Local man Jonathan McCullough is proof that overcoming the guilt associated with comfort eating can lead to a lasting weight loss.
With the help of Slimming World, Jonathan has lost over 10 stones, and battled his demons with food.
“As someone who had struggled with my weight for many years I had tried lots of different diets in the past. Life would always get in the way at some point though and I’d go off track. It would knock my confidence and I’d end up feeling like a failure and like I couldn’t stick at anything,” Jonathan explained.
He added: “When you have an unhealthy relationship with food, as I did at the time, comfort eating can feel like the only way to make yourself feel better. I’d turn to chips, pies, cakes, all the high fat high sugar foods but afterwards I’d feel even more guilty and empty and before long I’d have given up completely.
“Since joining Slimming World my outlook has changed completely.
“I have a much healthier relationship with my food and have learned that I don’t need to starve myself in order to lose weight.
“And as far as the emotional side of losing weight goes, with the support of other people who have experienced the same things I gradually started to realise that I wasn’t the only one who felt like a failure when things went wrong. We’re all human and we all have our off days, the important thing is that we’re able to forgive ourselves and draw a line under it.
“Now if I ever have a lapse I’m careful to always talk to myself as Sharon would any of the members in group – with encouragement, support and without any judgement or blame.”
Jonathan attends the St Patrick’s Slimming World group in Antrim, and class leader Sharon Blyth believes that if people want to lose weight for good this year then they need to learn to be kinder to themselves when things go wrong.
Sharon explained that new Slimming World survey found that almost everyone who had tried to lose weight in the past (98%) had experienced a slip-up where they went off-track in a way that they worried would affect their weight loss journey.
After they lapsed, 84% of slimmers automatically criticised themselves, calling themselves ‘weak’, ‘stupid’ and ‘a failure’ – words they would never have used to describe someone else in their position.
This harsh criticism was found to lead to comfort eating or giving up on those diets completely.
As a result of recognising that they’re only human and applauding their own determination, the research found that Slimming World members are now less likely to comfort eat and more likely to get back on track within a day or two, and more likely to lose weight and keep it off.
For more information about the local Slimming World group at St Patrick’s Church email email@example.com or call 07715304791. Groups are held every Tuesday at 10am, 5.30pm and 7.30pm.