Month: November 2015

Twice The Woman – Half The Size! (PART 5)

Not read the previous parts to Juliet from Hull Weight Loss Series?

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

On with todays FINAL PART 5!

weight loss july

July 5th 2014 was when this journey began. What an incredible 12 months it had been, I was fitter and lighter than I ever remember being as an adult. 1 year to the day I was weighing in exactly 12 stone lighter and I couldn’t have been more proud of myself for what I had achieved. But I wasn’t done yet, I still had weight and fitness goals to achieve.

I began looking at the data I had collected over the 12 months to see what changes had happened to my body composition over that time. When trying to lose ‘weight’ what I actually want to be doing is losing fat and maintain muscle. My weight loss had been reasonably consistent averaging 1 stone per month but when I broke down my body composition from weight loss before training and weight loss after training the results were quite staggering.



weight loss and fat loss comparison

As shown in the graph below, my fat mass continues to drop at a good rate but since beginning training in October my muscle mass has reduced at a much slower rate. There are peaks and troughs in the figures due to hydration levels at the time of weigh in but generally the trend over the months is clear. Maintaining muscle mass helps to maintain weight loss as muscle burns more calories than fat. Also my body shape is greatly improved.

weight loss and fat loss graph


This month I also took a trip back to my home town of Kings Lynn to see friends and family. I bumped into a few people that I hadn’t actually seen since I began losing weight. It was surreal that people did not even recognise me and there were a few double takes and comments like ‘that’s not Juliet… that’s half of Juliet!’ Everyone was very complimentary of what I had achieved so far and it felt great.



weight loss aug


On the 1st August and I managed to set myself a new personal best for my 5k row coming in at 19minutes and 9 seconds getting ever closer to my sub 19 minute target!

One of my early goals was to fit into a pair of designer jeans that I had purchased back in October 2014 that worked out as a UK size 12/14. My aim was to fit into these jeans for my trip to America at the end of August. I tried on the jeans at the start of the month and they fitted perfectly! In fact a little too well because by the time it came to flying out to America I couldn’t wear them as the waist was a little too large!

I had begun to find my weight loss was slowing right down as I got closer to my goal weight and it was becoming harder to stay focused as I knew I was going to America and would put on weight so it was tempting to start the holiday early but that would just mean more weight to lose when I returned. So I decided to mix things up a little. Rather than some of my usual gym cardio sessions I would try the classes at the gym. I already regularly did a Zumba class each week so I would work other classes in. It was fun trying the different classes and great to mix things up a little. I wanted my weight to be 13 stone something by the time I flew out to America and I was pleased when my last weigh in of August put me at 13 stone 13lb! It was great to reach another milestone; every pound I lost was a new lowest weight.

I wouldn’t have dared dream of weighing less than 14 stone a year before this day.



weight loss sept 2015


When I got home from America on Friday 11th September I stepped on the scales straight away …. 15st 7lb!! That was a gain of 22lb!

I knew I had eaten 3 times my normal calorie intake of around 1500 a day every day whilst I was away but I had continued to exercise and walked miles.

The maths didn’t add up, in order to gain 22lb of fat I would have needed to overeat by around 77,000 calories – that’s 7,700 a day whilst I was away. Even at a conservative estimate of burning 2,500 calories a day BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) and exercise I would have needed to consume 10,000 calories a day in order to gain that amount of fat! John emailed me back and explained not to panic…..!

john september holiday weight gain email

A Question……..

Ever seen the film sliding doors where it plays out the 2 life scenarios based on her catching the train and not catching the train? The moment I stepped on the scales it was a BATTLE between the old me and the new me!

The old me would have seen a 22lb gain and I would

  • Be angry with myself for undoing 2 months hard work in 10 days.
  • Decide I might as well enjoy the weekend too as I’d blown it anyway and diets only start on Mondays anyway!
  • Plan something drastic to lose the lbs as quickly as possible to get back to where I was before. This would be very low calorie, skipping meals and exercising for longer periods of time (beginning Monday).
  • Resent that I couldn’t go away on holiday for 10 days and enjoy myself without gaining a stone and a half for no real good reason!

The new me saw the 22lb gain and I would:

  • Trust in the science that there was no way that it was a gain of fat and the water weight would drop off quickly.
  • Appreciate my holiday and enjoyed the relaxed eating but was keen to get back to my normal way of eating.
  • Note the effects the high fat and sugar foods had on my body, bloating, greasy skin, lack of energy and headaches had returned and use it as another reason to get back to my normal eating.
  • Not have to plan an extreme diet to drop the weight as just going back to my usual eating would be enough for the lbs to drop, initially at least.
  • Decide I wanted a plate of veggies for my evening meal with a bit of lean protein – Oh how I’d missed nice vegetables.

old me vs new me

Saturday 12th September –

The old me wouldn’t have weighed in because the holiday was continuing for the whole weekend. I would have weighed in on Monday and drawn a line then be ready to start some extreme diet. I would have continued to eat the types of foods I ate whilst I was on holiday the ones that should be enjoyed once in a while and not in large quantities every day!

The new me weighed in – 7lbs lighter already! Trusting in the science I knew I had eaten around 4500 calories a day and my Fitbit (exercise tracker) told me I had burnt around 2750 calories a day. Doing the maths over the 10 days that calculates to be a surplus calorie intake of 17,500 over the holiday which is a 5lb weight gain of fat. I knew from the science there was more water weight to drop off so I would weigh in each day and watch it drop off! As for my diet it was back to my usual routine, nothing drastic just the foods I was eating before I went away. 

Sunday 13th September –

Old me is still eating anything I fancy because they will all be banned from Monday when I start the diet to lose the lbs I gained. I’d be feeling bad about myself because the amount and type of food that I am eating but despite this I would continue to eat those foods as if it’s the last time I will ever eat them.

New me weighed in again intrigued by how quickly the water weight would drop off, 14st 10lb that’s another 4lb gone and 11lb in 2 days. I was already starting to feel less bloated, my clothes feeling a better fit and my skin was less greasy.

Monday 14th September –

D Day for old me. Weigh in first thing, undoubtedly I would be weighing at least a few pounds heavier than on the Friday. I’d wake up feeling really hungry due to a carb heavy large evening meal but driven and ready to start the starvation diet that would see me drop those extra pounds super-fast!

Unfortunately after a super healthy breakfast of 2 eggs scrambled and a tablespoon of stir fried veg I’d start to feel really hungry mid-morning, in fact I would be starving hungry. I can’t eat anything because I need to lose those pounds! By the time lunch comes I would be ravenous and my small salad and chicken would not satisfy my cravings for carbs. I would be feeling irritable and become annoyed at myself for being in this position. I would feel deprived and question why I am bothering when I feel so bad. My planned evening meal of lean protein and veg was not going to cut it and on my way home I would be stopping off at the local Chinese as that is the only way I could satisfy my hunger. I would eat my meal like I hadn’t eaten for weeks. The diet would begin tomorrow.

The new me weighed in – 14st 6lb, another 4lb gone over a stone in 3 days. I knew it would soon drop off no need for extreme calorie cutting or over exercise just getting back to my normal habits and it’s dropping off. I still hadn’t got back to the gym as I was feeling pretty unwell from jet lag still but eating my veg and lean protein was helping me recover and feel better generally.

Tuesday 15th September –

The “Old me” would be back on the wagon, clean sheet, OK it’s not a Monday but the diet needs to resume as another 1lb gained due to yesterday’s over eating. But it’s like Groundhog Day, a small breakfast and a large carb heavy evening meal the night before leads to hunger around 10 am which then leads to overeating at lunch and I’m back off the wagon as I crave all the sugary foods and give in to those cravings.

The new me weighed in – 14st 4lb, another 2lb gone. Back to the gym tonight – my usual Tuesday training with John. I was back to my usual diet of protein breakfast, scrambled eggs, chicken and salad for lunch and protein and vegetables for dinner.

Wednesday 16th September –

“Old me” – pointless weighing in I know I’ll be heavier because of all the food I ate the day before, might as well enjoy the rest of the week because I’m away this weekend and get back to the diet Monday.

