School was a tough time for James Farrell, who tended to get bullied for being overweight. He felt alone and was embarrassed about his size. The harder it became emotionally, the more he ate – a vicious cycle.
After losing a little weight after school, James got married at 21 and changed jobs. Being in a happy relationship coupled with the change in work environment meant James felt happy and comfortable. As a result he started eating more food which in turn led to weight gain.
It was at this point that James developed bulimia. He would binge eat, feel ashamed of what he had just done and make himself sick as a consequence. He also began excessively exercising: training at the gym 2-3 times a day, 5 times a week. He lost weight and became thin but felt unhappy and more worryingly, desperately unhealthy.
James’s solution was to swap one extreme for another so he stopped attending the gym, started eating again and soon piled on the pounds. He had yet to find a healthy weight loss solution that worked for him.
The turning point: finding LighterLife
At 35, James had recently experienced the breakdown of his marriage. He had two children and didn’t want them to feel embarrassed of their ‘fat’ dad. James decided to join LighterLife after contacting his local Counsellor, Lisa Grove. He joined in January 2011.
James talks about LighterLife:
“LighterLife isn’t just a healthy weight loss programme, it is a change programme. Yes I lost weight but it was about saying to myself, ‘Get a grip on life. Be who you want to be.’
There were a number of men in my group who you could tell were after a short-term fix; they just wanted to lose weight. But there were a couple of us who really got involved in the conversations and the group work – we are the ones who have kept the weight off!
I’ve got so much out of my group but also out of the LighterLife forums and the LighterLife Facebook Page. Not only are they motivating, but they’re great as you can read other people’s opinions and points of view.
When I was younger I bottled up all my feelings, which led to eating; now I can share my feelings with others. It has been a very positive process for me.
LighterLife has been a revelation, I wouldn’t call it a diet; I’d call it a life change programme. I feel better on the inside and out. I can’t stress enough how much it has helped me.