Sports mad Mike Beckett loved playing football, but when he developed problems with osteoarthritis in his hip, he could barely move and piled on the pounds. He tells AASMA DAY how losing four stones gave him the motivation to start exercising again.
Whenever he drove his car into a parking space, Mike Beckett would ensure he was well away from other vehicles to make sure he had enough space to swing his legs around to get out.
Mike, now 58, recalls: “My love of sport and in particular football, had always kept me fit and healthy, but I developed osteoarthritis in my left hip which eventually stopped me playing when I was 43.
“The osteoporosis worsened over a few years and I really began to struggle. It got to the stage when I could not sit down or stand up.
“I reached the point where if I had been driving anywhere, it would take me 10 minutes to get out of the car.
“I would have to park well away from other cars so I could fully open the door and then swing my legs around.
“If anyone parked close to my car while I was gone, I would not be able to get back in the car.”
Mike, who is married to Deborah and lives in Whalley, near Clitheroe, says he realised his weight had got out of control. He says: “Every February half term, my wife and I go on holiday to Lanzarote and last year we started talking about how we both needed to lose some weight.
“Being on holiday we had the time to think and talk about what we were going to do.
“We’d both heard of LighterLife and had seen the success Pauline Quirke had on the programme. An appointment with my doctor when I got back really kickstarted me though, as he had a few stern words about my rising blood pressure and cholesterol.
“I knew my weight had been going up rapidly since my hip got unbearably painful in my early 50s.
“At points even walking was agony so I had no incentive to lose the weight and was putting on more all the time.
“Luckily I underwent a hip replacement operation in 2009, so have got full movement back, but by that point my lifestyle had become very sedentary.”
Mike, who works for East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, turned to the LighterLife Weight Loss Management programme, attending award-winning counsellor Carol Gamble’s classes in Chorley.
He weighed 16st 2lbs when he started along with his wife Deborah in March 2012. They undertook the Total programme where ordinary eating is replaced by four specially-formulated food packs per day, alongside weekly counselling sessions to assess the psychological issues behind over-eating and ensure a permanent lifestyle change.
After just four months, Mike had lost four stones and has since completed Route to Management, where food is gradually reintroduced in a controlled manner combined with counselling and now weighs 12st.
Deborah has also achieved a total weight loss of two-and-a-half stones.
Mike, who has three grown-up children and one grandchild, says doing LighterLife together with his wife was a great help. He explains: “Not only did it make sense from a practical point of view with regards to mealtimes, but we were also each other’s support system.
“The main thrust of LighterLife is that the problem with overeating isn’t physical, it is in your head, which the counselling really helps with.
“Having someone to talk through each of the counselling sessions with separately each week really helped Deborah and I too.
“I’ve always been a really positive person anyway, but since doing LighterLife I really feel like I have got my self-confidence and esteem back too.
“What has changed my life the most though isn’t my new physique it’s my passion for exercise.
“The more weight I lost, the easier it became to exercise and now I have taken up road running.
“I had never thought of trying to run before I lost the weight, but once I started, I got hooked.
“Granted, I do have to be careful as my hip replacement only has a limited life, but I am focussed again on staying fit and healthy.
“Soon after my weight loss I completed a 10k run and then completed the London marathon.
“I have now run two London marathons, the Chester Marathon and some marathons abroad. I have also done many half marathons and 10km runs and in a few weeks, I will be running a marathon in Lanzarote.
“The side effects of all the exercise are tremendous. I’ve got so much more energy and am always up for doing new things.
“Doing LighterLife has definitely changed my relationship with Deborah. We’re closer and both feel much younger and happier. It’s brilliant.
“We’d both got so comfortable in our lives but now it’s a completely different story. We are both full of energy and looking forward to what the future holds.”
Award-winning LighterLife counsellor Carol Gamble holds classes in Chorley for anybody in the Preston, Southport, Chorley and Blackburn areas.
Since becoming a counsellor in 2005, Carol has helped locals lose 26,141.45kg.
To book in for a class with Carol, visit the LighterLife website.
LighterLife is a weight loss and weight management programme that has been providing 20 years of life changing weight loss with a unique approach underpinned by three crucial elements - mind, body and support.
LighterLife provide life changing weight loss by combining a personal support programme underpinned with a proven psychological approach that focuses on what goes on in your head rather than in your mouth, with a very low calorie diet or low calorie diet for weight loss.
After weight loss, the weight management programme supports sustained weight-loss alongside the introduction of healthy food and eating plans - all of which are delivered by weekly group support with qualified LighterLife Counsellors. LighterLife has helped more than 250,000 people in the UK and Ireland change the way they think about food and achieve long term and life changing weight loss success.