New me – weighed in 14st 4lb, stayed the same. I had expected this to be the case, before I went away I had weighed 13st 13lb and calculated based on calorie intake a 5lb weight gain on holiday putting me back at 14st 4lb with my holiday weight. No problem at all going back to my usual habits would see me lose around 1lb of fat a week so that 5lb would be gone in a few weeks’ time.

Thursday 17th September –

Old me – no point weighing in diet starts Monday!

New me – weighed in at 14st 3lb another 1lb gone. Back into my normal routines, no battles with myself over food or exercise just cracking on with it.

Friday 18th September –

Old me – same as before no point weighing in I’ll deal with the damage after having a super weekend. I’d be justifying it to myself that I deserved a break from it all, I’d earned it. I’d be ignoring the fact my clothes were too tight, that I felt bloated, my skin was greasy and I generally felt pretty awful.

New me – weighed in 14st 2lb that’s another 1lb lighter. That works out as my water weight dropped plus probably 2lb of the fat I had gained whilst on holiday.

In 7 days I had lost 19lb, whilst old me would have continued to gain weight and would be weighing in around 15st 10lb. I can’t say how much I would have gained but I don’t think it would be unrealistic to say that in another week of unrestricted calorie intake I would have gained another 3lb at least,. The sliding door moment was my decision when stepping on those scales to eat an evening meal in line with my usual habits rather than extending my holiday for the weekend. I can see how in previous weight loss attempts I so quickly lost control and gained weight when seeing such a large gain on the scales things can seem pretty hopeless with such a big gain but my week of weigh ins proves that it’s not hopeless at all.

Progress photographs – 17th October 2014 (25 stone) – 28th August 2015 (14 stone)

transition oct-aug


juliet oct-aug transition (45 weeks) front side back


27stone vs. 13st 12lbs

Photoshoot 001

Photoshoot 011


As you can see by this amazing 5-part series……..Juliet has made AMAZING progress, not just in the weight loss, but with confidence, fitness, strength, mindset……the list could go on!  I hope this helps lots of people realise what they can change – if they want to change.

If you feel like you would like to train with us at Your Next Level Fitness – then get in by clicking here.

Twice The Woman – Half The Size! (PART 4)

If you haven’t been following this series, check out these first

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


weight loss april

March had been a pretty stressful month and although my mum was home and doing well I wouldn’t find out if I was to be made redundant until May so there was still uncertainty to deal with. I needed to ensure where possible I kept my diet and exercise consistent and continued with my weight loss. I was however very aware of the importance of being kind to myself, there are going to be times where I don’t make the best food choice or struggle to be as organised due to other worries but that’s ok because for each meal things don’t go to plan there will be many more that do! I decided that in April I would just eat and exercise almost like I should to maintain my weight, I wasn’t going to start adding in more challenges but just try consistently to train and eat well.

My typical week looked like this:-

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Breakfast 2 eggs scrambled mushrooms and tomatoes 2 eggs scrambled mushrooms and tomatoes 2 eggs scrambled mushrooms and tomatoes Porridge with berries 2 eggs scrambled mushrooms and tomatoes omelette with veg stir fry 2 eggs, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes and pork mince
Lunch Chicken Salad and pickles Chicken salad with bulgur wheat Chicken salad wrap Left over bolognaise and veg Hot chicken and bulgur wheat salad Nando’s chicken, salad and corn Roast Lamb with veg and gravy
Dinner Sundays roast beef with veg Homemade chicken fried rice Bolognaise with vegetables Chicken thighs marinated with salad and corn Chili and basmati rice Fakeaway fajita wrap pizza None
Snacks Fruit Almonds + yoghurt Fruit + yogurt Almonds Almonds + yoghurt Frozen yoghurt Fruit and custard
Exercise 30 Min Cross -Trainer PT – John 30 Min Cross – Trainer Zumba PT – John 1hr gym –

30 min Row

30 min weights

1hr gym –

30 min cardio

30 min weights


Although my breakfast and lunch menus probably seem quite boring I think this helps with forming the strong habits to ensure I can maintain the loss when I get to my goal. It may appear I eat a lot of chicken salads I do vary the spices I use on the chicken and also use lots of different salad vegetables and pickles to mix things up a little.

Variety spice of life

As this is the way I have been eating and exercising for the past 6 months it was easy for me to just carry on as I was before despite the additional stress I was feeling. I don’t eat bread or potatoes as part of my everyday diet as they are high GI and make me feel more hungry but I have found plenty alternatives that I can substitute in if I need to. Instead of bread I eat pitta bread (preferably whole meal) or tortilla wraps. Instead of potatoes I have low GI carbs which are pasta, basmati rice (only basmati – other rice types are higher GI including brown), noodles and grains like quinoa and bulgur wheat. I like celeriac as an alternative to potatoes because you can roast it and mash it but it does taste very different!

On 7th April I had been training with John for 6 months and achieved so much in that time. One thing that I had been working towards was a full proper press up on the floor. John had set me exercises to improve my strength and we practiced press ups in our sessions on a bar a few feet above the floor that was lowered as time went on. On 8th April I managed a new first, 1 full press up on the floor! After this press up I continued to practice in order to improve my form and by the end of the month I could do 3 in a row this was something that seemed a million miles away 6 months ago.

pull push

I had been thinking a lot about what it is that was keeping me on track losing weight and focused on my goal despite other stresses.

In previous attempts at weight loss I have reverted to old habits before reaching my goal – whether that is after 1 year, 1 month, 1 day or even in some cases 1 hour (it’s surprising how hungry you instantly become when you ‘go on a diet!!’) The problem for me is that to be ON a diet you will also at times be OFF a diet and therefore it’s only a short term thing. Being on the diet is good, you’re in control and losing weight; it’s seen as positive. Being off the diet is bad, you’ve lost control and it’s seen as negative. But this time I think I understand how I have managed to reach the point of no longer being ‘on a diet’ and the key is in my previous sentence – HABIT! In order to lose weight you must change your habits …… yeah I know I’ve heard it all before too but here is how I have done it!

Diet is defined as: ‘The kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats’ If you habitually eat highly processed fatty foods as I did, you will be overweight. I simply wasn’t burning enough calories in my sedentary lifestyle to eat that amount of high calorie food and maintain a healthy weight.



Step 1 for me in losing weight was identifying the habits that were making me fat; there were 5 main habits I needed to change

  • Eating takeaways 3-7 times a week.
  • Eating desert after most evening meals.
  • Overeating at meals.
  • No exercise.
  • Rewarding myself with food.

The things that are making you overweight could be completely different, there may be more things on your list or fewer but in order to change those habits you must identify them first. Be honest with yourself, unless you have an underlying medical condition the only reason you are overweight is that you are consuming more calories than you are using.

be honest with yourself

Step 2

Step 2 was changing those habits. I could have decided that on July 5th I would no longer eat takeaways or deserts and I would start going to the gym every day and I would eat mouse sized portions of food only when I was starving but by July 6th I would be back to my old habits because it would be dull and restrictive and I would feel deprived, hungry and unhappy! Instead I decided to tackle it bit by bit.

Eating takeaways – This was the one habit I could cut out altogether. I could not remember the last time that I got a takeaway and thought afterwards that the food had been really enjoyable. I got takeaways simply because of the habit of doing so. I saw it as a quick and convenient way to eat, but actually its expensive and not very tasty most of the time! So that was it I no longer ate takeaways, I came up with my own ideas for quick and convenient foods that I could substitute in. Things such as a freshly roasted chicken and some salad from the supermarket or a premade frozen chili or bolognaise that just required reheating. I didn’t feel deprived because I had already established that actually I wasn’t enjoying takeaways they were mostly pretty disappointing! It’s now 1 year on since I gave up takeaway food, I don’t miss it one bit and in fact I feel a little repulsed by the thought of eating it. There have been times when I have used McDonalds for porridge if I am stuck for breakfast on the road or Subway at lunch time for a salad if I am out and about and it’s my only option but these are the exceptions.

