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Reaching my goal weight was great but maintaining it was more important - My Story of Weight-Loss

14th May 2019

Contained in this article to help you with your wellbeing, is one affiliate link for a nutrient tracker resource which may offer me a small reward for its promotion.

I’m often asked about the secret to my successful weight-loss. People tell me they've tried many diet plans and slimming programs that worked for a while but they end up re-gaining the weight they lost.

This got me thinking about my own journey of reaching and maintaining a healthy body weight. On reflection, despite some ups and downs, I realised there were specific factors that helped me to maintain healthy weight goals and one in particular. This is my story which I share with the intention that it supports you in your journey to healthy body weight.

Being Real

The most important factor that has helped me to achieve my weight goals and other life goals has been (and still is) the continuous development of self-awareness. It takes courage to be honest with ourselves and to genuinely seek ways to change our attitude and behaviours.

There was a time when I wore baggy clothing three sizes up from my current size. I love food but like a lot of people, I had a tendency to eat mindlessly when stressed or needing comfort. Keeping my weight under control had been a constant battle.

"This is my weight-loss story, what it was like starting out and how I succeeded in sticking to my goal weight."

Wake-up Call

Negative beliefs, self-doubt, anxiety, poor body image, I was riddled with them all. I had developed the habit of detaching from my emotions, acting like I didn’t matter at all. My needs and desires were unattainable and presented too much fear so it was better to not have any, that’s how I justified it to myself. Hence the baggy clothing in an effort not to draw any attention to myself.

This was not a good way to live. I was heading for burn out which I experienced in 1999. It was probably the worst moment of my life as I succumbed to deep sadness and stress. It was also my turning point, my Break True. If this was my worst moment, then it would hurt a lot less to pull myself together and start contemplating what I could actually get out of living.

From that moment on, I began to work on all aspects of my wellbeing.

I began to reclaim the real me. I dared to believe that I deserved to feel good, look good, to be dynamic, creative and free. It didn’t happen overnight and I could not have done it without the expertise I sought, along with a load of effort and persistence. This was the start of my ‘Authentic Path’.

"If this was my worst moment, then it would hurt a lot less to pull myself together and start contemplating what I could actually get out of living."

Finding Purpose

There was no silver bullet that got me into shape, a series of steps and moments of illumination led to my weight-loss and improved well-being. One of these steps involved honouring my desire to sing, so I joined a singing school to nurture my innate talent. This gave me a sense of purpose and motivation to heal and transform myself more fully.

Things that helped me in this journey were yoga, dance, fitness, counselling, reflexology, hypnotherapy and most importantly my commitment to my vocal studies which called for artistry through heightened self-awareness. I developed a more positive attitude and started to express myself more confidently and I loved that new feeling.

I joined a slimming program. Within 7 months I had reached my goal weight. I bought new clothes which showed off my new figure. I wore bright colours and dyed my hair red. My new figure caused a stir, with the result that a number of my colleagues started to join the slimming class that I'd been attending

"I developed a more positive attitude and started to express myself more confidently and I loved that new feeling."

Authentic Path Coach

Life is Hectic Sometimes

I worked hard to progress in my studies and keep my bills paid through jobs I took. At times took part-time work to allow more time to study, that also meant living on a shoe-string budget. It was worth it. I studied languages & world cultures, spirituality & the advancements in science and technology, all while remaining committed to my vocal studies and exploring additional art forms.

During those years, I maintained a steady weight but when I started my first business, life got hectic again. I was in new territory in both my work and personal life, the spot light was bigger and brighter. I got scared. An area of my life was still being affected by anxiety, if I continued to ignore this fact, all my other work would be in vain. This is what happens when you do this Authentic Path stuff, you come to face to face with your fears and they will not let up until you resolve to fight back.

It was a tumultuous time of stress, anxiety and emotional challenge. My weight slowly returned to where it had been in 1999, before my journey of transformation ever started, I was dismayed.

