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Carol Tinker, from Lincolnshire, explained: “I used to go on all the fad diets, the soup diet, the Atkins diet, shake diets. I’d tell my mum, she’d get the food in and we’d try to lose weight together. I’d do it for two weeks, lose 10lbs then just put it all back on again and some. I wasn’t eating properly so as soon as you stop the diet, the weight goes back on.”
Carol admitted she “always felt ill on a diet”.
After she was diagnosed with cancer, her mother’s way of coping “was to feed me and I was on steroids which didn’t help,” she said.
“Instead of cooking, I would buy ready meals all the time as I was too ill to cook. They were full of sugar and I put on five stone in just two years.”
Thankfully, Carol found the NHS-backed Second Nature, which helps dieters change bad eating habits. However, nothing is banned on the programme, so she was able to eat chocolate, butter and full-fat foods. How?
Carol shared her journey: “I was so ashamed of my weight and wasn’t convinced about it so it took me a while to sign up. But when I got my parcel in the post, it was quite exciting.
“I got scales, a watch and was put in touch with six other ladies in the Lincolnshire area. I also got the recipe book and was worried about cooking from scratch.
“There was no chance I was going to have time to do it and I thought it would be boring but I enjoyed it!
“I was so used to getting something out of the freezer and bunging it in the microwave, I forgot what cooking was really like.”
Carol’s breakfast was cereal or toast, a ham or cheese sandwich for lunch, and a ready meal for dinner.
Now, her breakfast is “oats with blueberries, full-fat Greek yoghurt and a big dollop of peanut butter with chia seeds, flax seed and collagen sprinkled on top”.
She continued: “For lunch, I could have a sweet potato wrap or a beetroot wrap with lots of salad, maybe a bit of chorizo or halloumi. Sometimes I’ll make it into a healthy pizza too.
“At dinner, I’ll make one of the Second Nature recipes from scratch. I always make more so I can put it in the freezer for the boys if I’m away.”
The dieter said: “I love cheese, I love cream and butter. A friend of mine couldn’t believe that I could eat all of those things while on Second Nature.
“And if we’re out for dinner and I’d like a glass of wine, I’ll have it!”
Carol has also started dog walking which massively helped speed up the weight loss process.
She explained: “I also implemented habit-forming exercises; I would do press-ups against the counter when making a coffee for example.
“I’m sleeping better too – I try to go to bed earlier and before, the additional weight on my joints made me uncomfortable but I’m in a lot less pain now. I’ve wiped out my life before Second Nature.”
Carol added: “Second Nature is big on changing habits. For me, it was learning to cook again. I don’t see it as a diet at all, I just see it as making healthy choices.
“I’m not restricted by anything at all. I just feel like I’m living a healthy lifestyle! I just look at my little zigzag line for the year and it’s still going down.
“I eat more than I used to. I don’t feel hungry and I’m certainly losing weight. I feel like I’m not going to put that back on and I’m just going to carry on losing!”
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