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“I’ve stopped obsessing about food”

Diane Michelson lost 4st 5lbs in five months and has been maintaining her healthy weight for over six years. Here’s her story:

“The catalyst for my weight loss was when I joined a local dance group. I didn’t want an audience to see me squeezed into a size 22 costume. I couldn’t think of anything worse. I felt I needed to slim down dramatically in time for the first show which was just a few months away.

“The problem was I’d been on and off diets for years but I couldn’t seem to shift the weight. I tried everything – the cabbage soup diet, Atkins, you name it. I’d lose a few pounds and then put them all back on again. I was stuck.

“Plus, I had the perfect excuse to overeat because I’d started up a little baking business from home after having my two children. I took great pride in creating beautiful cakes – which naturally, I had to taste! What’s more, I was always baking fattening things for the family to enjoy. It was later I realised this was classic ‘feeder’ behaviour. In other words, my way of showing love and affection.
In order to lose weight I had to address the way I thought about food, life – everything! Thankfully, a friend who’d lost a lot of weight and kept it off, recommended a weight-loss programme with unique group work. It was the breakthrough I needed.

“Six years on and I’m still slim, happy and healthy. How did I do it? It was all about changing the way I coped with everyday challenges. My group helped me see that historically I’d been a people pleaser, wanting everyone around me to be happy and I hated conflict. When I failed to achieve that, the stress would lead me to eat. If I hurt someone’s feelings I’d also feel really guilty and reach for a snack to numb the emotions.

“My weight-loss plan meant swapping conventional food for nutritionally-complete meal replacements. It was great because it stopped me obsessing about food. I had clear boundaries. So did I dance in public again..? Well, let’s put it this way. These days, I’m a Zumba instructor. So, what do you think?”

Read more about Diane’s weight loss story.