Not all Dreams Come True

Some people’s sense of purpose comes from being a parent, having and being a loving partner or having a fulfilling job. Having a sense of purpose propels us to attain our goals. But not all dreams materialise the way we desire, even if we've worked hard to make them real. I had two choices, rethink my purpose or shake things up to see if a new pathway would emerge. I chose the latter.

New Adventures

By managing my resources carefully, I travelled to Portugal’s Algarve, to see what opportunities might arise there. I reached out to the business community and after one week I found a way to stay there on a very low budget during the summer months in a caravan not far from the sea. I took part-time work in a cafe, rode a bicycle (in record breaking heat) up and down very steep hills and I volunteered during a fire on the mountain.

My new survival routine resulted in improved fitness and a healthy body weight once more. I made new friendships and I felt at peace in that beautiful sunny place but as regards restoring my sense of purpose, this was not any clearer.

Adventures in the Algarve 2019

New Beginnings & Letting Go

Returning from my wonderful adventure I had some sense of achievement but it wasn't enough. I took some inspiration from a video I watched in which Oprha Winfrey talked about giving up on her dream and having the acceptance to let go. I thought about this a lot.

I decided to return to Portugal during the winter holiday season. I decided to let go of all expectations and just enjoy the beauty of the place and take things as they came along. I would be grateful for the experience, knowing it would be a long time before I could have this opportunity again.

The most amazing things happened before, during and after this trip. New people entered my life, filling me with ideas and possibilities I had never previously anticipated. I became quite tuned in to the fact that these encounters were not accidental.

A series of events unfolded, it was like I was being prepared for a part in a show. Even though a friend died tragically during that period, despite the shock and sadness, it still felt like it was all part of a plan. I was being taken care of by some higher power in every decision I made and in every action I took. I didn’t know where it was leading me but I felt a very strong purpose behind it and from this I felt more assured that I was on the right path.

Ready for Change & Embracing new Tech

With a renewed sense of purpose and fresh outlook on life, I was ready for real change once more. I discovered some apps that monitor fitness and nutrition and helped me to improve my eating habits and exercise routine. Within four months of use I was amazed at what I have achieved. The two apps I use are Google Fit and Cronometer and the good news is that they're free.

Google Fit allows me to set fitness goals. It records my move minutes and heart points based on distances I walk and how much I exert myself. It can record other types of exercise too. Walking had been my usual exercise but I actually started to run for the first time in my life and became a regular at Park Run.

Cronometer is my ‘secret-agent’ nutrient-monitor; it shows my calorie allowance and my BMI (body mass index) for my gender, height and age. Cronometer also shows me the amount of nutrients I am ingesting. For example, I might need to add extra calcium based foods to my diet to get the recommended allowance.

"Having real data before my eyes gives me the power to make the right choices when it comes to healthy eating."

Author of Seven C's to Calm - Reclaiming your Anxiety-free Self

The Cronometer requires me to weigh every edible thing I put in my mouth. I don’t see this as a chore because I’m getting good results. I have a small digital scales on my kitchen table which makes it very easy for me to weigh my servings. Having real data before my eyes gives me the power to make the right choices when it comes to healthy eating.

Using the Cronometer has influenced me to eat smaller portions of rice and pasta while increasing my in-take of vegetables and fruit. The Cronometer doesn’t tell me what to eat but I’ve been choosing non-processed foods as much as possible.

It's important to have variety. There's nothing fun about eating the same thing every day. I have a breakfast box which I’ve stocked up with a variety of nuts, seeds and dried fruits. I have hazelnuts, pecans, brazils, linseed, poppy, chia and sesame seeds, dates, prunes and sultanas. I have a jar of porridge oats and I maintain a supply of fresh fruit such as apples, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, melon and oranges.

In the mornings, I choose different combinations of these breakfast foods. I weigh my portions and enter the amounts into the Cronometer. One morning I might have yogurt with slices of orange and a sprinkle of sesame seeds and linseeds and the next morning, I could have porridge with dates or chia seeds.