Eating desert after my evening meal – I didn’t feel the need to completely eliminate desserts from my evening meal, I felt that I might feel deprived if I cut it out altogether so instead I decided if I wanted a desert to make healthier choices. I would generally have fruit or yogurt for dessert but I have looked up different recipe and experimented with roasting fruits and making low calorie custard. I weigh up whether I feel the quality of the dessert is worth the calories. I would rather have a small amount of the real thing if it is really tasty than having a larger amount of a low calorie version that is going to satisfy the craving. Now, a year on I do not have as much of a sweet tooth and I often don’t bother with dessert generally. If I am eating in a restaurant and something on the desert menu takes my fancy I may well partake but this is the exception, generally I choose not to eat dessert.

calories menu stacrbuck mcds's etc

Overeating at meals – One of the reasons for my previous weight loss attempts had failed was because I felt hungry most of the time. I had to be careful when cutting down my portions because I decided it would be far better for me to eat a few more vegetables than I should than restrict healthy foods that could leave me hungry later and craving the high fat processed foods that I would then have to battle to avoid eating. Basically I made sure that there was plenty on my plate to eat but tried hard to listen to my body, half way through my plate of food I would think ‘am I still hungry?’ If yes I would continue eating. The aim for me is to eat until I’m satisfied (click to read WHY!)– around 75% full to ensure I am not too full and feel uncomfortable. I would also make sure that at least half of my plate was piled with vegetables, a quarter with a low fat protein and the last quarter a low GI carbohydrate. A year on my portion sizes have reduced without me having to think about it. The actual volume of food that my stomach can handle is far less and I have learnt to listen to my body and how full I feel. I also now try to only eat when I am actually hungry and I measure if I am hungry by asking myself if I would eat an apple. That is a really good way of telling the difference between and fancy and true hunger, if I feel I want food but wouldn’t eat an apple then I am not really hungry.

No exercise – I decided that I wanted to get my food habits embedded before I began to add in exercise. After a few months I began to jog but was quickly warned off this due to my weight. When I began exercising I hired a Personal Trainer that could guide me in the right exercises to do and the correct way to do them. My trainer John was keen to get me doing something every day even if it was just 15 minutes of jogging up the stairs. A year on I exercise a majority of days a week and always do something even if I’m not hitting the gym so I might go for a walk or do some body weight exercises at home. Everyone has 15 minutes in a day where they can do something to get your heart rate up.

Rewarding myself with food – this was a tricky habit to break, as a child I was rewarded with food and used it not only as a treat but as a comfort too as I grew up. I decided to make a list of things that I could treat myself with instead of using food. Things like a professional manicure, a new music album or a new item of clothing. I also set myself bigger goals to hit and more extravagant rewards for reaching those goals. A year on and I no longer have to replace food as treats because the habit has been broken and I don’t feel the need to treat myself. If I eat a high calorie food, let’s say chocolate fudge cake, I do it because it tastes good and is worth the calories not because I have been good or I’ve had a bad day etc.

weight loss may

On May 4th I was excited to step on my scales to discover I was weighing in at 16st 6lb. I had been concerned for some time about reaching this weight. Both of the times I had previously lost considerable weight I rebounded at 16st 7lb and lost control rapidly gaining weight to end up heavier than I had begun. I had been worried that when I got to this weight again the same thing could happen for a third time. I came up with a plan of how to ensure I didn’t rebound and it was simple, the number on the scale was meaningless if I wanted to lose more weight at this point I would just keep doing what I was doing!

At 16st 6lb the lightest I remember since being a young teenager, I somehow felt much slimmer than the day before! Throughout this journey I have bought a size or 2 smaller in new clothes to shrink into. Feeling slimmer I began trying on some of the size 14 jeans that I had bought, I was over the moon when I get them on, fastened and they were comfortable! John has always been keen to steer me towards judging my size and weight loss by my clothes and it had really worked for me as some of the trousers I have bought would barely get over my bum and yet within 3-4 months I was wearing those very trousers! I emailed John the news and to thank him for his support and coaching and he shared it on his Facebook page.may email 16 6

Sadly the post received quite a negative comment – the comment took me a little by surprise.

may negative comment facebook

It wasn’t a miracle and no I hadn’t misquoted. It made me feel like I needed to justify myself, get people to check the label in my jeans and the numbers on the scales to prove I wasn’t lying! But hang on a minute …. I had worked hard to get to that point and it wasn’t for the benefit of anyone other than me. The post was meant to inspire others, if I could weigh the lightest I have ever weighed as an adult and wear a clothes size which I have never fitted into before then your goals whatever they may be are also achievable! John devises programs to ensure I preserve lean muscle mass because this will help me maintain my weight loss and to have a nicer body shape as I lose fat. John had kept me motivated and focussed for 6 months and what I had achieved was astonishing to me but it’s sad to think that such a comment is the type of thing that would have made me question ‘what’s the point?!’ and give up on previous attempts. As John pointed out to me if I was not as mentally strong as I am today then things could have turned out very differently following such a comment!

different body sizes

All of the women in this picture weigh 154lbs (11st) and they range from a size 10 to a size 18 there’s also plenty of examples of women that have actually gained weight but are a smaller clothes size than they were before due to losing fat and gaining muscle. As John said we are all different shapes and sizes for our weights. For this reason my weight is only a very small part of the way I measure my success.  I suspect that if we had added a picture of me to that post and changed the weight to 14 stone it’s unlikely anyone would have questioned my weight. We don’t walk around with our weight plastered above our heads and it’s hard to judge how much someone weighs, why should it matter anyway? A number on the scales does not tell the full story, not by any means! The point of the post was missed completely; it wasn’t about the numbers it was about the 2 new achievements that I had accomplished with John’s help.

So all in all, I’m going to take your disbelief as a compliment, John and I have worked hard to retain muscle whilst losing fat and at present I weigh more than you may expect for my clothes size … so what! I feel fantastic and that’s all that matters.

I had been training with John for just over 6 months and lost a total of 100lbs (7st 2lb) with John plus the 3 stone I had lost on the diet before meeting John. The numbers seemed surreal; I had lost the weight equivalent to another person. My body was changing rapidly and although I still struggled to see the difference when I looked in the mirror there were other ways of measuring my success.

Back in October 13th 2014 I decided to buy a pair of jeans that I wanted to fit into by the time I travelled to America on 31st August 2015. The jeans had a 31” waist (would equate to a size 13 UK size). When I first got the jeans I could barely get then above my calves and they sat below my Knees despite me trying hard to pull them on further. On May 8th I decided to give the jeans another go and was so surprised when they pulled on past my calves and past my knees……………in fact they pulled all the way up! They were still a few inches away from being done up but I still had a few months to get them on properly for my trip!

may 8 jeans before after

I was also still continuing with my 5k rowing and had been trying for a while to move up the rankings but I had to get my time under 19 minutes 17 seconds and I was struggling to do it. On 12th May I managed to hit 19 minutes 16 and it drove me to set myself another challenge I wanted to get my 5k personal best down to less than 19 minutes.

rower 19m16

I wasn’t even sure if it was possible but I was still carrying lots of extra weight and there were still plenty of improvements to be made to my fitness so I added it to my list of goals.



weight loss june


Into June and almost 1 year down since I began this journey, 11 stone lighter and feeling so much fitter and stronger. On June 6th I went to Tunisia for a week holiday to recharge after a few stressful months. It was just what the doctor ordered and although I put on a few pounds whilst I was away when I returned I got straight back into my usual routine and those extra pounds melted away.  I had been concerned whilst I was away that eating the desserts and high GI foods I might crave them when I came home but it wasn’t the case at all I just continued as I had before I went on holiday. While I was away on holiday I did take part in the activities during the day – dance class, stretching and I did a 30 minutes bike ride every morning in the gym. I am sure the exercise helped to balance some of the additional calories I ate too.

I had also got back into my rowing and on 18th June I completed a 5k row in 19 minutes 10 seconds that was another 6 seconds off my personal best and proved to me that I could get less than 19 minutes in the future.  (CAMMISH EDIT:  If you’re reading this and have access to a concept 2 rower.…realise how hard a sub-20min 5000m row is!!!)

Also on 18th June I thought I would try my America jeans on again, to my absolute delight I got them done up. I’ve probably made that sound a little easier than it was, there was some jumping up and down pulling and laying down to get the final button to meet but I got there. Next time I try them on in a month or so I won’t need to be laying down to get them done up!

