My Weight Loss Life Story, the  yo yo diet years and how hypnosis saved me from myself.

My name is Tracey, I am 42 years of age and before I go any further I want to let you know that I am not a natural writer so please forgive me if what follows is not as polished as what some people could put down on paper.    It’s just my own story and experiences in my own words. I hope it will help someone and maybe give inspirations and hope to anyone that needs it.

I have been overweight ever since I can remember, in old family pictures from my childhood I was always the “bonny” child with chubby cheeks, a good eater apparently.  I come from a family where finishing your plate was the house rule.  Dinners were home cooked and hearty. To be honest I can’t recall a time when I didn’t actually want to finish my plate and possibly go for seconds if it was something that I really liked. My Mum used to love baking too and I used to love eating whatever “treat” was put in front of me.

By the time I started school I was an overweight child with a sweet tooth, the fact that I was a little bit quiet even shy was not going to help me.  

It didn’t take long for some of my classmates to start making fun of me. Don’t misunderstand me I did make good friends in school, my best friend to this day is from primary school.  There is just no easy way of saying it, bottom line is I was bullied and excluded. I would come home some days so upset and tell my mum someone had called me names or said I can’t play because I was fat, guess what my Mum’s solution was.  Don’t mind them they are only jealous, here have a little treat it’ll make you all better and out would come the sweets or biscuits or ice cream!

Later on in secondary school things did get better, I became involved in Camogie and for the first time in my life I started to look  “normal”. All the same boys always seemed to like someone else better than me.  I got used to that but it did nothing for my confidence.

At age 15 I started my first Diet.  I had no idea what I was doing but had seen an advertisement for diet drops in a magazine.  The only one who knew was my best friend.  Did I lose weight? Yes I did, I also lost sleep, got heart palpitations and became riddled with anxiety.  I got down to a size 12.   To say that this wasn’t a good way to go about losing weight is an understatement, but I didn’t care.  Of course as soon as I stopped taking the drops my weight went straight back up. I had completed my first Yoyo Diet.       

I went straight from finishing my leaving cert to starting college. This meant moving to Dublin only coming home on weekends. This is where it all started to fall apart in a much worse way. I missed home and was lonely.  Having to take care of my own meals turned into a disaster. I lived mostly of Sandwiches, Fry ups, beans and chipper food, topped up with Coca Cola and packets of sweets and chocolate.  My weight went absolute out of control and before I knew it I could barely squeeze into a size 20.     

It was in 2nd year in College that I met Michael.  To be honest I couldn’t believe my luck and was over the moon.  Before too long I became pregnant and that put a stop to College. We got married and ended up moving in with my parents while Michael continued college.

My mum was good about it all but my father was another matter. He was very critical of Michael and when drink was involved it would escalate. With hindsight I realise that it had always been like this, walking on egg shells because of alcohol had been my normal.

I became more and more unhappy, and when I was unhappy I would eat all around me topped up with litres of coke. Didn’t matter what it was, just grazing all day.  

We managed to find a place of our own and moved out. 

New start, new diet. This was my first encounter with a local slimming club. The first couple of month I was like super woman, counting sins pushing the buggy up the road at high speed and drinking black tea by the bucket load. I actually lost 1 stone 13 pound!  Once a week weigh in, in front of everyone, I hated that part.  After the initial water weight dropping of everything slowed down and one week I stepped on the scales and was up half a pound. Devastated isn’t the word, I had been so good. My leader, who was great when everything went well, was not so great when it didn’t. I know she didn’t believe me that I hadn’t been cheating.  I was so embarrassed. I actually went home and cried I felt so bad.   The weight piled back on again in record time and then some.

I became pregnant again and all dieting went out the window. Following my second daughter’s birth I was another stone heavier.  With a toddler and a baby at home it became more difficult again to get a grip on things. I kept promising myself that I would start again “next Monday”, diet, exercise the lot. By Monday evening I would collapse in front of the telly with a family size pack of Maltesers,   Take away and a big bottle of coke.  I would talk myself into starting again the next Monday, making excuses like, you broke your diet now, no point in keeping going.  I was the queen of excuses.

What followed over the next few years was a never ending chain of fad weight loss diets, diet clubs, miracle cures, snake oil. Fat binders, calorie controlled meals, weight loss coffee, skinny tea, shakes, powders, potions, low fat, no fat, low sugar, no sugar, Atkins diet, Lipotrim, Cabbage diet, Egg Diet, Beach Diet you name it I done it even appetite suppressants and metabolic boosters. The last ones with hindsight were the worst as they did mess badly with my health, the effects of which I am still suffering today.     

