The Great Shape Up Challenge

zest sophieWe kick start 6 readers to lose weight to lose a stone in 8 weeks

Sophie Shenow the yo-yo eater

Age: 28

Weight: 11st 8lbs

Height: 5ft 4in

Dress size: 14

Goal: to achieve a healthy balance in my life

‘I’ve always gone from one extreme to the other. One week I’ll go to the gym everyday and eat healthily, the next I won’t do any exercise and just go to the pub or sit on the sofa. I was diagnosed with endometriosis when I was 13, so I follow a special diet, but because my condition causes me a lot of pain and makes me lethargic, it prevents me from exercising regularly. Over the past few months, my exercise routine has gone downhill and I’ve probably been going to the gym only twice a month.

‘Even though I eat a lot of fruit, salad and vegetables, I get peckish at about 11am and just reach for whatever’s easiest – crisps, sandwiches or chocolate. I don’t necessarily want to cut down my food intake, I just need to become more aware of what I’m eating and why I’m eating it.’

Programme – Slim Naturally Programme

Slim Naturally is a six-week programme designed to help and support people or drinking habits. The course involves class discussion, hypnotherapy and neuro-linquistic programming (NLP) techniques. This makes it perfect for Sophie’s extreme nature. ‘Slim Naturally allows people to develop new, healthier habits by learning to do things differently,’ says Jennie Francis, founder of Slim Naturally. ‘ The weekly sessions with six other people enable everyone to find ot what’s going well and what they’re finding difficult.’ There’s also a 15-25 minute relaxation session every week. ‘I use various hypnotherapy and NLP techniques to enable members to change how they view themselves,’ says Jennie. ‘BY helping to build people’s self-confidence, we can give them the motivation they need to succeed.’

Week 4

Sophie’s progress

Start weight 11st 8lb

Lost so far: 7lb

I’m really enjoying the programme. It’s so relaxing and I always feel inspired afterwards, which helps me to stick to my good habits. During the session, I tend to chat about my eating during the week and I have to confess all my sins! Jennie Francis (founder of Slim Naturally Programmed) then asks me to focus on what I want to achieve in the coming week. I’ve found this really motivates me to pay attention to my goals and I renew my vow to exercise more, and eat and drink less of what’s bad for me.

I’ve always been quite healthy and eaten a lot of fruit and vegetables, but now I’m focusing more on how much food I need rather than snacking mindlessly, and I’m eating half the amount.

‘My attitude and willpower are definitely stronger. Although I may slip p every now and then and have a piece of chocolate, I’m now more than likely to ignore that urge and have a herbal tea or just keep myself busy by going for a walk.

‘My clothes are already really loose on me, which is just so exciting. I’m determined to stick to the diet and keep exercising, not just for these eight weeks of the Challenge, but for life.’

Week 8

‘I feel like a new person. I’ve got so much more energy and feel positive about everything in my life now. I’ve been exercising a lot – swimming and cycling, and doing yoga and aerobics. One of the best things I learned was to stop feeling guilty if I missed a day at the gym or ate something I shouldn’t. My new way of thinking is meant to be forever and it’s been quite a feat retraining my mind and body. All I think now is that I want to be happy and healthy. I haven’t changed what I eat, just how much – I still have chocolate if I feel like it, but I’m more likely to have a cup of herbal tea instead. I feel so much more confident, balanced and motivated and, best of all, I’ve lost the roll around my middle, which had really been depressing me. I’ve dropped 2 dress sizes and now have to shop for a new wardrobe!’