Cronometer has given me the incentive to prepare my lunch and snacks for days when I am on the move, this means I can more easily stay within my calorie allowance and save some money too. I’ve started to explore new foods such as quinoa and yam and I experiment with flavours through use of spices and herbs. Instead of boiling my vegetables, I roast them in olive oil so as to retain all the flavour and texture. I still enjoy chocolate and cake treats now and again and the odd glass of red wine but I always stay within my calorie allowance.

Another advantage of using both of these apps is that they synchronise with each other. Google Fit tells the Cronometer how many calories I burned during my daily exercise. These calories (kilo-calories) are added to my daily allowance of calorie intake which means I can enjoy more of the food I like.

In both apps, I can record my weight as it changes and view a chart that shows my record over a period of time. I take into account that it’s normal for weight to fluctuate slightly from day to day and especially for women going through menstrual cycles.

Consistently using these two apps has allowed me to lose a stone weight (6.4kg) and to maintain that weight by staying focused on what I eat and on my exercise routine. I definitely recommend giving the apps a try. However, if you're serious about maintaining health and fitness you should realise that your mental attitude will play a big part in your success and this ties in with having a sense of purpose.

Inspiration for healthy living

"If you’re serious about maintaining health and fitness you should realise that your mental attitude will play a big part in your success and this ties in with having a sense of purpose."

Mind, body, heart and soul need to be working in unison. All aspects of yourself need to shift into a new gear in preparation for success. I share my story to provide inspiration for your unique Authentic Path to well-being.

Key Things to Note

  • Remember, I did not achieve success alone. I sought support for the things that were impacting my mental and physical health. Learning how to deal with anxiety led me to be more confident in the area that had been its trigger. I wanted more people to know that it is possible to reduce anxiety, so I wrote a book to support people who want to do this for themselves. My book is called ‘Seven C’s to Calm – Reclaiming your Anxiety-free Self.’ I also became reflexology specialist and I now provide Authentic Path coaching & courses for people who want to make their lives amazing.
  • Before embarking on any significant weight-loss programme you should consult your doctor, especially if there are underlying mental or physical conditions that are impacting your body weight.
  • While I’m a fan of the Cronometer, it does have some anomalies in terms of exact nutrient content of some branded food. The app is constantly being updated and improved with feedback from its users.
  • Forming new habits and sticking to them is easier when you have an accountability partner or someone who joins you in your new routine. Meeting new people with new perspectives helps to move us out of old ways of thinking and acting. Be open to making some new friends with a healthy outlook on life.
  • Consider having a supportive coach on board who understands what it's like to feel the fear and to reclaim the real you and the life you want to live.

Does my story resonate with you? Would you like to explore options for making some changes in your own life? Get in touch to discuss what you have in mind or if you're not quite ready to take the leap you're welcome to join our Authentic Path Explorers newsletter for people who want a better life.

Caroline Cunningham

Transforming your life is possible at any age, my own journey is a testimony to that. I believe authenticity and wellness are intrinsic to success in all areas of life. It takes courage and passion and they are within you, waiting to for the spark to set them alive. When you read my posts I hope you will get sense of my capacity to help you to succeed with your dreams and goals. Check out my books, online courses and personal wellness programmes designed to guide you towards the most powerful authentic version of yourself. Learn more about my journey here.

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    I was stressed with a lot going on in my life. I needed to find space to clear my mind. Caroline helped me to relax. Then, by asking me a few relevant questions I got an ‘aha moment’. I left with an idea for starting a new business doing something I really care about. I discovered my passion and left feeling energised.

    M. Ryan, Canada

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    The biggest benefit of the coaching programme was having someone to listen to me, who ‘gets’ what’s going on with me. Caroline helped me to put in place a step by step self-care routine. Also, I’m more aware of the signs of anxiety and stress now and am able to do things that reduce their effects.

