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April 10, 2008



Funny you should bring this diet up. Just read a new article on it. Scary diet!!


We have a few ladies at the gym who did it - losing around 4 stone each and now fretting as it's all coming back on!

Andrea Wren

Sarah I'm so glad you pointed this article out, as I notice the Inside Out programme is on TV tonight - thanks! I'll be watching that x


Lighter life is one of the few diets I haven't tried, mostly because of the cost!
I recently joined Slimming World and just two weeks of listening to those women and how stuck they are in that mentality sent me running for Beyond Chocolate and the books of Geneen Roth. With relief.


I did the lighter life diet and lost 3 stone in 3 months, I've put 2 stone back on in 5 months though. The counselling did not help me with my food issues and in fact seemed to be focused more on the groups childhood negative experiences ... I had the best happiest and most happy childhood with wonderful parents .. I just love Food!!! I found it insulting that the group leader found blame in childhood for our eating habbits ...


After losing 3 stones I only put a few pounds back on and maintained my weight for more than 3 years now. For me the weekly 2 hour Lighter Life councelling sessions were excellent and I highly recommend it. In fact my councellor also covered many areas of the Beyond Chocolate approach. Just with different words. Instead of 'being your own guru' we were guided into becoming our own experts.

When reading the Beyond chocolate book I was surprised how familiar much of the content was to me thanks to the LL councelling I previously received. I love food too and I also had a very happy childhood . However, I am glad that the councellor - among many other areas - talked about childhood experiences relating to food as it clearly was an issue with some of the other clients.

There are many outstanding Lighter Life councellors out there. If somebody is not happy it is very easy to change and go to the next one.

I just found this :

It is a story about a bloke with high blood pressure and BMI above 50 with a heart attack waiting to happen.

"Thankfully, my GP had heard good things about the LighterLife weight management programme so I looked into it."

"Once I'd lost more than 11 stone and was happy with my weight, I went on the maintenance part of the plan and returned to normal food," he adds. "It was great to be back to normal but I ate so much less."


Oh wait... here is one more thing.
Here is another great article on how effective the LL councelling actually is. I haven't done it myself but some of my friends have had very good long term results with LL.
Back on top after a bad spell
Jill Murphy, the author of the Worst Witch series yo-yo dieted for years. After discovering LL 'she has lost 3½st and 12in off her waist and the chronic indigestion, which had plagued her for years, disappeared in weeks. But it was the two hours a week of group therapy, included in the £66 per week cover charge, that made the difference.'

"At first I thought, 'There's no way I need therapy', but you discover why you overeat, which is the key to keeping the weight off when you go back to eating normally again." 'The root cause of Murphy's overeating was woven in her desire to please.'



I have been doing LighterLife for Men for the last 25 weeks (yes, its a long time, and I was very overweight). I've lost 8 stone, and its an excellent programme. I attend weekly counselling, which has helped me identify my issues with food, and I will shortly be beginning a 'Route to Management' which gradullay re-introduces me to food to ensure i build a healthy relationshiop. I think your article is a bit, well, misjudged. It sounds like your freind who ate all those easter eggs can very well choose to want to change. For me, losing weight is 50% of the challenge (done very quickly on Lighterlife) - the other half is working at building a normal relationship with food.

It has cost me a LOT! £66 per week, for the last 25 weeks - but what is that compared to a heart attack at 30 years old? what is that compared to me being happier playing with my kids :-) I would gladly pay £100 per week. My only caviat to this would be: make sure you find a LighterLife counseller who is good! and likes their job! as with all walks of life, there are some some good consellers, and some not so bad. If you want to lose weight quickly, theire are cheaper options, like Cambridge Diet. But for me, this was only 50% of the issue - i wanted the counselling and the management to help me tackle the other 50% of the challenge - being normal with food... i hope my comment provides some balance to this article.

Kind Regards,


PS: Before starting LighterLife, i did my research and this forum was especially useful: www.minimins.com


I also did LighterLife for three weeks before realising it was something of a scam. £66 per week is a lot of money for some people.

The first week I did it, I lost 11lbs, and that made it all worthwhile.

On my second weigh-in, despite following the diet religiously, I'd only lost 3lbs. My counsellor said to me, "Oh, that's normal after the first week, you don't want to lose weight too fast because that wouldn't be healthy. Some weeks you'll only lose one or two pounds."

All well and good. But the first thought that went through my mind was, "Bugger this; I lost more than that at Slimming World, that was only a fiver a week, I got the same - if not better - counselling than LL offered me AND I got to stuff myself on 'healthy' food until I exploded."

I never went back.

