I felt pretty desperate to be honest. Food had control of me and my eating patterns had totally affected my sense of self worth. I felt really quite low. I felt like I had tried everything and I was almost getting to the stage where I was thinking maybe I am just that obese person and there isn’t another way for me - that there isn’t another path and maybe that’s just my lot in life.
I thought I’d tried everything and I could recognise that I was doing it wrong but I had absolutely no idea how to start changing that. And because I could recognise I was doing it wrong I felt such guilt. I felt such a failure for not being able to sort the problem out, and that was starting to impact everything. I didn’t like myself because I knew I should be able to sort the problem, and I couldn’t sort the problem whatever I seemed to try and do. And my only solution when I felt like that was to lean on food as a crutch.
I’d almost got to a point where I was thinking: everyone has a vice some people are alcoholics, some people are gamblers, some people are drug users. Maybe I am powerless and maybe this is my lot in life and maybe I should just quietly retreat into the background as the invisible fat person. And it was starting to really affect me. I don’t think I really appreciated just how much I was withdrawing from things because I didn’t like me. I felt a failure so I didn’t feel like I had anything to offer anybody else.
I didn’t know who to turn to and it was either give you a go or start investigating gastric band surgery because I’d just got to the stage where I thought that something like surgery might be the only solution because I’m not capable of sorting this on my own. So yes I’m very glad I spoke to you.
What’s life like now having done the program?
I feel emotionally so much freer. Food doesn’t control me. I don’t feel like my sense of self worth comes from what I’m eating or what I’m not eating. I don’t feel like I’m only a good person if I’ve had a good day and equally I don’t feel ashamed if I’ve eaten something unhealthy.
For the first time in years I feel positive around food. I can enjoy it, I can appreciate it. I don’t have to run scared of it because it doesn’t own me. I don’t feel like I’m counting down the minutes until I can next have a biscuit. I don’t feel on a rollercoaster with it anymore.
What I wanted to get out of the program has changed as well. Perhaps when I first started out if you’d asked me my target weight I would have said I wanted to be 2 or 3 stone lighter but actually if I was sat here now 2 or 3 stone lighter I know that in a month’s time from now the weight would have gone back on and I would be a stone heavier than when I started. So I’m over the moon because I know that the weight that I have lost won’t go back on again. I honestly feel for the first time that something has clicked. I know it sounds like a cliche to say a lifestyle change but that’s what it feels like. I can walk the talk, I know what I’m doing and I have a strategy. I get why the diets didn’t work, I get why the things I was telling myself in my head were causing the problem, and I get how I fix it.
I know that it’s still a journey and I don’t care because I’m now on the journey in the right direction. Before I felt like I was on a spiral downwards and now the spiral has turned and I’m on my way up. More importantly I understand what’s going on so I if that spiral started to turn the wrong way I know I can turn it back again. And that’s what I lacked with every diet before was it was all fine in those first initial weeks when you were able to stick with it but the second you couldn’t stick with it (and you couldn’t stick with it because it was unrealistic) and the pounds started going back on I had no clue how to reverse that or how to sort it out and that’s because I was tackling it all the wrong way. I wasn’t looking at the emotional side at all - the reasons why I ate, the voice in my head. I wasn’t tackling any of that and that’s what has made the real difference. I don’t have to listen to that devil on my shoulder anymore and the more I’ve realised that, the quieter that devil on my shoulder is getting.
It’s like someone’s switched a light on and I can see how I got stuck in such a rut and I understand why it was so difficult, why I couldn’t get out of that on my own. I don’t feel guilty that I couldn’t get out of that on my own. It’s like someone has reached down and grabbed my hand and held my hand through the process and now I get it. I know what to do and how to use the strategies and the tools that you’ve given me.
What would you tell someone thinking about doing the Rewire Your Food Brain Program?
I would say: absolutely just go for it - go for it, they will not regret it at all, even if they’ve got doubts. Sometimes you‘ve just got to jump in with both feet and either sink or swim, but to trust you when you tell them they’re going to swim because they will. I’m so glad I went for it. I really am so grateful.
