Alicia Blaney joined LighterLife in 2007, losing 11 stone in 9 months. She went on to become a LighterLife Counsellor, using her experience as a client to help others achieve their weight loss goals. Alicia is now opening a new LighterLife centre in St Albans. Here, she tells us all about her journey.
LighterLife: Tell us a bit about how you became a LighterLife Counsellor. How can you relate to your clients?
Alicia: I started with LighterLife as a client because I was desperate to lose the weight that had crept on. It was a life-changing experience for me and when I had completed it, I knew I wanted to help others achieve their goals like I had. I know that change isn’t always easy, and I can really empathise with clients because I’ve been in their shoes.
LighterLife: What services will you offer at your LighterLife centre?
Alicia: We have small groups for both men and women, which they attend during their weight loss stage. After that, we also have an ongoing management programme which clients can use as little or often as they need it. We also offer pop-in sessions that clients can come to if they need a bit of extra support mid-week.
LighterLife: In your opinion, what are the most common reasons for overeating and how can people address those?
Alicia: There are many reasons for overeating, but a busy lifestyle and emotional eating are the most common. In our groups, clients will look at their own relationships with food and start to recognise their own behaviour. This is the first step towards making the changes they need to lose weight.
LighterLife: Are there differences between men and women in their attitudes to food and how they approach weight loss?
Alicia: Everyone is different, but generally speaking men tend to want just the facts and what they need to do – they see it as a means to an end and just want to get the job done. On the other hand, women like to discuss how they’re feeling in a bit more depth and draw on their own experiences.
LighterLife: What are you most looking forward to about opening your new LighterLife centre?
Alicia: Those of us who have struggled with weight for years know it’s not just a case of ‘eat less and move more’. We need to change our thinking before we can change our behaviour around food. Some clients think it’s just them that have certain thoughts, but during the group sessions they take comfort in the fact that they’re not alone. So what I’m most looking forward is sharing that message with people.
LighterLife: What’s do you think is going to be your biggest challenge?
Alicia: Some people just want to come and buy packs, and explaining to clients how great the group work is can be a challenge at first. The packs will help you lose weight, but it’s the groups that give you the tools you need to make the changes necessary for long-term weight management. You won’t know how great the groups are until you try one.
LighterLife: What keeps you motivated?
Alicia: Seeing clients transform before my eyes really motivates me – and it’s not just about how their bodies are changing, but the fact that they’re growing in confidence. The changes that clients notice, to some, can be small things, but to the client it’s a great feeling. Being able to do up your seat belt more easily, painting your toenails without difficulty, walking more, clothes shopping – these are things many take for granted, but for clients who haven’t been able to do it previously and now can, it’s a joy.
LighterLife: What exciting things have you got planned to celebrate your launch?
Alicia: The fabulous Denise Welch, who has lost 1 stone 4lbs in 5 weeks with LighterLife, will be joining us on Monday 24 June from 7pm when we open the new centre. She’s a real inspiration to people starting out on their journey and she’s really committed to her LighterLife journey. The event takes place at 4A Parkway, Porter’s Wood, St Albans, AL3 6PA – so if you’re in the area, please do pop along and see her!
LighterLife: How can people get in touch with you if they’re interested in joining LighterLife St Albans?
Alicia: You can get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling me on 01727 894 887.
If you’re a LighterLife Counsellor and you’d like to be featured here, please email email@example.com to find out how you can get involved.