The one point I would defend the program on is the claim that 'you only ever drink or eat bars'. Not true; although all we got was the sachets, there are plenty of ways you can mix and bake them into other food (cakes, biscuits, crisps etc...I found a really good mixture of savoury chunks and mousse that tasted exactly like coronation chicken, minus the raisins)! It's not just a matter of drinking shakes or soups; you can get creative. And believe me, after the first week, you do ;)

To summarise: good if you need to shift a few stone in a hurry (ie, to get into a wedding dress or something similar, although I prefer Diet Chef for that kind of thing). Bad for anyone or anything else.

I can't really comment on the health issues since I didn't do it for long enough, but 500kcal a day isn't enough for anyone.


I also did the Lighter Life programme and would thoroughly recommend it.

The programme is designed to help you lose weight but also change your relationship with food in the long term through counselling and group sessions. That's what attracted me to it and it has worked. Lost 5 stone and maintained that weight for 12 months now.

I couldn't disagree more with Jude's comments re. Lighter Life. It's not about shifting a few stone in a hurry, it's about a long term strategy for changing your relationship with food. Stick to the programme and engage with the counselling and you can do it. Leaving after 2 weeks because your weight loss isn't quick enough and you won't.

The plus sides of the diet are that the weight loss is consistent and rapid in the first few weeks...if you stick to it. The group sessions are also good as others have mentioned if you get a good counsellor. Just eating shakes and bars also removes you from food so you have the space to think about what you do, how you use food, the root of your eating problem.

The downsides are it is very very hard. if you don't have any will power then its almost impossible. and you do get bored of the shakes and flavours. It is on the face of it expensive (£66 per week) but then you don't spend anything on food or alcohol remember so i think its swings and roundabouts. my trips to the local shop for chocolate, snacks, alcohol etc probably added to way more than £66 per week.

The only other downside is other people's reactions to it. 'What you can't eat anything, that can't be healthy'. or simply dismissing it out of hand in a sneering manner as many have done on here.

My advice would be to try it out and see if works for you. It's not for everyone but it can make a real, long lasting change if you can stick to it and engage with it. If you're looking for the program to do all the hard work for you like jude then don't bother.


I couldn't agree more, Steven. Lighter Life is not for everyone but as a sufferer of Binge Eating Disorder since my teens, it has given me my life back. The simple, structured programme works well for me and the weekly CBT sessions are a God-send (the waiting list for CBT on the NHS in my area is over a year). It is by no means an easy option, however. It is expensive and requires a huge amount of hard work. You are also required to have medical check-ups every month. For me, the most difficult part is putting up with well-meaning friends and colleagues who get irritated when I won't join them for dinner or afternoon cakes, roll their eyes and rant on about how "unhealthy" the programme must be. Choosing conveniently to forget the health risks and severe depression I was living with on a daily basis at 17 stone. Please keep an open mind.

Lost 5 Stone & Maintaining

I have lost 5 stone on the lighter life diet. I've done every diet going and I always pu the weight back on. That's because Lighter Life isn't a DIET, it's a programme to help you understand why you eat so much / have a problem with food. If you don't go to the counselling sessions and change your habits, of course you'll put the weight back on! It's not for everyone, do your research first and then decide what's right for you.

Other diets just treat the symptoms, lighter life treats the causes. I'm such an advocate of it, it's changed my life....! Now 9 and a half stone and maintaining weight loss and feeling great. It's never going back on again because I've changed my relationship with food.


Your article seems to be a little smug and condescending. Personally I find it a remarkably easy diet to stick to and the weight is falling off.

You don't need to be a rocket scientist or spend a month on a couch to grasp the fact that you'll put weight back on if you eat 25 easter eggs in a weekend. Somehow the impliction is that the lighter-life diet clearly didn't work becuase your example couldn't eat 25 eggs without piling the pounds back on.

Lighter life (for me) is a great, simple and quick way for the weight to fall off. I have to use common sense to keep it off afterwards.

If I eat too many calories for the amount of exercise I do I'm going to put it all back on. Just like I would on any other diet.


I have been on lighter life for 6 weeks now and have lost 2stone 5lbs. I chose it as, having tried Slimming world and Weight watchers, I have never lost more than 13lbs and that took like 4months. Yes the weight loss is fast and yes it is £66 a week, but as previously said, it removes food from the equation leaving you with you to think about your life. My counsellor is fantastic, listens to any problems I have and the woman with me are all mega supportive and we help each other with emails and texts to spur each other on. I go the gym 6 times a week and feel happier than I EVER have. I do have a long way to go but negative comments by people who stuck with it for 2 weeks certainly won't deter me from something which has changed me for the better. As for piling on the pounds, eating 25 easter eggs is just plain silly! Of course anyone, regardless if they have done LL or not, will blow up like a balloon doing that! Anyone thinking they want to start, my advice.... go to an info session, find a great counsellor, go to social events-don't become a hermit just cause you're not eating, take a soup and bar with you!!! Your friends will admire you for it, and think of the benefits, I can pretty much guarantee the benefits outway the negatives!!!! Good luck!