In effect some were healthier than others and some were outright dangerous, but not one of them worked in the long term and over the years I have gone up and down from a size 16 all the way to a size 24. I had a wardrobe full of clothes in every size, clothes that I would never get to wear but kept anyway in the hope that one day I would.    

Every time I lost weight it would last a few short months or even just weeks and then it would pile back on again with a vengeance and then some.  It was shortly after my 37th Birthday I went to see my doctor as I was constantly exhausted and just didn’t feel right and I had noticed that the skin under my armpits had darkened.  That day was to become my wake up call.

High Blood pressure, high Cholesterol, Pre Diabetic. BOOM.  My doctor was really good I have to say, she took the time to listen to me and gave me the best advice she could. Medication and a referral to a dietician followed. The dietician was OK I got lots of advice on what and what not to have and when, the importance of exercise, a whole plan based on my me……did I stick to it? Of course I did, I was absolutely miserable, it lasted all of about 2 month before the wheels came off again.  

I was at my wits end, I knew I couldn’t go on like this but with my lack of willpower I also knew that I needed help and another diet plan was not going to cut it. I needed to make serious changes but no idea how to make it real.  To be honest I was scared.

One day very soon after I confided in one of my work colleagues. He had lost quite a lot of weight and seemed to be keeping it off really well. Naturally I wanted to know what had worked for him.  We got chatting over lunch in the canteen and he told me that he had been in much the same situation as me, struggling for years and that in the end he went for hypnosis and that’s what ultimately got him to succeed in taking back control.   He told me that for him it had been a revelation that it was vitally important to deal with the underlying emotions and patterns as well as the kind of foods, portions and behaviour.  

I was surprised to learn that he had even had counselling and CBT at one stage to help him with his compulsive eating before he hit on hypnosis.  I was even more surprised that he had, had gastric surgery years ago to reduce the size of his stomach and even that failed to help him control his weight in the long term!! That was supposed to be a magic bullet and I had considered it for myself, if we had been able financially it’s what I would have ended up doing.

I got the number of the lady he had gone to see and before I could talk myself out of it I called her to make an appointment.  That first appointment was an eye opener.  We sat down and talked for an hour or more. Silvia was warm, understanding and gave me plenty of reassurance that I was not a hopeless case.  We really picked my weight issue apart, but more than that she explained to me how the mind works, why it is so difficult to make permanent positive changes through will power alone and how my own attitude and emotional commitment to myself with the help of hypnosis would be important to give me the result that I wanted and needed.

 Silvia suggested a plan that would involve emotional work as well as weight loss. Six sessions in all.

I was nervous when I got to my first session, I had never been hypnotised before and   I was apprehensive about many things.  What if I was wasting my time and money, what if I couldn’t do it, what if, what if what if went round and round my head?  That first session was my turning point, my craving for sugar and chocolate disappeared that day, from day one I was able to stick to healthy foods. I’m not saying that it was all plain sailing but it was easy, much easier than I had ever expected. My second session we went so much deeper again and dealt with more bad habits.  

In my third session we really got down to dealing with emotional baggage.  We went so far back it was astonishing. I got to work with my inner child and realised that forgiveness was a really big thing for me. What totally surprised me was that I didn’t have to try to remember anything, under Silvia’s guidance the emotions simply came up and I let them go.  I can’t describe it but it was so peaceful and I felt better after it than I have in years. We worked on self-confidence, appreciation, feeling safe and loved.

Over the following sessions we continued working on tweaking my weight related mind-set and   worked on me becoming my own best friend. Hand on heart I can say I really believe that I came to know myself for the first time properly.  We sorted out exercise along the way and also what I actually was happy with in my life and what changes I wanted to make overall.  I’m very family orientated, my husband and my children are everything to me, I came to realise that I had left myself so much on the side lines constantly running around making sure that everyone  else was taken care off that I myself simply got lost along the way.

My first hypnosis session was in May 2018, I am now wearing size 12 clothes.  I am no longer at risk of diabetes. I am fitter, healthier and more confident than I thought I could ever be. I can finally say that I am happy with myself and that I genuinely like myself.  I’ve worked for this, I’ve earned my change in every way. I know that without hypnosis I would not have made it, not in a million years. I know in my heart that all my lucky stars aligned for me in finding the right hypnotherapist, skillful and genuinely dedicated to help me through it all the way.   Last year I walked the women’s mini marathon in aid of breast cancer awareness, this year I am going to run it. I have joined a photography club and absolutely love getting out there with my club buddies.   I always wanted to walk the Camino, Michael & I are going in September and I will be ready.

PS: Last but not least a big heartfelt thank you to Silvia from Advance Hypnosis in Gorey, couldn’t and wouldn’t have done it without you x