I was getting back into enjoying my rowing following a bit of a break when I received an email from Concept 2 challenging me to a half marathon for the summer solstice on 21st June, I actually thought that could be fun!! I was a completely different person to the one that started this 11 months ago.

I was actually considering rowing 21,097 metres on a Sunday morning just because it would be a new challenge. I decided I would go to the gym as usual and start out on the rower and just see how it went. The furthest I had rowed to that point was 10,000 metres and I wasn’t completely sure that I would be able to double that! I started the row and it felt good 5000m went down fairly easily so I thought I would continue to 10,000m and reassess. Once I reached 10,000m I rowed to the half way point I felt committed I had come this far what was another 45 minutes! Then it got tough, my bum was numb and my legs were burning but I just carried on rowing. I had to take two breaks to stand up, stretch and adjust my position but I still managed to complete the row in 1hr 36 minutes 49 seconds. I was so proud of myself.

So coming to the end of June another 10lb lighter, July 4th will be my 12 month weigh in and I wanted to be 12 stone lighter that I had been the same day 12 months previous. It was going to be close to the 12 stone goal and in fairness that was enough I wasn’t racing anyone but 12 stone in 12 months had a nice ring to it! Below are my progress shots from October 2014 through to June 2015

oct to jun front and side


Twice The Woman – Half The Size! (PART 3)

If you have been keeping up with this series, you’ll know we are on Part 3.

Click here for part 1.…. and HERE for PART 2


Back to reality after a fantastic 2 weeks holiday in Mexico.


I was feeling confident that I had managed to maintain my weight whilst away on holiday by sticking to my plan and exercising for at least 15 minutes a day – most days I did 40 squats, 40 raised press-ups and 40 leg raises as well as swimming and walking. I was shocked and surprised when I stepped on the scales to discover that I had lost almost a stone in 3 weeks! This was really encouraging because although I had set myself rules and hadn’t had a complete blowout on holiday, I certainly didn’t diet at any point! If I fancied ice cream I had it but just 1 scoop instead of the 3 I would have had back in June – moderation appeared to be key.

weight loss jan

On my way back from the airport I received a call from the BBC to confirm that my story would not feature on the show. I was pleased with this, I had been very concerned about featuring on the program as I was the heaviest participant and I was unsure as to how I would be portrayed.


bbc juliet

Looking back I think it’s more likely I was afraid of seeing myself on TV because it would show my true size and I wasn’t ready to accept that yet. The program ‘What’s the right diet for you?’ aired on 12th, 13th and 14th January on BBC 2 and received some fantastic reviews, I owe a lot to the show, without it, I may still weigh 27 stone or have undergone major surgery in order to lose the weight. But… there was no need for the surgery.  I was successfully losing around 3lb a week eating unprocessed wholesome food and training hard and honestly loving every minute of it! The only foods I had given up were takeaways, bread and potatoes and I didn’t miss them, I felt amazing.

Whilst filming for the BBC from July – Sept 2014 I found it very easy to stick to the plan, when there is a possibility of failing in front of millions of people on TV its quite a driver! Even from Sept – Jan 15 when the show would air I was determined to ensure I stuck to the plan because again I didn’t want to have gained weight when the show aired. But I began to question what would happen once the show aired and there was no one except me monitoring my progress.

Would I still have the same drive and determination to lose the weight?

I decided as I enjoyed rowing so much I would set myself a rowing challenge. I would row 5k every single day for 30 days from 19th January to 18th February and this would ensure my weight loss continued and I remained focussed even without the BBC watching.

weight loss feb

I began my rowing challenge and all was going well although I did begin to find quite early on that my energy levels were quite low. John suggested adding in a refeed day, this was a day where my calorie intake would increase to 1800 – 2000 calories for 1 day. I must admit I wasn’t keen on the idea, I had found a good level at 1300 calories a day and I was concerned what impact the additional calories would have but I gave it ago and it definitely helped to increase my energy levels. We decided that a refeed day would be added in every few weeks to keep energy levels consistent and could always review and tweak the frequency as required. When having a refeed day I don’t treat it as a day to eat junk, I will either increase my carbohydrate intake for that day with more low GI carbs such as Basmati rice, pasta and Bulgur wheat or, I would up the  fat content and eat low carbohydratefood adding in more nuts and healthy oils for that day. I quite quickly found that I preferred to up my calories with healthy fats as I feel less bloated than with carbs.
I also began to work with a friend Linda Naylor who is a life coach. We began to look at my life goals and prioritise them. Although Linda lives in Harrogate she also offers coaching by phone and skype and I found the sessions with her to be great in working through my concerns and assessing my progress.Wow(!) over 100lb lost in 7 months and I was feeling determined and focused.

John set me a new smaller challenge, before bed list everything that I am grateful for.  As I began writing that night the first 20 came pretty easily …. I am grateful for my supportive friends and family, I am grateful for a job I enjoy, I am grateful for my home ….. The next 30 were a little trickier but I made it to 50 things I was grateful for. The next night I read through the 50 things I was grateful for and added another 10. I continued to read through and add to my grateful list every night for a week. It surprised me what an impact it had on my mood, it was so positive to read through all the fantastic things in my life I could/do feel grateful for! I still look back on it now and add to it when I can.

13 days into the 30 day challenge John questioned how I was feeling, when I thought about it I had been very short tempered and emotional, I was also feeling my energy levels dropping again. John explained the likely cause was over training, I had been in a calorie deficit for many months and I had upped my training to 11 sessions a week in order to complete my 5k row challenge. Whilst John knew I wouldn’t be keen to stop my rowing challenge he did make it clear to me that it was the likely cause of how I was feeling and that my best plan of action would be to take  2 full days off training and reassess how I felt.

So that’s exactly what I did, and guess what, John was spot on!!  I had been so concerned with distracting myself to ensure I stayed focused on weight loss and away from food that I completely forgot that if I am not enjoying what I am doing I’m setting myself up to fail. After my 2 days rest and a PT session with John on the Friday I hit the gym Saturday morning to do a 5k row and I smashed my PB!


rower 5k 20m05

I had also learnt another important lesson about overtraining. More training is not always better and less calories is not always better, it’s about listening to my body and how I feel to determine the right level that can be realistically maintained in the long term. I seem to get easily carried away with the desperation to drop the weight as quickly as possible but I now see it’s far more important to do it healthily.

In early March I would be turning 31 years of age and I couldn’t help but smile at how far I had come in 8 months  and although the pounds coming off each week was incredibly motivating there were so many other measures of how much better I was feeling :

  • Sometimes if I had been walking a little, like round the shops or a supermarket the top outside of my thigh would go numb. This used to concern me as I had no idea what it was. After just 4 weeks of training this was gone.
  • I used to be afraid to go to theatres and the cinema in case the seats were too small for me to sit it. Now I have plenty of room to sit comfortably! Now I can go whenever I like with no fear.
  • When working in Manchester I would always take a taxi from the train station into work – although it is only a ¾ mile walk I didn’t want to arrive into work red faced and sweating. After just 6 weeks of training I was walking to and from the station and haven’t caught a taxi since!
  • I had a meeting on the 8th floor of our office block when the fire alarm sounded. We filed out and when it came to going back in the lifts were extremely busy, I have never been a fan of lifts and certainly not busy ones so I took the stairs – 8 flights, after just 10 weeks of training I was noticing massive differences in my fitness, there is no way I could have managed that before.
  • After years of wearing clothes that were too big for me trying to hide away I want to wear clothes that are fitted and flatter my shape even when I was in the larger sizes 18/20/22.
  • My confidence is constantly increasing. I feel happier meeting new people and exploring new places.
  • I have become more organised in my personal life so that I can make the most of every day.
  • I used to suffer from headaches in fact most days I would have a headache of some kind but now I barely get headaches and if I do I can pinpoint the reason hay fever/hormonal etc.
  • Generally I feel calmer in myself; I approach issues with a positive mentality and find myself better at handling difficult situations.