I also did LL for three months, lost three stone and put on five after I stopped. Our "counsellor" was very obese, which was a joke. She wasn't just overweight, she was very obese. The group gasped as she walked in - we couldn't believe it. She would emphasise how she religiously stuck to the shakes and had conquered all her food issues, blah blah. It's like the Emperor's New Clothes! Maybe she honestly believed she was slim. In one session a member "admitted" to craving an orange from the fruit bowl (as you only drink these awful processed shakes) and the "counsellor" told her off for having fruit in the house! She had a proper go. To which the member replied that her husband still had to eat. Ridiculous.
I discovered "Mark's Daily Apple" online a year ago, have lost the weight, enjoy food and am really happy.
Steer clear from LL!!!!!!!!!

Skinny Minnie

Hi, I did Lighter Life but hated it. I don't like their shakes or bars and found it all a bit yucky. While I was there they stopped their impractical 4 litres of water a day policy and introduced "drink to thirst" but aim for 2 - 3 litres (namely because a woman had died because of the excessive water intake). I also don't like their counselling approach, we don't all have issues around food. Some of us are just greedy to be honest but despite this it is very useful to be part of a group and listen to what's being said. I don't have issues around food but I did find a few things crept up that made me realise why I was locked into certain habits, so I say the counselling is very useful and the make or break of the diet to be honest.

Having said I don't like their products I wouldn't say they were bad but you need to know what you're getting into. You need to be able to make the financial and time commitment or it just will not work. If you start it and then stop it you WILL put back on all the weight. I put on 4 stone with Lighter Life...sure that defeats the purpose.

You also need to know that the first three days are the worst and the first week is like a living nightmare but if you can get past all the cravings for meat and cheese and eggs and fish (the most typical ones). You will go into cruise mode and be fine.

Lastly you must see through til maintenance. If you don't, you guessed it the weight will pile on again and that is what I have seen person after person do. Lose lots then it all piles back on because they have not introduced mechanisms to keep it off.

I do like their system for quick weight loss though and have to say I did break some really bad habits too! So thumbs up there.

Alternatively you can do like I do, buy Tesco shakes and do it at home for a fraction of the cost. The thing I like is that I can have a range of different flavours, as many or as few shakes or soups as I like and it's cheap as chips to do. Yes, it's a few more calories but because I mix the shakes with soya milk it's far more satisfying. When I have finished this I will go onto Weight Watchers to maintain.

So far so good. I lost 8lbs in my first week and so far I have lost 5 and a half this week on target to lose seven or eight this week.

Like all diets it's about what you can stick to. If you can't stick to a diet like this, there's no shame. Don't do it. Go to Weight Watchers or Slimming World and go for it. You will find more success there.

Whatever you decide to do. Do it once and make that once forever! This is my last diet. NEVER AGAIN!! All the best to you.


I tried many diets in life until I got to the point where my metabolism stopped. I could go to the gym every day and not eat but my body turned into starvation process.
What worked? The nutritionist! Try it for yourself.

I read the LL book and I was very angry reading some of the lies in it.
It said that the reason people gain weight after dieting is because they get smaller but keep eating a lot as before dieting.
That's not true! You will all put that weight back on sooner or later because when you diet, your body doesn't get certain types of food. Once you stop, it treats everything like a toxin and puts it under your skin. It's slowing down your metabolism!

You should ear small portions every three hours, no food after 7pm and at least 2l of water. If you need support, go to spakpeople.com but do not try LL! The successful stories online is maybe 1% out of many who tried. Not worth it! You will pay for dieting for years as I've been paying.


I am on the lighter life diet and its working well. I am fed up of having negative peoples comments about this diet mainly based on the rubbish that they read. So now I just ignore them. As for the cost, I am not spending £40 or more on meals out with groups of friends. I am saving money. I meet up after their meals for a black coffee and a chat. After this I will change my eating habbits so I wont put the weight back on.


On lighter life they encourage you to drink 3 litres of water at least a day. I will continue this when I get back to eating again.


On lighter life you can have shepherds pie, chillie con c, currie soup. 4 different snack bars sweet. minestrone soup. asparagus soups. vegetable soup. mushroom soup, Chicken mix, porridge, 4 different shakes. Savoury stocks to flavour water. 3 different types of squash to add to water.

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  • I'm Andrea, and am obsessed with creating fabulous food. After I managed to ditch dieting, the reason Chocolate and Beyond was born, it seemed natural to evolve my site into a foodie blog. More so since I also ditched animal produce to be vegan. Now, I love showing how inventive cruelty-free cooking can be. And sometimes I like to rant, too. I wouldn't be myself otherwise :) x

    PS. This blog LOVES your comments! Especially about the food!

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