How my story starts…
My weight loss story starts with how I gained the weight in the first place!
“I enjoyed eating what I wanted, when I wanted, in whatever quantity I wanted.”
I was an extremely active outdoors ‘kinda gal’ and never paid much attention to my weight because I didn’t need to. That is until tragedy struck when I was 26 and I unexpectedly lost my mum.
I must confess, wine was my crutch and I drank it almost daily for longer than I care to admit to and since her passing, over the years, I have had a difficult relationship with alcohol.
The truth is, I was oblivious to the side effects of alcohol and I thought ‘moderation’ meant not being sick before bed. Shameful I know! Add the inevitable snacking whilst in a merry, carefree brain space, then the ‘recovery’ junk food the next day — it was no wonder I had managed to pile on the pounds.
The emotional impact of my bereavement resulted in a complete lack of self-care. Sure, I managed to seem the like the happy, strong-minded professional every day in my business development role, but I was battling the gremlins of a cycle I was struggling to break.
Amy before — at wedding
Amy before — seeming happy, but battling gremlins
Throughout that period of time, I left a toxic relationship, moved 100 miles from my homeland and lived alone for two years.
Nearly a decade on, I have had a successful career in the logistics sector and I’m now a self-employed commercial consultant. I live with my amazing partner, Paul and our little dog Ted and have regular family time with Paul’s two daughters and gorgeous little grandson.
We live in the Cheshire countryside and have plenty of outdoor space to keep us busy and active — I paint quite the idyllic picture I know.
“For the past 5 years, I have struggled immensely to fully appreciate the lucky lady I am because I have been so preoccupied with… well, being fat.”
Worthy of note, my Paul has been nothing but a support to me, loving me for who I am, though, I bet if you tied him down and forced him to confess, he would eventually admit he much prefers the slimmer me.
I suspect that is as much (if not more) to do with my confidence and inner peace as it is to do with my new slinkier frame… It can’t be nice living with someone who consistently gripes about being overweight, how they look, the condition of their skin — the list goes on, then watch them drink and eat too much! It’s the subtlest form of self-harm there is.
“No photos please!”
Then there are the family adventures, no photos please, needless to say I was the one behind the camera as I couldn’t trust anyone to get the angle right.
There are plenty of pictures of just half my face (gotta hide those chins) and certainly nothing below the neck — who an earth was I kidding? ME that’s who.
How I’ve tried to lose weight in the past…
I should say, I have lost significant numbers of weight several times with the cabbage soup diet, Weight Watchers’ Pro Points, and even starving myself.
Sure, I lost weight with all of them at the time, but these quick fixes only resulted in the short term exhilaration of dropping the dress sizes, short lived compliments from everyone and short-term sustainability.
“This time is different, I am not going back, not ever.”
Using wlr changed my whole approach for life. I can safely say I will never go on a diet again but, I will continue to take responsibility for my decisions.
The push I needed…
Last year, after a 20-year battle with severe endometriosis, I submitted to having a total hysterectomy. Big decision but life changing for all the right reasons. Along with my broken reproductive system I waved goodbye to my last remaining ‘excuse’ for being fat.
The world is made up of opportunities to hide from your reality — support underwear for example (no social situation should be entertained without it), and then there is the human equivalent of ‘spanx’ — loved ones. You know you are fat, they know you are fat but we all subscribe to the tight shield of support available from those who are secretly just wanting you to get your self together and sort out your insecurities.
“It’s exhausting for our family and friends to constantly find new ways to reassure and comfort us without hurting our feelings.”
My Paul did break at one point, it was the kick up the proverbial I needed. I never looked at it from his point of view before.
His words were cutting but came from a place of pure love. I can only thank him from the bottom of my heart for loving me enough to give it to me straight…
“You know you’re overweight, it’s not my job to make you feel better about it or to pretend that you aren’t eating and drinking too much, it’s quite simple Amy, you need to eat and drink less and exercise more.”
Of course, I was in tears and even angry with him. How could he be so cruel? He knew I’d been through some challenging times; he knew I found it hard to control my weight. Then he said…
“For the whole time we have been together you have been ‘on a diet’ I have supported you; I have tried to help and make suggestions…. but you just keep doing the same things over and again.”
