A husband and wife from Bovingdon won’t be joining the scores of us who promise to lose those stubborn pounds this year because they’ve already achieved their goals – and now they’re helping others to do the same.
Dee McKenna first embarked on the LighterLife programme weighing 18st 9lbs after comfort eating left her overweight and unhappy, and the final straw came in the form of a cake.
The 48-year-old said: “My husband Dean worked away a lot, so I was often by myself and looking for things to do to kill the time.
“I went into Waitrose and bought a massive coffee and walnut cake, took it straight home and started stuffing my face.
“My labradors were watching me, drooling, and it was then I realised that they weren’t the disgusting ones – I was. I threw the cake in the bin and burst into tears. I joined LighterLife straight away.”
Dean, 45, previously worked as a senior director in procurement for fast-food firm McDonald’s, and he admitted that his size made him feel embarrassed.
He said: “I always felt uncomfortable being the face of the company being so overweight. I felt that everyone was thinking ‘Look at him, he’s had too many Big Macs’. Unfortunately, they were right.”
After seeing his wife’s success on the programme – which involves four specially formulated food packs per day alongside weekly counselling sessions – Dean signed up and started his journey weighing 20st 9lbs.
He now weighs a healthy 14st and his achievement meant he could pluck up the courage to quit his job at McDonald’s and set up his own procurement consultancy which was always a dream of his.
Dean, who originally comes from Australia, said: “Before I didn’t have the confidence to set up my own business because I didn’t feel presentable at the size I was. There’s a bad stigma about fat people and that they are stupid and inadequate. “Although I was far from either of those things, I still felt that way. LighterLife gave me the confidence to do my own thing and believe in myself.”
Dee worked hard to reach her goal weight of 12 stone, and is so evangelical about the programme that she’s now a LighterLife consultant herself with Dean as her back-up.
She said: “I was always interested in psychology and LighterLife is the perfect vehicle for me to practice my vocation.
“The programme has most certainly changed Dean’s and my life for the better – we are the happiest we have ever been. It’s not just about food and what you eat, it is also about the way you think about things.”
Alongside the food replacement sachets, weekly counselling sessions ensure a permanent lifestyle change as they encourage candidates to reflect on their relationship with food and their eating habits before ordinary food is slowly reintroduced.