A mum who spent thousands on weight loss products has revealed the inexpensive way she has since dropped five dress sizes.
Aisia Howard, 36, used weight loss replacement meals to shift the pounds in 2011, only to regain all of her weight after the programme ended.
But since then, the Portsmouth mum, who is determined to keep fit for her 11-year-old son, Leo, has gone from a size 16 to a size six without any help.
She is convinced that best way to shed the pounds is to stay off the scales and to ignore your weight, Aisia says that this is the reason she has been able to maintain her new frame.
Aisia said: “I used to be miserable, even after losing weight because I was just hungry and moody all the time.
“I didn’t have any energy for exercise and I ended up piling the weight back on once I started eating normally again.
“I never imagined I’d be at the point now where I can easily slip into size 6 clothes.”
Aisia, who works with children with special needs and disabilities, began her battle to diet in 2010 when Leo was around a year old.
She said: “When I was younger, I was a gymnast but once I settled into family life I got comfortable and the weight crept up.
“When I first met my husband, Dale, in 2005, I was very active, and had always been slim but over time that changed.”
The couple loved ordering pizza and Chinese takeaways and by the time Aisia tied the knot with Dale, 38, a project manager for an engineering company, in September 2007 she was a size 12/14 .
Within two years later, and after giving birth to her son Leo in July 2009, Aisia was a size 16.
Aisia said: “I look back at my wedding pictures now and feel miserable, I hate all of the photos.
“I was in a cycle of clothes looking worn and tired so I’d throw them out, get some new ones and need the next size up, it would just constantly creep up.”
Aisia decided to change her body to keep healthy for her little boy but it wasn’t easy.
She said: “After having Leo, I started to diet but I constantly yo-yoed back and forth for years.
“I could never keep the weight off.”
By 2011, Aisia decided enough was enough and booked herself into a weight loss clinic.
“My husband suggested it,” she said. “He knew I was really unhappy and the money seemed worth it, if it meant I could be happier.”
Aisia paid to attend a programme at the private clinic and her weight loss treatment involved her living on meal replacements to shift the pounds.
She added: “They give you all the food you can eat each day and it gives you a massive calorie deficit.”
She added: “I took supplements as well to make sure I still got all of my vital nutrients, vitamins and minerals.”
When Aisia completed the programme three months later, she was a size 10, but says she struggled to maintain her new figure.
She said: “The difference in my size was noticeable quite quickly. The group had cost me around £5,000.
“It was money that we didn’t necessarily have so it was put on a credit card. We’ve paid it off now.
“It was a dramatic weight loss but regaining the weight was inevitable.”
She continued: “There had been very little education on what I should and shouldn’t eat so I soon fell into my old snacking and eating habits.”
The weight just crept back on and Aisia said: “I don’t think I realised until it was too late.”
Finally, in January 2020, Aisia was a size 14 again and made the decision to shift the weight once more, this time on her own.
She said: “I started to exercise and consider what I was putting into my body. I swapped out some carbs for veg and worked out, doing boxercise and aerobics most days.
“It wasn’t as gruelling as the weight loss programme because I wasn’t in a dramatic calorie deficit.
“I was just doing it at my own pace.”
She added: “I stopped obsessing over the number on the scales, in fact, I refuse to keep track of how much I weigh now as I don’t think it does you any favours to focus on it.
“Your weight will go up and down, and if you’re exercising you might even gain weight due to muscle building.”
“I much prefer to track myself based on body fat.
“I eat more now than I used to do before; I’ve got such a better relationship with food and I love it.
“Friends will comment about what great shape I’m in now and it’s great to get that positive feedback from people I care about.”
Now, Aisia works with other people to help them change their lives and lose weight.
She said: “I aim to make sure the people I’m helping are eating enough and exercising.
“Diets don’t work in the long run and certainly didn’t work for me. It took a lifestyle change to keep the weight off for good.
“Fingers crossed, we’ll be allowed out and I want to be in the position where I can feel comfortable in a bikini.
“Being physically active and doing things as a family is really what makes me happy.
“I think that’s the most important thing and now I feel fit enough to keep up with my son.”
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