Ooooof he was so right. Shame on me.
“My main motivation to lose weight, was actually to reward my nearest and dearest with a happy, healthy me for the effort they had put in over the years.”
Closely followed by looking good, feeling good and prolonging my life. What I haven’t told you yet is my mum was morbidly obese. It was cited on her death certificate as a secondary cause of death. My turn to break the cycle.
Then along came wlr…
I found wlr by accident, as much as I don’t rate the Weight Watchers scheme from a long-term point of view, experience had told me that calorie counting and logging is key to success.
“I quickly signed up to wlr and it took me a week or so to make it my bible.”
What I have realised over the past 12 months is that the wlr tool has features that I didn’t even know I needed or would come to rely on from a nutritional point of view.
“Unlike the other diets I was 100% in control.”
The wlr platform is not a guide, unless you want it to be, it is a tool that you use in a way that suits you! I have to say, paying for the ½ yearly subscription made me commit to using it.
The help in the background is fantastic but, it’s not forced upon you. There is a community available if you wish to participate or you can just crack on yourself.
Invaluable to me was the food diary, in fact it was the single most important function, followed closely with the ability to create your own recipes and the system calculates the calorific content for you — did I mention I am a total foodie and the appointed family chef?
Then there is the progress tracker — I’d weigh in daily and I could see, in real time, the impact my effort was having…
Losing weight is not easy, but it is simple, when you know how. That’s not to say my journey was always simple. I found the daily fluctuations in my weight difficult to navigate emotionally, though I did reach out to the wlr team who helped me understand what was going on.
Now, when I weigh 2lb more than yesterday, despite being ‘good’, I shrug and look forward to tomorrow’s weigh in. Even Paul says now, “It’ll be back down tomorrow.”
Then there is the dreaded weight plateau. I made the worst mistake you can possibly make — I dropped my calorie intake too far below safe in order to manage it. My plateau was because I was exercising more and actually needed more calories. Once I increased my calories, the weight began to fall off again, crazy hey?
I stayed motivated because I had already made a good dent into my goal and I wasn’t settling for halfway there again. Plus, I had a debt to pay to my family to get myself in good shape.
My weight loss strategies…
Exercise is not for everyone. I personally used to prefer ‘hidden exercise’ like hiking, mountain climbing kayaking. I deliberately did not exercise to begin with.
The truth is, I knew I could hammer the treadmill and quickly lose my weight but, that wouldn’t be sustainable.
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“My battle began in the kitchen.”
When I nailed down my food and enjoying life at the same time, I then introduced the exercise, which is now a great pleasure because I am no longer trying to lose weight.
“I am sculpting my shape and people are noticing.”
My sister is obsessed with my arms of all things! I don’t like to drag fitness training out, I like it out of the way, so I never do more than half an hour of, well, anything.
But I make that half an hour count with HIIT. I combine running with uphill walking, weights, general floor exercises and I am conscious of not sitting around too long.
How my life has changed…
I am now a happy size 12 though toying with losing just a little more to be a comfortable 10–12.
“I love being able to put anything on and feeling comfortable.”
I must confess part of my journey has been during the COVID-19 pandemic so, I had to wear my fat clothes for quite a while (and still do).
I flop around in my bras and have had to put so many extra holes in my belt that it nearly wraps around me twice! I love this feeling because it reminds me how far I have come and what my weight loss represents.
Paul is so unbelievably proud of me which feels amazing but what I have realized is more important now is how proud of myself I am! I was motivated to lose my weight for my family BUT, I am keeping it off for myself.
I know that I have already inspired others around me to take action, this is something I never anticipated. What I recognize is their desperation for me to tell them the ‘secret’, so I do…
“The secret is, there is no secret!”
It’s quite simple you have to eat less and exercise more and don’t try to lose weight until you are fully committed to being painfully honest with yourself and others around you and ready to do it properly.
My beautiful mother left me too soon but, she left me with so many pearls of wisdom and she always said:
“The wrong way is always the long way in the end.”
And never a truer word was spoken.
“Quick fix diets just prolong the time it takes for you to achieve true happiness.”
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