things that make everyone fat irrespective of whether or not they've had a blood test? Mmmm rocket science that one.  Us women eh. If there was a  magic pill we'd take it - Lighter Life it seems is the next best thing - oh that and surgery.

But having said all this, I didn't sneer at this lady.  She has 3 children 11, 8 and 5 - the youngest has cerebral palsy so no easy set up by any stretch of the imagination. It has been proven that lack of sleep has a major impact on weight loss - her youngest child's sleeping pattern is irregular to say the least and on a good night my friend will get 6 hours uninterrupted sleep.  I am staggered by the energy of this woman be it large or small.  She was an active member of the PTA, has campaigned tireless against something she feels very passionate about, is part of a community group and the list does go on.  An all round good egg.  Who would be grudge and sneer at someone that, not surprisingly, has neglected to take care of herself? Certainly not me.  If this type of diet gives her some contentment, some happiness in the way she looks, some confidence who am I to say what a load of old bollocks this diet is? So with an open mind I asked her some questions. Read in detail about her diet and our interview here.

I have to say I like her in both pics - happy mother of  3/sassy mother of 3 - what do you think?

Another 'fat' pic supplied as I said she looked nice in the green dress!  
I would have to say she wasn't obese in the first place. Although technically, by NHS standards, she was. Or maybe she was by anyones standard - what do you think? Have we all just moved the goal posts on what is fat and what isn't? She is happy to hear all comments. In any event she weighed 14 stone 8lbs in the green dress and 10 stone 8lbs in the sassy outfit.

She looked on the larger side but, personally, I wouldn't have thought crikey luv you've let yourself go.  Although I do judge a lot of things (see almost all blog posts - and everyone does it - don't care what you say) I don't automatically look at someone obese or an alcoholic and think greedy/drunkard! You don't know what peoples circumstances are. You don't know what has made them unhappy to resort to certain vices. 

She says many of her friends and family have said she looks 'gaut'. I think that's quite harsh when you look at the definition of 'gaut':-

1. extremely thin and bony; haggard and drawn, as from great hunger, weariness, or torture; emaciated.
2. bleak, desolate, or grim, as places or things: a gaunt, windswept landscape.

Not exactly a compliment then. I have a standard line I use when someone has lost a lot of weight "you've lost half your face, where's it gone?!" I think that's far more complimentary than saying someone looks gaunt. Also if you've had 6/9 months of seeing someone lose weight over a longer period of time then the change isn't so obvious. Maybe if the weight loss is sudden people find it harder to adjust to a big change in someones appearance - hence the 'gaut' comments.

I do think my friend looks better. Yes, her face is thinner and yes possibly she looks a tad older. She says her husband can't get enough of her which interestingly has annoyed her somewhat. Clearly, he didn't prefer her as she was. Some would argue and why should he? Do you have a duty to try and maintain an element of your former self?  Her children have also remarked she looks nicer and don't seem to mind that she is eating separate foods from them.  I did ask what she missed about being fat and she, surprisingly said, being naked. Now that she is thinner she doesn't like how she looks naked. Its like the skin is empty. 

Having taken all this on board I, personally, would rather be overweight then lose 4 stone in 4 months. I don't say that flippantly or because I'm envious as bizarrely I'm not.  I wouldn't want to see a counsellor about my thoughts on eating etc. I fear it would just make it more of an issue than it needs to be.  One of the reasons I vowed never to re-join any slimming club was that I did not want my children to see me being obsessed with what I weigh, counting points, counting syns, having 'good' days, 'bad' days. I want them to have a normal attitude towards food - whatever that may be. 

I also don't believe eating 1,000 calories a day is realistic (although every concern has a good answer on the Lighter Life plan) or that you won't start gaining as soon as you start eating more even if it is introduced slowly. The messing around with your metabolism - I'm sure it can't be good. However,  I don't believe anyone in the western world will ever experience starvation mode. The body can cope amazingly well with very little.

I don't like having to eat separately from friends and family - this lady came out with us on a Xmas night out and sat and drunk some water and coffee. I don't like the cost of the 'let us give you 1,000 calories and we'll take £50 a week off you'. I would rather just eat 1,000 calories and not give someone £50.00.

I am determined to lose weight in my own tortise way - it may not be radical but I think I am getting there. I am trying to shake off all the negativity I have endured about weight throughout my life - people who transfer their own weight issues onto you  or their own negativity. It is hard sometimes not to become a self fulfilling prophesy. At times, we all feel desperate with our weight and maybe that is why this diet is appealing to many.

Finally, my friend sent me some statistics from the lighterlife website. Now I don't know how you would interpret this but if you lose 20% of your body weight (well lets face if you're paying £50 per week you'd want to be) that their own statistics show you only have 25% chance of having kept it all off 3 years later.  Now if you gave me those odds for, say, giving birth naturally I think its fair to say I'd have a c-section (which I did - 3 actually!).

I really hope that my friend is one of those 25% as she does deserve it. It is impressive and slightly tempting to think you could lose 4 stone in as many months but its not for me.  This tortoise is going to carry on until the race end is in sight!

What do you think? We'd love to hear your comments. 


  1. The thing is, you no longer need to lose 4 stone so, having already lost a couple of stone and maybe having a couple more to go, you're halfway there. You already feel better about yourself, look better, feel healthier, etc. These slimming clubs are for women who are desperate. I don't blame them but maybe you should write the 1970s diet book to help them keep it off afterwards.

    1. Thing is I wouldn't have said she needed to either - if I lose 3 stone i would be 10 stone - normal weight (at the top end mind). Yes I do feel better than I was at 16 stone 7 that's for sure but I am feeling a bit desperate these days x

  2. I've known 4 people do Lighter Life. Three put everything back on and one has managed to keep the majority of the weight off for over two years now.

    I've lost a stone using My Fitness Pal and half a stone to go. I'd love it to happen quickly as trying to lose weight is quite depressing but I know good things come to those who wait!

    1. Are you the same Mrs M from the forum The Street? If so small "virtual" world

    2. So you two know each other?! Agree its great to lose it really quickly but the figures and real life stories say it points to the weight all going back on so then what's the point in losing it quickly x

  3. Great blog and interesting interview. I really hope your friend is one of the 25% and doesn't have to go through it all again. It does sound like an extreme way to lose weight and one which only desperate people would turn to. Personally I think losing weight is common sense and you shouldn't have to spend shed loads of cash on it. I think the counselling offered is a good idea tho, as it must help to rid feelings of desperation and reduce emotional eating.

    1. yes it is an illness for a lot of people and maybe the food is just a red herring for more deeper rooted emotions. x

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