Henry’s results with Counterweight-Plus
Tell us a bit about yourself
I am a 63yr old, retired surgeon living with my wife Jill in Cornwall. I like to keep physically active and used to compete in triathlons. My wife and I enjoy our daily yoga and meditation. We also enjoy walking, covering between 5 to 12 miles every day. I like to play Bridge 2-3 times a week which has been online this past year. Every year, from around mid April, I like to get out on my boat at least once a week and take part in some racing. My other passion is cooking. We grow some of our own produce and I have been on many cooking courses.
What led you to start the programme?
I have struggled with my weight since I was 20yrs old. I have tried everything I could think of including various crank diets. I found them boring and unbalanced with a focus on their products. Certainly not holistic enough for what I was looking for, e.g., more of a focus on activity and dealing with challenges I had on sticking with the diet. I gained more weight during retirement and I felt destined that I was going to become fatter and fatter. I had given up on the possibility of losing weight and was browsing the Internet one day and saw the Counterweight website. I sent off an enquiry, and the rest is history.
How did you find the programme?
I found it useful having the early discussions with my dietitian, Anna. All discussions were useful. Anna knew what she was talking about. We discussed what success would look like at different milestones, it all seemed to make sense. I did worry this was yet another thing that would not get me anywhere i.e. I wouldn’t be able to do it. My wallet was the only thing that ended up lighter with attempts with other programmes.
My Total Diet Replacement (TDR) started at the beginning of the 1st lockdown, where the whole world had a change of pace. There was nobody about! Doing a radical diet without solid food fitted into what was happening in the world generally. I look at it now as a charmed time as there were no social pressures. I felt lucky to have this time, as if it had been my ‘normal’ life, then I think it would have been much harder to stick to the TDR. However, I didn't lapse – I didn't want to let the ‘genie out of the lamp’!
What are some of the main positives you’ve experienced?
Weight loss, but not only that, sustained weight loss. Throughout the programme, the support has been a key part to my success. My wife Jill was brilliant, she timed her meals when I was out of the house, or doing something else, and she even lost some weight herself. The dietitian support was different to the support from my wife. Anna has been alongside others doing the same and could relate to what I was going through. This support was very professional. Anna knew what could and could not happen, such as what weight loss I could achieve, or when I might find it more challenging following the TDR.
Before I started, I was worried hunger would stop me sleeping which I had experienced on other calorie restrictions. Getting into a routine of when to take the shakes helped me deal with hunger. If I could get all 4 sachets and lots of fluids in, I would not be hungry when I went to bed.
It is not just the scales that motivated me, I woke up feeling more energised in the morning when I was calorie restricted and I have been able to keep active, this would have been harder if I had to reduce it.
What has the programme taught you?
I was motivated with the early weight loss after week 1, I kept seeing 4lbs coming off every week. My weight loss was not maintained on other programmes. On Counterweight-Plus I knew I could lose the weight and that I can maintain this weight loss. I had hoped during the earlier part of the programme I could continue to lose weight and get down to an even lower figure, it did not happen. I regained some weight quite quickly and have worked hard over the last few months to maintain it. I lost around 30kg and I am now maintaining around 18-20kg of weight loss. I haven't fully cracked the hang of eating sensibly yet, I can sometimes do it, whether I am using TDR or food. TDR helps you not to think about anything, apart from times you will take shakes/soups. When I am not on TDR, I need to prepare everything in advance such as salad veg and cooked chicken, ready to go. I think I will in time get there, because I do develop more strategies and small changes can be really helpful.
How did you find the transition onto food?
I wasn’t ready or prepared for the Food Reintroduction (FR) stage of the programme. It was not anyone's fault, I was given information to support me at this stage, however at the end of TDR, when lockdown ended, everything came back to normal. I had promised myself at the end of 3 months I could eat and drink what I liked. The parties and socialising really picked up after lockdown. With the ongoing support, I have learnt to maintain my weight, but it has not been easy. I find fasting using the meal replacements on some days and eating nutritious food on other days, works for me. However, if I drink alcohol, it leads to me eating more and doing less activity which impacts on my weight. If I don’t take alcohol, my weight stays the same. This weight loss programme is an ongoing thing.
What would you say to someone who is considering starting the programme?
Just do it. You do a diet to lose weight, if you do this diet, you will lose weight. On a day-to-day basis it is hard, but getting to the end of the day, you are fine. It is radically different from other food manipulation diets, dietary restriction where you eat food, more of the same that has failed in the past. The break from food is needed to break habits. The learning is you can have a meal and still feel hungry, walk away, use distraction, and the hunger will be gone.