It’s not a cheap program and rightly so, because it’s got a lot of investment of your time and effort into it. But when I think of all the money I’ve spent over past years; when I think of all the money I spent on gym memberships I didn’t go to, or Weight Watchers fees, or Slimming World fees, or all sorts of faddy diet products or juice detoxes, and all the rest of it. If I’d just done this years ago I’d be in such a different place.
It makes me feel quite angry in some respects that this type of thing isn’t available on the NHS. I think so many women get so stuck in a rut post-childbirth because their lives are so focused around everybody and anybody else, and their own personal health and wellbeing is so low down on the agenda. And it just builds and builds and builds.
The way I see it is if there was a problem with the car I would go and fix the car, and if the bill for the car came in at the same price as this program I’d think “well the car was really expensive to fix, but the car needed fixing”. I never thought of doing the same thing for my health, but I feel like I’ve given my emotional and physical health the best MOT that I could have possibly given it, and in that sense why on earth would that not be incredible value for money.
So for anybody thinking about it I would just say: go for it. To trust you, trust themselves even though they don’t feel like they should. It’s not a diet, it’s not a fad, it isn’t a quick fix, it isn’t the kind of ‘do the program and you’ll be your dream weight’ but trust that at the end of the program you’ll be free of the baggage that meant you stopped being your dream weight all those years ago. And it may take me a long time to get to my dream weight but to a certain extent I don’t care because it isn’t about that any more. If nothing else changes and I didn’t lose another pound but I remain free of the guilt and the feelings of self loathing then that in itself is brilliant. But I know that if I keep going on this path in a few months time I’ll be closer to being a healthy weight and not have to worry about the long term health implications that come with being obese then this will be the single best thing I could have done for myself in my adult life.
We can have it so conditioned into us not to spend money on something that’s only for you with seemingly no-one else benefitting. But then it’s not true because I’m sure my family would say I’m better, they would say I’m easier to live with, and my husband would say he’s delighted that I’ve done this program and he would probably tell me he’d happily spend three times the amount of money if he’d known it was going to have this result. I know it’s not just been for me because when I felt rubbish that was pervading everything. I just don’t feel the same sense of self loathing and low self esteem that I did 2-3 months ago.
I’m so grateful to you for how you’ve set this up because it feels easy. And I’ve never been able to say that about anything I’ve done before. In the past it didn’t matter whether I’d lost a pound or a stone on a diet, it had felt hard yards every step of the way with whatever I’d done. But this has been completely different. I haven’t at any point in time felt like I’ve been on a diet. I haven’t felt deprived. I haven’t had to run scared of going to a coffee shop with a friend, or going out to dinner or going out with friends, whereas I would have done with anything else I’d done in the past.
I feel better. I feel better physically, I feel better emotionally, I’m sleeping better and I’ve lost weight - all of those boxes have been ticked. If you’d asked me at the start of the program about my target weight loss it probably would have been bigger than it is but who cares, that isn’t the answer. That’s where I’ve gone wrong every single time up until now. For the first time I feel like food is just a necessary part of life and it’s an enjoyable part of life, I don’t feel I’ve got hang ups about it before whereas before it was such a rollercoaster. It was such an exhausting rollercoaster I’d been on for such a long time that I was just left with the bumpy bit at the bottom and I just feel free of all that, which is really, really nice. I’m very grateful.
The way you explained it and laid it out every step of the way, it makes so much sense and I had just never thought about it in those kinds of ways. I’d been so fixated on good foods and bad foods and points and weighing things and all the rest of it.
With this I’ve lost weight but I haven’t felt like I’m dieting. I just feel like I’m eating how I should have always been eating and I had totally lost any sense or grip of what that looked like. Food is not dominating my thinking anymore. It just isn't there. It feels so liberating to be free of that internal dialogue. Everything you’ve done has enabled me to do that so it’s been so easy. I’m kicking myself that I didn’t speak to you five years ago.