Healthy Lifestyles Course Good News Story

A Good News Story from our Healthy Lifestyles course held in Worthing in February 2022

Think Pieces

By Basma Aboudihaj · March 31, 2022

“I first started going to a slimming club at the age of 7 with my mum. She decided I needed to lose some puppy fat and wanted me to keep her company. I enjoyed going because if I lost weight my mum would reward me by taking me out for fish and chips, and we’d buy chocolate on the way home.

Every day seemed to be either feast or famine! Constant dieting and then the reward became my way of life, and I became obsessed with dieting and losing weight. I would hardly eat at school because I thought I was the fattest in the class, my confidence was low and I was constantly worried about how I looked. When I was 15 I was told that if I started smoking it would help me burn off the calories, but in reality, I became a fat smoker.

Life carried on like this as I got older with my weight going up and down. It felt like everyone claps for you when you’re doing well, then you’re left feeling alone or abandoned, so the food reward becomes the motivation, and so the cycle of dieting and reward continues.

I knew the cycle was becoming a problem but there just didn’t seem to be a way of beating it, and all the time my mental health was getting worse. I had low self-esteem, a huge lack of confidence, mood swings, obsessive thoughts, negative thoughts, even suicidal thoughts.

I wanted to change and I did try to get help. I did every diet on the market, had medication prescribed by my GP, and even paid privately for a gastric bypass. After the bypass, it was OK for a few years but there was no help with actually managing my thought process around eating. I started using alcohol more and more in an attempt to feel more confident, because the bypass didn’t restrict how much I drank, but then I was just heaping more calories on that way. I tried hypnotherapy, and that helped me have more self-confidence, but that meant I started to not care about how I looked, and so it felt OK to be overweight.

For the next few years I was still yo-yoing. One day after a huge binge I realised that it wasn’t just food, I was letting my alcohol use get out of control as well. I knew that I had to change everything, only now it wasn’t because of what people might think about me, I knew that I had to do it for my physical health.

I saw a sign in my barbers for the Wellbeing hub, asking if you had problems around health, weight management, drinking etc. I decided to give the number a call.

The person I went to see at the Wellbeing hub was fabulous and explained how everything was affecting my mental and physical health. The meetings were useful and I did stop drinking but I was still struggling with my weight/eating issues, so I was referred to the Intuitive Healthy Lifestyle course.

After I was referred the course facilitator gave me a call and after a chat about what I wanted to achieve and how I saw the problem, she arranged for me to join the next Zoom course. I went along and it was brilliant from the very beginning. Each day there was so much to learn, and such a revelation to understand finally what was going on with me. I thought the course content was incredibly well written and the delivery was excellent. It didn’t feel like Zoom, it was such an open environment. There was time for everything to be explained, and time to ask questions, and the things I learned were so helpful that even after the first day it felt like a lightbulb had gone off in my head.

This was about taking control, it was about me being able to motivate myself instead of going to see someone else to motivate me! I learned about the brain and learned behaviour, and it helped me understand why I kept behaving in the same old way, and why it had felt so difficult not to. Once I knew that, it was easy! There were lots of tools to help me really silence that part of me that believed it was too difficult to step out of my comfort zone, and it also made me realise that the comfort zone had actually not been very comfortable at all! It was just a whole new way of thinking!

The Iron Fist tool was brilliant, and I’ve used it often, and all the tools I learned have been transferrable to my day to day life.

All those years I had been trying to tackle the problem with diets and medication, and now I realise that it was my thinking and attitude to food that was the biggest problem.

Since completing the course my relationship with food is much healthier, and it’s no longer all-consuming. I don’t allow it to control me and I don’t use food as a reward. The great thing now is that I can actually enjoy food and don’t need to be afraid of it!

Since the course I have lost 16lb in 4 weeks, just through making different choices and not being obsessed with the scales – I don’t let them define me anymore. I know when I’ve eaten rationally, healthily and sensibly, and the results speak for themselves.

The whole concept is not just about weight loss, or dieting and nutrition, it’s about thinking clearly, and challenging those thoughts and feelings that created the problem in the first place. Now I understand where they come from I’ve been able to use what I learned in so many other things, like not just blowing it because I didn’t hit exactly the loss I wanted! I also don’t feel bad about myself now. I feel in control at last, and that’s been such a good change. It’s also massively helped with decision making at work, conversations with clients, and throughout my life generally. It’s helped me realise there are other things in life.

I feel like I’ve been born again with a new brain, all supercharged, rational and clear!

I’m going to continue to retrain my brain using the skills I learnt and for them to become second nature. I’m going to live a much happier, mentally healthier and content life. I know now that these are the important things, as once I’m doing these things the body will follow, and it already has!

I’ve told so many people already about the course, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who asked. It’s been life-changing!”