“I felt so poorly for so long”
Before I came across the Counterweight programme, I had hit a low point. I felt so weighed down and so tired all the time, the only way I could describe it would be like wearing a weighted diving suit 24/7. I was so depressed and felt so unwell, I would literally sit in bed and cry at the thought of having to get up and make the bed and walk up the stairs because I had so little energy. I went to my GP because I knew that something was seriously wrong. He told me that I had type 2 diabetes and that my kidneys were failing. He told me that all of my organs were surrounded by fat and that if I wanted to feel better I needed to lose weight.
“I started feeling better within 2-3 weeks”
When I came across the Counterweight-Plus programme I was so excited to get started. I did the programme through NHS North Tyneside so I had a group of others doing it with me. One of the first exercises you do is thinking about the pros and cons of starting the programme and having the soups and shakes. A few of my group members were a bit nervous but I honestly couldn’t think of a single downside. The Total Diet Replacement phase was easy! The soups and shakes tasted great, I didn’t have to wash up, I didn’t have to think, I didn’t get any side effects and I didn’t feel hungry. I even managed to go away on holiday during the total diet replacement and my dietitian Tracey worked with me to create a plan so that I could enjoy my holiday and still stay on track, everything was easy to manage. The weight started coming off so quickly, it was honestly amazing. It made such a difference to how I was feeling and it was so motivating knowing that the programme was working.
“I finally learnt how to be kind to myself”
I have never had trouble with losing weight, I’ve tried a number of other diets that all worked to a certain extent but then the weight always came back. I always used to dread weighing myself because I was scared that the number would have gone up. I would put it off and put it off so that I didn’t have to face the truth, but I was only lying to myself.
The Counterweight-Plus programme taught me how to break this cycle and manage my weight using a traffic light system. I try to stay within 2kg of my goal weight which is the green zone. If I gain more than 2kg it takes me into the amber zone and if I gain more than 4kg it takes me into the red zone. Each colour has a clear plan laid out for you so that you know what to do to get back on track. For example, my weight has crept up a few kilos recently so I’ve decided to go back on the soups and shakes for 2 weeks to reset.
Before Counterweight-Plus I would have felt like I had failed when I regained a bit of weight and I would have ignored it until I was right back to where I started. I’ve learnt to be kind to myself and that a bit of weight regain isn’t the end of the world, it’s about letting go of guilt and getting back on the horse. I no longer dread weighing myself on a Monday because I know that no matter what the number is, I have a plan in place and I feel in control.
“I’m back to wanting to do things again!”
The whole reason I started the programme was to feel better, and I certainly do! Before the programme, the thought of walking around the house was enough to bring me to tears but now I’m walking 12 miles along the beach with my two dogs and I’ve even been able to go swimming and to the gym (pre-pandemic). Achieving type 2 diabetes remission was just the cherry on top, I’ve come off all my diabetes medication and my kidney function has returned to normal. Counterweight-Plus saved me from a dark time in my life, I honestly can’t fault the programme.
This is just the beginning for me. For the first time ever I feel confident in my ability to maintain my weight loss long term. My dietitian Tracey has given me the knowledge and strategies I need to manage on my own and it is such a relief to know that I don’t have to go back to the way I was before.
To anyone considering starting the programme, instead of thinking about the reasons why it might be hard, focus on the positives. Be honest with yourself and look at everything that you have to gain, you won’t regret it!