Gemma, 40, is a mum-of-one from Liverpool who works as a content creator. She managed to lose four stone after having tried everything, from hypnosis to wrapping cling film around her body. How?
Gemma explained: “I’ve been trying (and failing to lose weight my whole life). My weight had always been up and down from my early 20s up until having my son in 2010. In 2016 I had a nervous breakdown and gained around 70lbs over the course of the following three years. I now know that I used food as a coping mechanism for a lot of my stress, anxiety, depression and overwhelm.”
She continued: “I’d got to a point where I’d try absolutely anything to lose weight. I was hypnotised to try and stop overeating and I started Overeaters Anonymous realising I had a real issue with food.
“In the past, I followed ALL of the diet plans! I wrapped cling film around my belly and wore that day in day out. I went raw vegan for a couple of years. I took pills, I did juice fasts. I fasted for days on end. I joined challenges like #75Hard where I did two 45 minute workouts a day and stuck to a strict diet for 75 days.
“The problem was when the end date came I was back into old habits and making up for lost time.”
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Gemma said the turning point was when she “decided to stop drinking for good”.
“I knew that alcohol was having a negative effect on my mental health and I made terrible food choices when I was drunk and then hungover which spiralled into a cycle of shame and feeling like a failure.”
So how did she lose all that weight?
“The turning point came when I got a job working full time at Body Smart and was coached as part of my onboarding process so I could experience the coaching properly for myself. They worked with me on my psychological triggers for food in addition to tracking calories and macros and creating a tailored workout plan for me.”
The slimmer admitted she had two very definite triggers: “Checking my bank balance! I can be rubbish with money so checking my bank balance and realising I was in my overdraft would make me feel like a failure having to ask my husband for money.
“My second trigger was when plans didn’t happen in the way I intended. So if deadlines shifted or I felt like I was having to micro-manage my husband who isn’t a planner, that would stress me out and I’d be inhaling the secret stash of cheese I’d keep at the back of the fridge.
“I also uncovered a lot of bad habits like ‘needing’ to finish the food on my plate. I didn’t grow up in the most affluent of families so food was something that was taken seriously and we were always encouraged to finish all our food. Having [a coach] help me set boundaries with this and stop eating leftovers helped a lot.
“She set me journal prompts, she helped me set intentions before eating out, before food shopping and stopping at places like petrol stations which has always been overeating danger zones for me.”
Gemma admitted her life has drastically changed since losing weight and says life “is now WONDERFUL”.
She explained: “Giving up alcohol has been the very best thing I could’ve done for myself. I don’t miss it at all, I socialise as much, I’m still the first one on the dancefloor and the last one off it. Feeling all my feelings and not numbing with alcohol or food has been tough at times but I feel like I’ve got to know myself so well.
“I feel free, I feel full of energy, my sleep is glorious, my relationships are deeper, I have more patience and tolerance, I am more confident, I am just a happier person and I wish I had done this years ago.
“When I was at Overeaters Anonymous and doing the 12 step program I felt like calling myself a food addict gave me an excuse to continue that behaviour.
“It’s been much easier for me to give up alcohol because setting a rule of saying ‘I don’t drink’ is more achievable than ‘I don’t eat’. I feel freer, compared to feeling restricted, I’m no longer feeling hopeless and shameful at being labelled as a food addict.”
Gemma also said she “definitely” feels more comfortable in clothes now.
“I have kept a few pairs of jeans with the seams burned out just to remember what it was like. I constantly had sores between my legs from my thighs rubbing together and I just felt so unhealthy and horrible. My bra wires cut into my underarms and chest causing sores and infections. My skin has improved so much too, I can’t believe the difference in that.
“I feel more confident with my husband and for my 40th birthday he organised a surprise party for me and bought me a dress I adored. Years ago, when I was so helpless thinking I’d never lose weight, I had this vision of myself feeling slim and strong with long red hair and a gorgeous green dress. I looked in the mirror on my 40th birthday and cried realising that my hard work had paid off and that dream I’d held for myself all those years ago had come true.”
Gemma concluded “it was hard work” but it is “so rewarding and so worth it”.
“I wish I could go back to old Gemma and give her a taste of how good she feels in this new head and heart of hers. The weight loss just happened to be a positive side effect.”