weight loss march

I was turning 31, 9 stone lighter, having enrolled for a psychology degree and had my TV debut. What a busy 8 months I’d had! No sign of letting up yet, I was still 7 stone away from my goal weight, I still had lots of fitness goals to achieve including a 2k row under 7 minutes 30 seconds and a 5k row under 20 minutes. I had no doubt that I would achieve my goals. I was weighing in at 18 stone and closing in on my lightest ever weight as an adult at 16st 7lbs. When I had previously lost large amounts of weight 16st 7lb was the point at which I stopped losing and started gaining. This was weighing on my mind, I wanted to make sure I had a plan in place to push beyond that weight and continue losing. I began to think through the habits that I had formed to keep me on track :

  • Have a list of meals that I enjoy that are low GI so if I’m struggling for inspiration I can choose something from the list when planning the week’s menu.
  • Plan meals in advance
  • Things won’t always go to plan so I have batches of homemade 5 bean chili and bolognaise in the freezer as my own ready meals. They are frozen in bags and don’t even require defrosting they can just be put in a pan of boiling water to reheat from frozen. (I was someone that hated reheated food previously but these taste better reheated!)
  • I carry food with me that I can eat easily if I need food whilst out and about, some of the things I carry are a piece of fruit or small bag of mixed nuts (high calorie so I only carry 1 portion but they are very filling!) and oatcakes are great to carry too.
  • If eating out where possible check the menu ahead of time, plan what I’m eating and stick to it – don’t add in a last minute pudding if one wasn’t planned in to begin with!
  • Try to avoid processed foods and takeaways where possible, who knows what rubbish is in them you only get one body and your health is so much more important than convenience!
  • I have a few go to meals when I am out and about shopping etc, Starbucks do a great porridge which is not packed with sugar and very filling as do McDonalds but only until 10.30am teamed with berries it’s very tasty. Subway salads are fantastic too, fresh and tasty and low calorie, I tend to go double chicken to make it more filling with more protein.
  • Drink plenty of water we all know the benefits of it and it stops me feeling so hungry.
  • Only eat when I’m truly hungry, get out of the habit of eating just because of the time of day. I only class myself as hungry if I would eat an apple; if I wouldn’t eat an apple then I’m not really hungry!
  • Base calorie targets over a week not just a day – I aim to eat 1300 calories a day but in actual fact some days I eat 1200 and others 1600 but so long as over the week I eat around about 10000 calories I’m happy with that because I will be in deficit of around 7000 calories which = 2lb weight loss.

Staying motivated

  • I don’t use food as a treat, if I want to treat myself then I get my nails done or buy a new top (in a smaller size!) or something like that.
  • Celebrate every single little success be it sticking to my plan, adapting my plan when things didn’t work out, or getting to the gym, etc. etc. I do something to make myself proud every single day. All those little changes add up to a big difference over weeks, months and years.
  • Set small interval targets to reach, I couldn’t see the end of my journey when I set out. But I will see it eventually as I take small steps towards it every single day.
  • The scales just provide me with a trackable number, this number will change dependant on what I have eaten so for example if I eat carb heavy for just 1 day I can weigh up to 3lb heavier the next day through water retention alone (the same goes for a higher salt intake)! Its only water and it drops back off with more over the next few days. So it’s important to be able to deal with what the scales say and look at the bigger picture over a number of weeks not just a snapshot of 1 day at a time!
  • Do not have a battle with yourself time and time again, you either make the decision you want it or you don’t. Get rid of the question marks and focus your energy on reaching your goals not beating yourself up.
  • Stop wasting time looking for a miracle cure it doesn’t exist – move on!
  • Take small steps only change a little at a time so that new habits can be formed before moving onto the next thing.
  • Build yourself a good support network I invest cash in a Personal Trainer and a CBT therapist. I invest time in reading inspiring books and real stories of incredible people doing incredible things. For me there is no better way to spend my time and money than investing in me!

Find other ways to measure your success not just weight –

  • I buy an item of clothing 1-2 sizes smaller and keep trying it on until it fits.
  • I set myself fitness goals to row a distance in a shorter time or lift a heavier weight etc.
  • I listen to my body – how I feel, I note in my diary how I feel so for example I might row 2k in 7 mins 30 but feel like I am dead on my feet after it, the next time I might row it in 7 min 30 but feel good and go on to do more in the gym after its important to recognise your progress in all ways.
  • Having the confidence to do something I didn’t before for example for me: recently getting a full body sports massage and getting out on more dates!
  • Measure yourself and record the information to look back on. I don’t see a difference in the mirror but I can’t deny the measurements are coming down!
  • Photographs are great to track progress, I hate having my picture taken but it’s an awesome feeling when you can look through how your body and shape has changed.

March had begun on such a high but real life was soon to hit hard. Of all the stories I had read of people losing weight time and time again I read how previous attempts to lose the weight had come undone when major life events had occurred and I was about to experience some real turbulence. Up to this point I had been very fortunate that I could be totally selfish with my dieting, I didn’t have a partner or children to consider and my life was very straight forward.

On March 10th I travelled to Cambridge University to hear a talk at Cambridge Science Festival by all of the experts that took part in the BBC show. It was a fantastic evening my brother came with me and it was lovely to see all the experts again, I couldn’t believe that they recognised me and took such an interest in my progress. After the talk my brother and I went for some food and a catch up. I had missed a call on my phone whilst we were eating, a number I didn’t recognise. With more investigation I discovered it to be Hull Royal Infirmary, when I finally managed to speak to someone we discovered that our mother had been admitted due to a perforated bowel and had been taken down to surgery. It was a total shock and out of the blue it was now 10.30pm and my brother and I drove straight back to Hull arriving back at 1.30 am. It was then we were told that mum was incredibly ill, the surgery had gone well but she wasn’t in a good way. We sat with her until 4am when the Dr told us to leave and get some rest. Neither of us got any rest and we both just wanted to get back to the hospital as soon as possible. The next morning it was explained that she had gone into septic shock, her heart was requiring greater support and her blood pressure was far too low. The next 24 hours would be incredibly important and it was explained to us that things could get worse before they got better. I’m so pleased to say that things did get a whole lot better, there were dramatic improvements in her condition hour by hour and against all odds she was moved to the ward 3 days after her surgery. For the 3 days that she had been in ICU I had no appetite at all but as soon as she was moved to the ward and she was off all of the support I became quite ravenous. I imagine that it’s a normal response for a body to require sustenance after such a stressful time. I stuck to my normal guidelines and ate sensibly, my training had taken a bit of a backseat for a few days but I wanted to get back into training as soon as possible to relieve some of the stress.

My mum was on the mend when the next piece of bad news hit. An announcement was made at work that the Support Services team would be losing around 100 people as part of a redundancy and I was at risk of losing my job. This again came as a shock and I had to work hard to ensure I didn’t allow it to affect my diet and training, it would be counter-productive for me to go backwards at this point.  I knew my way of eating was helping me to think clearer and train harder I desperately didn’t want to go back to where I was. I spoke to my life coach Linda and together we devised a plan as it could be another 6 weeks before I knew if my job was safe and I was finding it difficult to sit back and do nothing at all. We discussed that continuing with my diet and exercise was supporting my long term goals which would remain long after the redundancy was finalised so I kept with it.

That wasn’t to be the end of my turbulent month of March either. Back in December I had visited the Dr’s for blood tests and scans due to changes in my menstrual cycle. These had been put down to hormone imbalances caused by training, dieting and weight loss. I had begun to feel more side effects of the hormone imbalances such as a 3 week period and more intense effects such as nausea and severe stomach cramps. The Dr prescribed a further mini pill in addition to the implant I already had in order to try and redress the hormone imbalance. John explained that exercise and running a calorie deficit was incredibly stressful on the body and with the stress of my mum and possible redundancy it might be best to reduce the training to exclude long cardio sessions and focus on weight training and high intensity interval training as these are lower stress on the body. Also to introduce walks outside and swimming. I wasn’t keen again on the reduction in training because I felt that training hard was actually relieving stress but we approached it as another experiment. Again I took a few days off training and found that my stress levels were rising because I was more concerned about not being in the gym. Working hard in the gym made me feel a step closer to my goals and helped me clear my head and manage my stress and so we reintroduced the training as before.

part 3 end of

I came out the other side of March feeling stronger than ever, I’d had a pretty difficult few weeks in March but managed to maintain my weight loss efforts fairly easily just keeping following the habits I had formed. I think it was important that I no longer used food as a treat/reward because there were many times during March that I could have done with a comfort blanket I just sought comfort from other things. It was fantastic having my training coach John and life coach Linda on hand too, as their support and knowledge were invaluable and I may well have gone backwards at times without their input.



