Sarah: “It’s been a life-changing experience for me”

Sarah had been successful with losing weight in the past in traditional slimming clubs such as Weight-Watchers. But with the restrictive nature of the points systems, Sarah became frustrated and the weight returned. Sarah has found Second Nature to be completely different and feels this is a change in lifestyle, not just a diet.

A bit about you

I’m a writer who works at home – so I often don’t leave my house apart from a daily dog walk. It used to be all too tempting to over-eat when my kitchen is only a few steps away from my desk. I’m vegan, love to travel, and live with my husband. I have an adult step-daughter, two dogs, and a cat.

How has your experience been with Second Nature so far?

I’ve lost weight, feel fitter, have more energy, and I’m more mindful (with eating but also all areas of life). I’ve lost weight on other ‘diet’ schemes before but never this much. I often found I was hungry, craving sugar, and frustrated on other programmes. Plus as soon as I stopped the strict rules I would put weight back on. This feels more like a lifestyle change that I’ll continue to use in the long-term.

My portion sizes have been significantly reduced, yet I am more satisfied when it comes to being hungry. I realise now that I used to eat too many carbs and not enough protein. So my protein consumption has really gone up; I eat a lot more tofu, beans, chickpeas, lentils, and vegan meat substitutes.

I did Weight Watchers for a while, and I remember I could eat 28 ‘points’ in a day. Half an avocado was 7 points! Yet I could eat a sugary, WW-own branded chocolate biscuit for 2pts or a low-fat yoghurt was better too. So I’d eat one of those when peckish and an hour or so later, be hungry again! It seems crazy now I’ve learned a better way.

I definitely have more energy; I’m more aware of sleep but also maintaining good energy levels throughout the day. Fitness-wise, I really noticed a difference when going on holiday recently to California; I was able to climb hills without having to stop and catch my breath for the first time in my adult life.

For California, I took tips from my mentor before I went, and although I couldn’t plan or prep my own meals, I made the best choices I could and managed not to put any weight on during the 2 weeks – a first for any holiday I’ve been on!

Healthy mind, healthy body

I was already a bit of a mental-wellbeing junkie and I’ve read a lot of books and attended events on this subject. However, Second Nature has helped me to re-affirm some of the things I’d learned and make them more of a daily habit.

The articles about nutrition have been the most useful, I’ve learned a lot about what constitutes portion sizes, reading food labels, avoiding processed foods and refined sugar. My shopping habits have really changed as a result and I’m much more careful about what I put into my body.

It doesn’t feel like a punishment or that I’m refusing myself anything – it feels good to know I’m treating my body well and looking after myself. I think self-care is so important, and yet, largely under-rated.

Support of peers and experts

Other than the learnings as mentioned above, I’ve really enjoyed the interaction with my group and mentor. It’s been really motivating to go through the process with others. My mentor was really helpful, particularly as I’m vegan and so needed to work around the restrictions this brings. I felt able to ask her any question, no matter how embarrassing, silly or personal, and got some really great advice.

If you want to have a healthier lifestyle, Second Nature is excellent. You’ll learn so much about what you should/shouldn’t eat, but without it being hard rules that can never be bent or broken. You’ll also get educated on different types of exercise, and feel motivated to actually get moving more! Then there’s the mental wellbeing, which is excellent content – it’s not just our physical bodies that need looking after, but our minds too. And one impacts the other.

The community Second Nature has created means you’re never alone and get some great advice and can share your stories with others. It’s been a life-changing experience for me and I highly recommend it for anyone who feels they’d like to be healthier, especially if you’d like to lose some weight.

Any advice you can give?

For those struggling in the programme at the moment, I’ve had a few ‘bad’ weeks where I just fell off the wagon. But that’s okay. The wagon hasn’t gone on without you! Get back on it, return to Reset, re-read the advice, and start feeling good again.

You can read more Second Nature stories here.

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Write a response

Jackie Nye
2 December, 2019

What an inspirational article. Sarah’s comments about mainstream slimming clubs are so true. With Slimming World I would lose 2-3 stones but they encouraged unlimited pasta & rice and fruit. Avocados and nuts were very expensive on the Syn allowance but their ‘healthy’ HiFibre bars were low. After a while it became too restrictive so I would give up and the weight would come back on. Knowing what I know now it is no surprise I was doomed to fail and not reach my target. All those carbs and unlimited fruit, plus low sugar products were playing havoc with my sugar levels, leaving me craving more sugar.
I have just had my first week since starting the programme where I have gained more than half a pound. It was 3lbs – I feel disappointed but having analysed my week I can see what had happened. I have eaten bread on a few days and have had more carbs than normal. As a result I have had cravings which I have given into in form of biscuits. I currently feel sluggish and heavy due to sugar overload. I love Sarah’s last tip – falling off the wagon doesn’t mean the wagon goes on without you, just get back on. So that is what I’m going to do – climb back on, get my recipe books out, plan this week’s meals and hopefully that 3lb will have gone. Well done Sarah on your achievement