Reversing middle-age weight gain

Reversing middle-age weight gain and losing the weight gained over the past 7 years – Anna’s story.

Anna was 52 and had been gaining about one pound a year for the last 7-8 years. She could see that if this continued her health and wellbeing would be affected as she got older and this was starting to worry her. Shopping for clothes was no longer fun.

Full-time work meant that Anna arrived home at 5.30pm and she would snack on crackers, olives or anything to hand whilst she and her husband cooked together and talked about their day. This, and then eating together, were her favourite times of day and she did not want to spoil this by having to follow a different diet from her husband. Besides, she was tired when she got in and cooking one meal was quite enough.

Anna was keen to halt the weight gain and in addition wanted to lose half a stone to get back to feeling more comfortable in herself.

The work we did

Step 1: Knowing what to change

Using the Unhelpful Eating Habits Checklist Anna identified her unhelpful habits:

  • Portion sizes too big (just her evening meals)
  • Picking at food while cooking evening meal

Step 2:  Increasing motivation

  • Identifying her favourite foods to use for snacks came as a pleasant surprise to Anna as she had previously associated losing weight with having to eat low calorie foods
  • Using the weight chart made it easy for Anna to monitor her progress week by

Step 3: Stopping snacking whilst cooking

Using the Appetite Pendulum Anna was able to see that by the time she arrived home from work she was usually ravenous (minus 5 on the Appetite Pendulum). In the hour it took to get dinner ready, she would pick at food whilst cooking and chatting often without realising it.

Using the Appetite Pendulum also showed that although she had a healthy lunch at a regular time of 12.30pm, she was definitely hungry  (minus 3 ) by mid-afternoon. Her lunch wasn’t enough to keep her going until her evening meal.  But because of wanting to lose weight, Anna felt she shouldn’t snack during the afternoon to avoid extra calories.

Anna needed to be less hungry by the time she got home, so that she could prepare the meal without picking at food, and then really enjoy dinner with her husband at their usual time of 6.30pm.

The first change we agreed was that she would take a small snack to work of something she loved and eat this around 4pm. Anna chose to take a small pack of nuts or a piece of cheese with celery or a piece of bread and honey. She varied the snack depending on what she had available.  Then, she was to focus on cooking without picking at food and wait to eat until dinner was ready.

The second change resulted from the first. Anna discovered that the afternoon snack meant that not feeling ravenous meant that she could move dinner time back to 7pm which suited her and her husband.

Step 4: Reducing size of evening meal

Finally, Anna changed her usual dinner plate for a smaller one and found this made it much easier to serve herself a smaller sized dinner. To her surprise, this made it easy to adjust her meal size. 

The outcome

Anna lost 9 pounds over the course of two months and has kept it off since

In Anna’s own words:

“I knew this was the right approach for me because Helen said, ‘you carry on eating what you like to eat and you don’t have to change your routine or what you eat’.

I had been trying for years to lose the extra pounds that kept creeping on and never managed to shift them. With Appetite Retraining something just clicked. With just a couple of easy changes to my daily eating pattern, I hit my target on schedule, having lost a pound a week for several months. And even over Christmas, I didn’t put anything back on. I feel in control of my eating and my weight, which feels wonderful. I feel fitter and ten years younger. Now dressing up is fun again and I have a new wardrobe.

It was surprisingly easy.  The key for me was to have a snack mid-afternoon so it was easy not to eat too much at dinner.  The weight chart helped and I didn’t feel deprived of anything and getting more in touch with how hungry I am using the Appetite Pendulum means I feel more in control.

You really do enjoy what you eat.  You can enjoy nice food but not feel you have too much.

After dinner, unlike before working with Helen, I don’t now look for anything else to eat.”