Twice The Woman – Half The Size! (PART 2)

If you haven’t read Part 1 of Juliets Story – CLICK HERE to read that first

On with Juliets words……


First Measurements With John

measurement oct 14

03/10/14It had taken me a few weeks to find a trainer that I thought was right for me. I needed someone who had experience of training women to lose weight and someone with plenty of knowledge and experience in weight loss, nutrition and training. I looked at many local trainers’ websites but John really stood out for me, he had lots of success stories of real people and I enjoyed reading his blogs.   My first session training with John was a mixture of excitement and nerves with many fears running through my mind:

  • What if I make a fool of myself?
  • What if I can’t do what he asks of me?
  • What if I am too fat to train?
  • What if the scales don’t go high enough to weigh me?
  • What if I faint/my heart rate goes too high/I’m sick/a UFO lands on the rugby field and beams me up?…………………………..!

Well needless to say none of the above fears became reality.

John was friendly and professional, he didn’t gasp in horror as I stepped on the scales or pre-judge me in anyway, he wanted to understand my goals and then help me to achieve them. It was clear that John was very knowledgeable and had already worked with many clients to lose large amounts of weight and become fitter and happier with their bodies. The great thing about John is that he also has nutrition qualifications and he has studied and understands the psychological aspects of weight loss too.

There was also another very important first meeting that day;

rower your next level fitness

It was the first time I set eyes on “Dave” the Concept 2 rower which, against all odds, in the weeks to come, would become my favourite exercise! The session was challenging but fun and I left feeling like I had taken another big step on my journey to being a healthy weight.  John explained that the focus was on losing fat and maintaining muscle mass and that high intensity interval training and resistance training was how it would be achieved. I would train twice a week with John and continue swimming on the weekday mornings when I wasn’t training.

weight loss goals1

John asked me to think about my fitness goals and encouraged me to look at other goals such as fitting into a smaller item of clothing rather than just focusing on the number on the scales. I had already set myself a list of 16 weight loss interim goals to see me through to target. I had already achieved the first 2 and was well on my way to the third! It gave me a great sense of achievement being able to tick off the milestones and helped me to focus each day on achieving my goals.

However I didn’t have any goals not focused on weight, so I began to think of other ways in which I could measure my success. I had jeans in sizes 18 – 26 from my previous weight loss attempts, my size 26 were already comfortable and I would try on the next size down each week to see my progress as my body shrinks into them.  There was also some very basic fitness goals that I wanted to achieve –

  • 10 full press ups
  • 1 pull up
  • Run 5k

As my training continued through October I began to really enjoy rowing, I seemed to be fairly good at it despite my weight and poor fitness level and so I wanted to set myself a bench mark in order to improve my rowing. I chose a 2k row to begin with.

John had begun to work on improving my confidence encouraging me to go it alone at the gym in between sessions. I started out just going on a Saturday and Sunday early morning when the gym was not as busy but I soon caught the bug and instead of my usual swimming sessions in the morning I was hitting the gym. John also gave me challenges of exercises to do at home if I wasn’t going to be in the gym, it began with setting a timer for 15 minutes and going up the stairs 2 at a time then coming back down and repeating as many times as possible in the 15 minutes. He encouraged me to do something every day even if it was just 15 minutes high intensity, this was a great habit and is do-able, there’s always a spare 15 minutes.

Although I was happy with my low GI plan given to me by the professors on the diet experiment John as a qualified Nutritionist encouraged me to think about how foods affected my energy levels. This lead me into eating a more protein based breakfast. Although porridge had been working for me I did find I was far more hungry come lunch time than if I had scrambled eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms and a leafy green vegetable. I found my energy levels were higher at mid-morning and I wasn’t as hungry at lunch time.

On 25/10/14 I decided to get stuck in to my rowing goals and set myself a time to beat for the 2k row. It was incredibly hard work and I pushed myself very hard in order to set the best time I possibly could.

rower 1st 2000m

Afterwards I felt pretty awful, I didn’t hang around in the gym to stretch out I went straight to the changing rooms. I wasn’t too sure what a good time was for me but I knew I had worked very hard to achieve that time and it was just a benchmark to improve against. John was super pleased (and a little surprised) with my time. It wasn’t just about the time I achieved though it was also seeing how far I had come in less than a month, 3 weeks before this

  • I hadn’t rowed for 10 years.
  • I was not confident enough to go into the gym for fear of being ridiculed or making a fool of myself.
  • I was afraid to push myself with exercise for fear of being ill or having a heart attack.

Training was going well and I didn’t feel like I was dieting – just making healthy choices but I felt like I wasn’t losing weight fast enough. I had a total of around 16 stone to lose and some weeks I would only lose 1-2 lbs, I couldn’t help but feel I should be trying harder. Despite the fact that I was already training 6-7 days a week and eating around 1300 calories I decided that in order to lose weight quicker I would slash my calorie intake further. I began to aim to eat just 800 calories a day in the hope that this would result in a boost in weight loss of around 1lb a week. What I didn’t account for was the reduction in my energy levels and the mood swings that eating such a low amount of calories would bring. I just wanted faster results but actually I felt quite ill and unhappy. I talked it through with John, I had made quite an error in judgement but had recognized it early on and increased my calories back 1300 a week later. It was a good lesson learned by me and I will not make that mistake again!

As suggested by Tanya Byron when filming with the BBC I had also found myself a Clinical Psychologist that practiced Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. There are a few websites that allow you to view Clinical Psychologists in your area and the therapies they offer. I began the therapy the week before my first session with John, I felt I needed to make radical changes to the methods I had previously used to lose weight as this time I would be successful in losing the weight and maintaining the loss. CBT was something new I introduced having never tried it before. It taught me to be kinder to myself and offered me techniques to understand my ways of thinking and how to recognise and overcome thoughts that could be detrimental to my weight loss efforts. One of my biggest downfalls when losing weight is the concept of being ‘on’ the diet and ‘falling off’ the diet by eating things that are ‘not allowed’. I am enjoying the low GI way of eating, I don’t want it to be a short term change, I want to eat this way for the rest of my life. I attended a family get together at the end of this month. There was a buffet with not a single item of food that would be considered low GI or healthy, but my new found CBT techniques helped me to see it as just 1 meal out of many meals I would eat that week and therefore it would have very little impact on my overall weight loss that particular week. On previous weight loss attempts I would have seen the buffet as a license to have a full blow out over the entire weekend which would lead me to feeling I had failed again and I would struggle to get back to my previous healthy eating. But not this time, I ate from the buffet and I enjoyed it but I also made sure the rest of my meals were the healthy foods I enjoy.

I also decided to buy myself a pair of designer jeans Waist 31” Leg 34” (Size 12/14) as another aim to shrink into. When I tried them on for the first time on October 13th 2014 they would barely go over my knees and I couldn’t get them any further up my calves. I had booked myself a holiday in New York for 31st August 2015 and these are the jeans I want to travel in ….

juliet new york jeans 1

Beginning November

I am  almost a stone lighter than October and feeling fantastic at just over 4 stone lighter than when I started, my size 24 jeans were fitting nicely and well on the way to wearing size 22.

weight loss november

John introduced me to a book ‘The Success Principles’ a rather large book and pretty daunting considering I had not read much non-fiction for the last few years. He suggested I tackle 10 pages a day and before I knew it I would be through it. The book was excellent and reignited my wish to improve myself in all areas of my life not just weight loss. It got me to thinking about what I actually wanted from my future. At 30 years old I wanted so much more, I felt I had plodded through life so far and not really lived every day. I drew myself a dream board or where I wanted to be in the future.


