Pauline Duff, 52, from Glasgow started the LighterLife weight loss programme in April 2008, weighing 16 stone 5 lbs. She lost almost four stone – but it was just the beginning for Pauline. Since then, she’s travelled the world and is now a LighterLife counsellor, helping others to take the plunge and change their lives for the better.
LighterLife: What triggered you to want to lose weight?
Pauline: The main driver for starting the LighterLife programme was for health reasons. While there wasn’t anything seriously medically wrong with me, I was suffering the effects of stress from a highly responsible position in the civil service, including lack of sleep, higher than average blood pressure and aching joints.
I think approaching the big 5-0 made me more conscious of my overall health as I was getting older, added to the fact that I had sadly lost a close friend to cancer. I realised that I needed to take greater care of myself.
LighterLife: What were your habits like before you joined LighterLife?
Pauline: I’d slowly been putting on more weight over the years and in the previous eight years my work-life balance had been very much in favour of my career. Travelling around the country, grabbing convenience food, snacking on buffets and no physical exercise had all taken its toll on my waistline.
LighterLife: How did the programme change you as a person?
Pauline: The lasting effects weren’t simply losing almost four stone in weight – the counselling I did as part of the programme provided me with the tools I needed to re-evaluate my life. I started to question what was really important to me, rather than just accepting that my job defined who I was.
In March 2010 I was offered the opportunity to leave my position and while it took a lot of courage, I grabbed it with both hands. I was keen to gain more control over my life and the LighterLife group therapy had made me more self-aware. I wanted to take some time to find out who I really was. I decided to take a year out of the ‘rat race’, and travel the world.
LighterLife: What did you go on to do?
Pauline: Starting out in the Shetland Islands and then on to Canada, it was my love of sailing that took me to the Mediterranean, where I spent some time crewing on yachts that needed an extra pair of hands. During this time one of the sailors suggested I might want to consider the Atlantic Rally Cruises (ARC).
While I was a perfectly competent sailor, having been sailing since 1989, this was totally out of my comfort zone. ARC was ocean-going, sailing 24/7 for 22 days, in constant shifts of three hours on and six hours off. With a crew that consisted of six people (including me) plus a skipper, we sailed across the Atlantic from Gran Canaria to St Lucia.
I don’t wholly attribute the ability to go travelling and undertake the ARC trip to losing weight as I’ve always had the travelling bug, but I do believe that it is because of LighterLife and the counselling that I was in the right mindset to go in search of an adventure and find myself. I rounded off my travels with a trip to Australia and New Zealand.
LighterLife: How did you become a LighterLife counsellor?
Pauline: Once I got back to the UK, I had a big decision to make – what was my next step? Getting back into the ‘rat race’ just didn’t fit with the person I had become. And that’s when I thought about LighterLife. I’ve been a counsellor for just under a year now and going from the security of being a civil servant to pretty much running my own business, as a LighterLife franchisee has been a big step but on the whole I feel I have changed my life for the better.
Being a LighterLife counsellor, I now give back to others on the journey to find themselves. LighterLife helped me to realise there was a different person inside me and as a result changed my whole life. Now I get to help others do that too – it’s brilliant.
If you’re currently on LighterLife and you’d like to be featured here, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can get involved.