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Thursday, 17 January, 2002, 15:06 GMT
'How I won my battle against the bulge'
Beating obesity involves more than just dieting
Obesity is claiming 30,000 lives a year in England and the government is being urged to take action to reduce its incidence.

A former obesity patient known as Lisa explains why beating the problem it is not just a simple matter of eating less and exercising more.

"I lost five-and-a-half stone between January and June 2001, dropping from a size 22 to a size 14 dress size.

I now weigh just under 12 stone.

I had all sorts of health problems before I lost weight, not all of them were related to obesity, but the condition made them worse.

I had polycystic ovarian syndrome and endometriosis and was taking painkillers for both.

I also used to get sweat rashes between the folds of skin and that was painful.

Lisa used to feel guilty about food
I wanted to try IVF treatment to have a baby, but was told I would have to lose three stone in weight.

I got in touch with The Obesity Awareness and Solutions Trust (Toast) and they helped me to learn about my relationship with food.

Like some people would say they need a cigarette or alcohol, I would say 'I need a sandwich'.

It's an addiction. You don't eat because you're hungry, you eat because you are fed up.

I was a big child, quite chubby and had learned from infancy that I couldn't leave the table until I had finished my meal.


I had a mental picture that you mustn't waste food.

I had also learned somewhere along the line that eating makes me feel better.

I had to unlock all of that.

Toast put me in touch with Lighter Life, which put me on a diet of meal replacements for the first 16 weeks.

This was accompanied by counselling in small groups.

Lisa on her wedding day
Lisa on her wedding day after weight loss
Now that I know it is my thought process controlling what I eat I have taken responsibility for it.

I have lost the guilt.

I now have the tools to make a choice and I have control of my 'foodiness'.

I'm 32 now and since I lost the weight I have more confidence

Some people are happy with the way they look, but for those who aren't, I want to give them Toast's phone number.

It's down to doctors to point you in the right direction in the first place, not to just give you a diet sheet.

I can now maintain my weight by eating normally.

It has taken a while for me to get my head round my new size, but physically I can run around with my godchildren and my sister's kids.

I can go to the park and run around with them."

See also:

22 Mar 00 | Health
Obesity clue to cancer rise
15 Feb 01 | Health
Obesity rate triples
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