My CBT sessions were going well; I had begun Mindfulness Meditation as suggested by my therapist. When it was first suggested to me I must admit I wasn’t particularly keen on the idea because of the pre-conceived idea of what it actually entailed. I didn’t think I had time to meditate every day, I had rowing to do! How wrong I was! Not only did I have time to practice the meditation I also found it hugely beneficial. It gave me a different outlook, it seemed to help me to see things clearer. Guided meditations allowed me to see my thoughts as clouds in my mind just watching them pass by and not having to interact with them unless I choose to do so. As someone that suffers with anxiety I often find myself getting worked up about situations beyond my control. This type of meditation taught me how to allow those thoughts to pass on by without getting involved in them. My therapist and I were also doing a lot of work on compassion based therapy – being kinder to me. It became clear that the only way I was going to achieve my goals was by being kinder to myself. If I beat myself up every time I didn’t meet my expectations I was just setting myself up to fail.

I had caught the rowing bug and I was keen to see if I could improve my 2k time so I decided to give it another go a few weeks after my first attempt.

text1I was so pleased to knock a massive 6 seconds off my time but what surprised me even more was how I felt AFTERWARDS. After my first row I had felt awful but this time although I was tired I seemed to recover quitext 2cker afterwards.

By the end of November my time for a 2k row was down to 8 minutes 17 seconds and I decided I wanted to add a 2k row in less than 8 minutes to my fitness goals.

John was pretty confident that with a plan I would have this in the bag by the end of December, I wasn’t so sure, 7 min 59 secs seemed a long way away but I would do my best to better my time.


I couldn’t believe the change in myself, I was never very keen on sport because I was so awful at every sport I had ever tried I gave up trying. Finally I seemed to have come across something I enjoyed doing. I knew the rower was good for my fitness levels and of course it helped with the weight loss too. I was so keen to get to the gym as much as possible to practice my rowing and to get my time as fast as possible. It was such a motivation hitting personal bests week after week I almost forgot the reason for doing it to begin with was the weight loss!

December 2014!

Another stone down in November and my size 24 clothes are getting quite big now and I am able to fit into my size 22 jeans.

weight loss december

I have a 2 week all-inclusive holiday booked in Mexico at the end of the month over Christmas. I don’t want to go on holiday and put on weight so I am aiming to maintain my weight for those 2 weeks, John has given me an exercise plan for me to do whilst I am in the hotel as well. I’m feeling a little concerned about going backwards with my weight whilst on holiday but I have a plan(!) of how to maintain whilst I am away.

  • Get out and about exploring the area – walking in 30 degree heat will burn a few calories.
  • Do plenty of swimming.
  • Do the exercise plan John set out daily – leg raises, body weight squats and press ups.
  • Continue with a protein rich breakfast like an omelet as I know this keeps me fuller for longer.
  • Eat anything I fancy but in moderation.
  • At buffets just get a very small portion to begin with and if still hungry after go back for more.
  • Eat until 80% full – not stuffed.

My CBT sessions came to an end in December, I was keen to continue with therapy but my role at work had changed slightly and I was unable to make the appointments fit around my work commitments. I was feeling much stronger though and I had learnt some fantastic skills with the CBT I had already received. I could continue with guided meditation and also self-help CBT at home. Also the book John had lent me reignited my passion for self-improvement so I ensured I had plenty of books to take on holiday with me that would continue to help me improve my self-esteem and self-compassion.

But before I could enjoy my 2 weeks of sunshine I had some serious rowing to take care of and a goal of a 2k row less than 8 minutes to hit! I set out my rowing plan for December to give myself the best possible chance to reach my goal I penciled in 3 attempts first thing on a Monday morning.

rowing calendar for dec 2014


It didn’t take 3 attempts to reach my goal …… my first attempt on 8th December I rowed a 2k in 7:59:00!! I was over the moon, I hadn’t thought I would be able to reach this goal by the end of December so to do it on my first attempt was incredible. I had worked so hard to get to this point and I was so incredibly proud of myself for this achievement. I had never really felt proud of myself for anything before and it still makes me feel emotional thinking of that first row under 8 minutes. I had absolutely no intention of letting it stop there though, I wanted to get my row less than 7 minutes 30 seconds and so I added that to my list of goals to achieve!

I was all ready to go away and enjoy my holiday I had a plan in place and some new size 22 holiday clothes. Going away on holiday had always previously been a pretty humiliating experience. Sitting in a standard class seat was incredibly uncomfortable at 27 stone and I was always very aware of the poor person that had to sit next to me. I was unable to do up the belt so I had to ask for an extension too. I always felt like eyes were staring at me thinking, I hope I don’t have to sit next to her on the plane as we were checking in. To avoid this I had taken to buying an extra seat when I flew so no one else had to sit next to me. It made going on holiday pretty expensive and there were always issues when trying to check in with an extra empty spare seat the whole experience was utterly soul destroying but I didn’t want to give up my holidays and this was what I had to do. BUT … this time was different, I didn’t need an extra seat, I didn’t need a belt extension, I was still overweight but booking an upgraded seat meant I had more than enough room to be comfortable and not encroach on anyone else’s space.

The End of 2014
Finishing 5 months of dieting and 3 months of training 86lb lighter than I had started out on 5th July 2014!

july14 to sept 14 to dec 14 july14 to sept 14 to dec 14

The BBC show ‘What’s the right diet for you?’ was due to air mid-January and I was already becoming a bit concerned that it may have been the TV show that had kept me so focused over the last few months. I needed to work hard to ensure I stayed focused and continue to work hard after the show had aired.

In any case had more rowing goals to achieve!!!!


Twice The Woman – Half The Size!

Here is a client story that you will find unbelievable.  The pictures here show the progress made………..but more importantly, Juliets story over the coming weeks will highlight all the issues and challenges that come along with wanting to make a positive change…..and this series will show how she successfully dealt with them! 🙂

Here are just a few of the photos (more to come)….and her words……

juliet oct-aug transition (45 weeks) front


juliet oct-aug transition (45 weeks) side


juliet oct-aug transition (45 weeks) back

The Beginning

When I began this journey I was no stranger to the world of weight loss….. I had “been there and done that” with almost every diet craze known to man – I tried everything from diet pills to an odd contraption that sent electric shocks through my body, not to mention many fad diets! Almost every new attempt I made to lose weight was successful to a degree. I would lose weight fairly rapidly at first but once the initial motivation had passed, the diets were not sustainable, there were often dramatic changes to my daily habits that just left me feeling resentful and deprived….. and I would pile the weight I had lost back on and more besides.

I had been overweight all of my adult life. I began to pile on the pounds in my teenage years when I started to be in charge of my own food choices. My first experience of dieting was at 14 years old, my mum took me along to our local slimming club in order to support me with losing some weight. This was where I learnt that dieting was boring, restrictive and no fun whatsoever! Needless to say after just a few weeks I was no longer losing weight because I had completely lost interest in dieting and was eating the wrong foods again. Over the next 6 years my weight rose to over 26 stone, I knew it wasn’t healthy to be that weight but people in my life seemed unconcerned with my weight so I kidded myself into believing it was OK. I made attempts to shed a few pounds on the latest fad diet every few months but my weight continued to rise. I didn’t really know anything other than being overweight and I didn’t see myself in the mirror as large as I really was.

The First Time

My first serious weight loss attempt came when I was 20, following a comment that was made to me by a regular in the bar I worked at. It really hit home and made me question if I was truly happy the way I was. It was the kind of comment that I would normally laugh off but instead of laughing it off I was upset and vowed to do something about my weight. This time I would do something different to the methods I had tried in the past so I contacted a local gym and enquired about personal training sessions. I trained 3 – 4 times a week with the trainer on an individual basis and in just 8 months I had lost 10 stone I was down to 16st 7lb. I didn’t follow a diet for those 8 months, I was just making healthier choices, it was refreshing to achieve weight loss without consciously dieting.

juliet age 21 with text

I had at least another 5 stone to lose and all was going well when my personal trainer left the gym and I was placed with another personal trainer. The new trainer didn’t challenge me and I began to question what I was paying for so I decided to go it alone and use what I had thought I had learnt. I soon became bored training alone, my program became stale and I started to miss my planned training sessions. I felt I was letting down all those people that had encouraged me along the way. I just wanted to disappear again like when I was overweight, people didn’t notice me then, I just got on with my life and I wanted that back. By the time I got to 21 I had already begun to pile the pounds back on. I returned to eating takeaways and much larger portions of food, all my hard work being undone faster than I could imagine. My half-hearted attempts to get back to the gym failed because I had already lost some of the fitness I had built up and I became demoralised and frustrated when I couldn’t perform to my previous fitness standards.


