Jo Batrum

My name is Jo, and I have had a weight problem for as long as I can remember.

I spent much of my childhood being ridiculed for my size, but this made me more withdrawn, shy and obedient so that I didn’t “stand out from the crowd”. It continued throughout my school life, and I was known as “big Jo” at senior school.

I first started going to slimming clubs on 13/14 when my Mum took me to Weight Watchers. Here began my battle with weight and the labelling of foods as “good” or “bad” and my constant battle with the little devil on my shoulder telling me to “go on, have it, you deserve it, you are feeling down, it will make you feel better”.

I think I had tried every diet going, and my Mum showed me an article about Lighter Life in 2004; I had put on another few stones in the preceding years following my Step-Father’s and my Dad’s deaths.

Lighter Life was incredibly successful, and I lost 12lbs in the first week, four stone 1lbs in the first 14 weeks, losing eight stone 6lbs in total in just eight months. However, as soon as I started eating real food again, back on went the weight. All through this time, I still had the feeling of being a failure every time I put something “bad” into my mouth or gained weight; I didn’t recognise at the time that my relationship with food was at rock bottom. Within a few weeks, I had gone from 10 stone 4lbs up to around 13 stone, but I continued with Lighter Life for quite some time.

When I first started Lighter Life, I had no idea that I would be able to lose the amount of weight that I did and hardly recognised the new slim me.

Since 2004 and being introduced to meal replacement diets, I don’t think I have appropriately eaten until meeting Sharon.

I was in a “feast or famine” state and was taking that to the extreme.

Once Lighter Life became too expensive, I turned to the Cambridge Diet. The first year I did this, I again lost weight well, going from around 16 stone 7lbs back down to just over 11 stone. It did not stay off, and it started going back the other way.

In September 2019, I had a real wake-up call due to the way I had been abusing my body and had a severe constipation problem. I was in a lot of pain and frightened about the damage I had done or could do to my body.

I sought medical attention; this left me scared to eat, and ending up in hospital was a traumatic wake-up call.

By early December, I had seen Sharon’s advert in the Hadleigh Community News, and I thought this was the help that I needed, and I made contact. I can honestly say that was the best e-mail I have ever sent!

When I met Sharon, we just clicked, and she was horrified about what I had been putting myself through. Within a week, I was feeling better about myself, I wasn’t constantly thinking about food (mainly sweets and chocolate), and I wasn’t hungry.

Sharon encouraged me to get more exercise into my day by walking, this has been pretty transformational, and my husband and I try to go for an hour’s walk two or three times in the week with a long walk at the weekends.

Walking works wonders for our mental health and gives us the space to chat and be a couple away from the everyday chores at home.

I have been seeing Sharon for around 12 weeks now, and I am on the cusp of losing 2 1/2 stone, and I have to say that it has been easy. We use an app to track my food and look at what is in my diet and balance out all my nutrients and minerals; every week, we discuss different options, and Sharon makes minor suggestions and gives me options. It is so much clearer to see my diet as a whole and think of it as energy and nourishment.

I don’t know why I haven’t done this before as I feel so much healthier; I am eating a varied diet and can see the results.

Sharon is a real motivator and makes me feel good about myself, and encourages and talks through all situations. She is so easy to talk to, and she offers constant support at any time.

No way will I be going back to meal replacements, quick-fix diets. They are unsustainable and unrealistic; I know I still have a long way to go, but I am taking small steps towards my diet and fitness aims, and I am confident I will get there with Sharon’s help, encouragement and support. I’m so glad I found you, Sharon; thank you.

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