Norwich weight loss instructor’s battle with the bulge

Lisa Fitch, from Happisburgh, lost eight stone with Weight Watchers and has managed to keep it off f

Lisa Fitch, from Happisburgh, lost eight stone with Weight Watchers and has managed to keep it off for 11 years. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Losing weight is difficult especially when once you stop dieting the pounds pile back on. So what if you could lose that weight for good? Emma Harrowing talks to the Norfolk woman who lost weight and 11 years on she has still won her battle with the bulge.

Lisa Fitch before she lost eight stone.

Lisa Fitch before she lost eight stone. - Credit: Archant

A 17 year old Lisa Fitch stood on the scales and rejoiced as the needle pointed to a number that was four stone lighter than the year before. Now 42, Lisa looks back at her teenage years with a sigh: 'I have yo-yo dieted since I was about 16 years old when I weighed 16 stone,' says Lisa. 'Each year I could lose between four to six stone but in the same year regain the weight I lost along with a few more pounds.'

By the time Lisa was 29 she was 18 stone. Fed up with squeezing into her clothes, feeling out of breath and suffering from achey knee joints she decided to give up dieting and change her eating habits forever.

'It was when I saw myself in a photograph holding my new born daughter that I realised just how big I had got - I didn't like it,' says Lisa who lives in Happisburgh.

'When people learn that I lost weight doing Weight Watchers they immediately think that I am back to faddy dieting again, but the programme is not like being on a diet at all. The plan helped me reassess and change my lifestyle, enabling me to make healthier choices, manage portions and importantly create new routines to support me and protect me in a world full of food temptation.'

After losing eight stone following the diet and lifestyle plan Lisa was determined not to pile the weight back on.

'In the past, once I stopped following whichever diet I was on my old bad eating habits crept back and slowly I put more weight back on. This time I had learnt to change my eating habits and I just continued eating this way with a few more treats and I have maintained my weight for over 11 years.'

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Before changing her eating habits Lisa would regularly skip breakfast, then snack on crisps, chocolate and biscuits before buying a high calorie sandwich, crisps and cake for lunch. Dinner would consist of a ready made meal and not much fruit and vegetables.

Lisa says: 'My everyday diet has changed so much to how it was and in fact I eat a lot more now than I ever did before! I never miss breakfast which is usually porridge, lunch is a homemade sandwich with lots of salad, ham or low fat cheese, low calorie crisps and maybe a low calorie chocolate bar. Dinner with the family is something like roast chicken with roast potatoes and vegetables. If I'm hungry I snack on fruit and sometimes even a bowl of porridge late evening.'

Lisa now shares her lifestyle tips with others who are battling the bulge. She holds Weight Watchers classes in Thorpe St Andrew in Norwich, Cromer, Stalham and Hoveton.

'If you are resolving to lose weight in 2013, make sure to set yourself up for success,' says Lisa. 'Firstly, start by finding a weight loss plan that is flexible, suits you individually and leads to long term success rather than a quick fix. You also need to introduce more activity into your day such as walking to the shops or having a swim. And never give up at the first hurdle. So you ate a chocolate bar, forgive yourself and get back on track.

'Since my weight loss and because of my continued weight maintenance, I feel much fitter, younger, healthier and more confident than I did as a teenager. I love clothes shopping because I can pick my clothes size off the rail and nine times out of ten it fits. There's no more squeezing into clothes.'