Most women will try all manner of diets at some point in their lives but for one Highland businesswoman, not only did she find one that actually works, but she also found herself a new rewarding career!
Tore based Lighter Life weight-management counsellor Mary McLean started the LighterLife programme in December 2005 and by the middle of the following year she had dropped five dress sizes. The programme had a huge impact on Mary’slife. She says: ‘It changed how I felt about myself, I felt much happier and I felt I had so many more options available to me and that’s when I decided to become a LighterLife counsellor. My husband started noticing I was easier to live with too!
“Ultimately I wanted to help other people, like me, who wanted to lose weight. I know how fortunate I now am to be able to enjoy the flexibility of running my own business.
LighterLife is a nutritionally balanced, very low calorie diet programme for men and women who use meal replacement food packs to help obtain their desired weight. Once their target weight has been reached, they are moved on to the Phase One Management part of the programme. The management phase supports participants to introduce recommended food back into their daily diet supported by weekly counselling sessions.
Crucially, the programme also uses Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Transactional Analysis (TA) techniques to explore the person’s relationship with food and the reasons why they over eat.
Mary runs weekly meetings from her office near Tore where the week’s food packs are distributed and members take part in CBT and TA group sessions.
Mary explained that having gone through the programme herself she understands that a person’s background can play an important role in the relationship they later develop with food.
Having grown up on a farm and graduating as a home economist, Mary said she had always had an interest in food and that was likely the root of her later troubles.
“Messages are played to us throughout our childhood about having to clear our plates or not getting any pudding until we have finished our main course or eaten up all the veg. And woe betide if you wasted food -think of all the starving children in the world!
“Over the years my weight had always come and gone although there were more ups than downs! I was a serial dieter. I had tried everything, the normal ones and the wacky ones.”
But after reading the experiences of women who had changed their eating habits with LighterLife, Mary decided to give it a try.
“This felt completely different to me. I was seeing results quicker but I was better able to understand what I was doing and why I was overeating. It gave me the confidence to know I could manage my weight. It still fluctuates from time to time but now only by a few pounds not stones.”
In terms of the weight loss element, the programme works by the process of ketosis. The food packs provide the correct amount of nutrients the body needs to function rather than providing energy which the body instead draws from its fat stores. And because the right amount of nutrients are provided the body doesn’t suffer from the hunger pangs so often associated with dieting, enabling participants to maintain a long term life change.
As with her own experiences, it is not only the weight loss that continues to inspire Mary, but the change in her client’s attitude about themselves and their outlook on life.
“The best bit is seeing the changes in people, not just physically but mentally and how quickly that happens. People develop a more ‘can do’ attitude as they let go of their weight, their options widen and their horizons are broadened. People also become more assertive and confident in speaking up for themselves rather than just trying to please others.”
Mary’s LighterLife sessions are available to men and women in single sex groups with each session lasting around 1 1/2 hours. Meetings are held weekly and a free Initial Consultation can be arranged by contacting Mary on Tel: 01862 850379 or mary…@lighterlifecounsellor.com or check out LighterLife at www.lighterlife.com