I felt like a complete failure.

I had let down all those people that had helped and supported me with my weight loss efforts. I had no one to blame but myself and I was utterly embarrassed that once again I had ended up where I had started.

What was wrong with me? How could I have allowed myself to regain 10 stone in little more than a year?

On the outside I was happy smiley Juliet, on the inside I was struggling and the easiest way to deal with it was to pretend that I was happy the way I was. After a while of pretending I actually began to believe that I really was happy at 26 stone! When I was feeling low about my weight, food was there as a comfort which, of course, would just make matters worse in the long run. For every pound I put back on the gym was getting further and further away, how could I possibly face those people, that had given me such amazing support, when I had piled the weight back on? I also began to suffer with panic attacks and anxiety; it was not something I had previously experienced. I felt it was another sign of me being weak and so I hid this from my friends and family apart from my mum who seemed to be the only person that could talk me down when I was feeling anxious. I was very hard on myself and felt that I should be stronger and smarter and I should just get over it! (It wasn’t until I finally sought professional help for my anxiety 6 years later that I saw a marked improvement and managed to get it under control.)

By the age of 23 I was back to weighing over 26 stone.

All the money, time and effort spent on my previous weight loss attempt wasted. My mum had begun to suffer severe pain in her knees due to osteoarthritis and the only way the pain would be eased was by her losing weight. I began to look into very low calorie diets, I had always felt that if the choice of what I ate and when was taken away I would be a much more successful dieter. I came across the Cambridge Diet, a very low calorie meal replacement diet, 3 soups or shakes a day no real food – it was exactly what I needed! I spoke to my mum about following the plan- together; I would support her to lose weight which would ease the pain in her knees. Because I was doing it for my mum I found it easier, I didn’t want to see her in pain any longer. It was just after my 23rd birthday in March 2007 when I began the diet and in 9 months I had lost just over 10 stone again. The weight was just dropping off I didn’t do any exercise and just ate the shakes and soups purchased from the supplier. My body shape was nowhere near as nice as when I had been training and I didn’t feel as energetic but at that point I wasn’t too worried I just wanted to lose the weight as quickly as possible. My aim was to lose weight come what may.

When I hit the 4,5,6 stone loss mark I was feeling amazing. People were really starting to notice a difference in my shape and size. Those I barely knew were coming to me and congratulating me on my weight loss. At first it was nice, it boosted my confidence and reaffirmed why I was doing it. As the weeks went by I began to find the attention a little more difficult to handle. When people asked how much I’d lost and I’d tell them  7,8,9 stone they would then ask how much I weighed initially and I was utterly embarrassed to tell them.

juliet cambridge diet

It seemed that people only wanted to speak to me because I had lost the weight and every conversation I had was around my weight. I was really struggling and finding that as I approached the 10 stone loss mark when I should have been on top of the world……………………… I was far more self-conscious, I felt like everyone’s attention was drawn to me and I hated it. I also began to find that I had loose skin, far more so than when I had lost the weight the first time around. Some people made comments that my body shape was not as nice and toned as it had been when I had lost the weight before. It just made me hate my body even more, after dieting for so long I expected I would start to love my body but this wasn’t the case.

I had another 6 stone to lose when I relocated to Hull in December 2007 and I was confident I could just continue on the diet until I lost all the weight and then maintain it. Unfortunately this wasn’t the reality, I began to resent the diet because it meant that socialising with my new colleagues was harder, they were going out for meals that I couldn’t eat and I also couldn’t drink alcohol on the diet. I felt deprived and sad, I thought losing such a large amount of weight should make me happier, but I wasn’t happier. I began to add in some food but it was the wrong types of food, I hadn’t taught myself new habits during the diet and it was all too easy to go back to my old ways. I knew what I should be eating but having deprived myself for 9 months I just ate everything that I had missed over that time. As the weight piled back on I was completely out of control. I stopped weighing myself because I couldn’t face it.


juliet 2008


In just 2 years I had eaten my way back up to 26 stone AGAIN but now I weighed even more than 27 stone!

At 29 years old I felt there was nothing left for me to try, I had tried exercise and failed, and I had tried every diet out there and failed. There was nowhere to turn except surgery. I spoke to my Dr and I was told I would not qualify for weight loss surgery on the NHS as I didn’t have any illness caused by being overweight. I had a consultation at a private hospital and was told that I was an ideal candidate and all I needed to do was pay £10,000 for the irreversible gastric bypass operation and I could have it done within the month! I researched the operation and the success rates of the weight loss being maintained. It was a relatively new operation and so almost impossible to get statistics on the long term maintenance of the weight loss, also it was not yet clear if there were any long term effects of having the operation. I was desperate and decided it didn’t matter, this was my only chance to get down to a normal weight and if this didn’t work it was over and I would be obese forever. Every time I tried a diet and failed it took away a little more of my self-esteem, as the weight went back on it dented my pride, took a chunk of my self-confidence away and left me feeling weak and deflated. I just couldn’t continue with this cycle.

I began to save the £10,000 I needed for the operation and looked into other financing options.


Another Option?….

I was just about to borrow the money I needed and go ahead with the operation when I saw an advert, requesting volunteers, for a BBC Diet Experiment. If I’m honest I wasn’t particularly keen on the idea of being on TV but I figured the likelihood of me being accepted for the show was slight, but the advert promised the chance to discover more about why I struggle with my weight. Shortly after submitting my application I was invited to attend the screening day in Manchester, I met professors from Oxford and Cambridge University who were knowledgeable and passionate about obesity research and really wanted to help us. I met some fantastic people at the screening day and was surprised a few months later to be invited to Liverpool to take part in the experiment. It was so refreshing to be around people that truly understood how I was feeling, the desperation of wanting to lose weight, the hopelessness of feeling so out of control of the situation and the disappointment of failing to lose the weight and maintain it time and time again.

horizon shot

During the show I learnt that the gut hormone that is released to tell you to stop eating wasn’t being produced in my stomach to the same levels as in other people, this categorised me as a Feaster – I could eat and eat and not feel full until I had eaten vast quantities of food. I also learnt that I had a large proportion of the ‘Fat Genes’ that are common in obese people. I was placed on the high protein low GI diet and successfully lost 3 stone in 3 months whilst filming the show. I still felt that I must have a psychological issue because why would anyone lose such a large amount of weight, as I had twice previously, to just pile it back on again? I spoke to the Clinical Psychologist on the show Tanya Byron and she advised that I seek help from a Clinical Psychologist that offered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy; she assured me that I was not alone in this behaviour and that CBT would help. I had 6 sessions of CBT and found it to be invaluable, it helped me to understand why I behave the way that I do and how I can understand and adjust that behaviour. CBT uses a number of exercises that help you to be more aware of behaviours and change those behaviours that are unhelpful. I was also introduced to Mindfulness Meditation, something that previously I would not have considered, but it really helped me with anxiety and relaxation. My life began to feel a lot more ordered and I was taking control.

I had a final set of blood tests done for the BBC in September 2014 and sat down with Dr Chris Van Tulleken to discuss the outcome – my risk of diabetes had halved and my cholesterol was now within normal limits. This was incredible, I had only lost 3 stone of the 16 stone that I needed to lose and my health had already significantly improved Based on the blood test results. He asked If I was doing any exercise and I told him I had started the NHS couch to 5k running challenge to which he said ‘Please hire a Personal Trainer, you should not be running until you’re at least 5 stone lighter. You will injure yourself’. So that’s exactly what I did, I had saved some money for the gastric bypass operation so I could invest in personal training instead. There were a number of trainers in my area but John Cammish stood out for me. He had some very inspiring weight loss stories from clients, on his website and I enjoyed reading his blogs, he was clearly knowledgeable and had helped many people.  John was keen to help and we arranged to meet for the first session on 3rd October 2014………………….