Weight loss: Mum-of-two lost 4.5st eating ‘more than she used to’- ‘not restricted at all’

Rapid weight loss 'becoming much more accepted' says Mosley

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Carol Tinker has struggled with her weight for over 40 years and after beating cancer, she dropped an incredible 4.5 stone and eats more than she used to. The mum-of-two and tried over thirty different diets along her weight loss journey and has now ditched calorie counting for good. But how did she do it?

Having got caught in the fad diet vicious circle and regaining all the weight that she had lost by cutting out certain food groups, Carol admitted: “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.”

She added: “I always felt ill on a diet. I never felt healthy and my brain didn’t work as well.”

In 2019 and a size 16, Carol was diagnosed with breast cancer that had spread to one of her lymph nodes.

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She had to undergo gruelling rounds of chemotherapy and turned to ready meals for comfort as she felt “too unwell” to cook meals from scratch.

This, along with the side effects of the medication, saw Carol gain five-stone in just two years.

But a year later, she was given the all-clear and was introduced to NHS-backed Second Nature.

Their programmes use behavioural science to change bad eating habits into good ones, and don’t remove food groups from people’s diets.

This means dieters are allowed to eat chocolate, cream, butter, nuts and other full-fat items.

Carol said: “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!”

She admitted she had “forgotten what cooking was really like” but soon found herself making healthy meals again that she enjoyed.

Carol ditched her usual diet of cereal or toast for breakfast, a ham or cheese sandwich for lunch, and a ready meal for dinner, for freshly prepared food.

Now, she opts for foods that will sustain her throughout the day and are packed with nutrients.

She said: “My 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.

“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.

“We like the massaman curry with the avocado chocolate mousse for dessert or the bang bang shrimp, the BBQ pulled pork and the cottage pie with cauliflower mash.”

After 40 years of depriving herself of sweet treats, Carol loves the fact she can maintain a healthy weight while still satisfying her cravings.

“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,” she said.

“And if we’re out for dinner and I’d like a glass of wine, I’ll have it!”

After Christmas 2021, she was gobsmacked when she stood on the scales to ahed lost weight over the festive period.

Carol ate and drank what she wanted and didn’t weigh herself until 10 days later and now she’ll never look back.

“I don’t see it as a diet at all, I just see it as making healthy choices,’ she said of the programme.

“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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