    Sarah-Jane, Carlow, Ireland

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    I recommend Caroline Cunningham to anyone seeking the path of authenticity, whatever way that manifests itself. I’ve heard nothing but exceptional reviews of her reflexology therapy, as a seeker of the light myself, I find Caroline very inspiring.

    Rachel Nolan, Yogiberry, Carlow

  • So Inspiring

    Caroline's passion and creativity in everything she does is so inspiring. Her enthusiasm will certainly guide you to success.Caroline's passion and creativity in everything she does is so inspiring. Her enthusiasm will certainly guide you to success.

    Kerry Manning Author

  • A Fresh New Perspective

    Caroline's Seven C’s to Calm offers a fresh, new perspective on how we view our anxiety with a workbook to help track, monitor and record your progress. A simple and effective approach in helping you in reclaiming your anxiety-free self!

    Krystal Long, Mental Health & Wellness Facilitator, Ireland

  • Invites Peace & Tranquility

    Caroline poems are soothing and inspiring. Her words have the power to captivate and charm the soul. Connecting with Nature is a very effective way to reduce symptoms of stress, because it slows down the mind and helps the body to relax. Reading poetry is an instant way of inviting peace and tranquillity into your life. Caroline combines both in ‘The Whisperings of Nature’.

    Gloria Mc Breen, We Are Holistic, Ireland

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    Caroline’s four week well-being workshop opened my eyes and made me realise the importance of having time for myself. I cannot help anyone else if I cannot help myself.

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  • Learning to Relax & Listen

    I really enjoyed the workshops and would like to continue. I learned how to relax more and to listen better and I made new friends. I highly recommend Caroline as a facilitator.

    Katrena Blake, Hacketstown, Carlow

  • I Discovered My Passion

    I was stressed with a lot going on in my life. I needed to find space to clear my mind. Caroline helped me to relax. Then, by asking me a few relevant questions I got an ‘aha moment’. I left with an idea for starting a new business doing something I really care about. I discovered my passion and left feeling energised.

    M. Ryan, Canada

    More Aware of Signs of Stress & Anxiety

    The biggest benefit of the coaching programme was having someone to listen to me, who ‘gets’ what’s going on with me. Caroline helped me to put in place a step by step self-care routine. Also, I’m more aware of the signs of anxiety and stress now and am able to do things that reduce their effects.

    Sarah-Jane, Carlow, Ireland

    Authentic Path Inspiration

    I recommend Caroline Cunningham to anyone seeking the path of authenticity, whatever way that manifests itself. I’ve heard nothing but exceptional reviews of her reflexology therapy, as a seeker of the light myself, I find Caroline very inspiring.

    Rachel Nolan, Yogiberry, Carlow

  • So Inspiring

    Caroline's passion and creativity in everything she does is so inspiring. Her enthusiasm will certainly guide you to success.

    Kerry Manning Author

    A Fresh New Perspective

    Caroline's Seven C’s to Calm offers a fresh, new perspective on how we view our anxiety with a workbook to help track, monitor and record your progress. A simple and effective approach in helping you in reclaiming your anxiety-free self!

    Krystal Long, Mental Health & Wellness Facilitator, Ireland

    Invites Peace & Tranquility

    Caroline poems are soothing and inspiring. Her words have the power to captivate and charm the soul. Connecting with Nature is a very effective way to reduce symptoms of stress, because it slows down the mind and helps the body to relax. Reading poetry is an instant way of inviting peace and tranquillity into your life. Caroline combines both in ‘The Whisperings of Nature’.

    Gloria Mc Breen,
    We Are Holistic, Ireland

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    Alison MacColl, Reflexology Therapist

    Importance of Time for Self Care

    Caroline’s four week well-being workshop opened my eyes and made me realise the importance of having time for myself. I cannot help anyone else if I cannot help myself.

    Mag, Co. Carlow

    Learning to Relax & Listen

    I really enjoyed the workshops and would like to continue. I learned how to relax more and to listen better and I made new friends. I highly recommend Caroline as a facilitator.

    Katrena Blake, Hacketstown, Carlow

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