Overweight Trish was celebrating her 50th birthday when she realised she may have only two years left to live. Determined to change her life, she turned to The Harcombe Diet. Six years on and two-stone lighter, Trish now loves nothing more than running around the beach with her grandchildren.
Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Trish Burmeister. I’m 56 and live in Bournemouth. I was actually born in Zimbabwe to English parents, then married and moved to South Africa. I only moved to the UK after my divorce in 2003.
I was never particularly overweight, and lost my ‘puppy fat’ when I was in high school. Although I still felt fat enough not to wear a bikini in public, or wear strappy tops that showed my arms.
I have always loved food and have (even today!) a very sweet tooth. When I fell pregnant with my son, I got into the habit of over-indulgent eating, and gained three stone very quickly; weight I kept for the birth of my three other children.
For the next 10 years or so I didn’t really think about my health at all; only half-heartedly trying to lose weight and never doing any exercise apart from running after four small children! I would cook healthy family meals, but would snack as I filled lunch boxes, or the cookies and puddings I made for the children.
After a stressful divorce, I moved to the UK. Two of my (now grown-up) children had stayed behind, and I found myself alone with two of my children, feeling overweight, unhappy, and had very little self-confidence.
What was the final straw to taking control?
Easy: it was my 50th birthday.
My father had died from a heart attack at a young age. My brother followed him at the tender age of 52. My sister too had died (from ovarian cancer) at the age of 52. It hit me hard: “time was ticking!”
I took a hard look at myself, and was suddenly very motivated to get healthy. If I didn’t make some drastic changes, I might not get to do all the things I had always planned to do.
How and when did you find us?
Around this time, I started attending Life Clubs – a life coaching group that was helping to make my life more fulfilling and happy. The lovely lady who ran the Bournemouth club told me about The Harcombe Diet, and how she had lost several pounds in just five days.
I’ll give it a go, I thought. How hard could it be? It’s only for five days! How naïve was I!
I felt awful for the first four days – headaches, nausea and a general fuggy feeling (I don’t know how I managed to work that week!) By far the hardest part for me was going without tea and coffee. I also found breakfast tricky, as I did not feel like eggs every day!
But come day five, I felt like a new woman!
My cravings for chocolate and bread had disappeared and I can honestly say that I hadn’t felt this good in 30 years! I had energy and clarity of thought, and I had lost 6lbs!
It was amazing feeling and I was hooked!
My colleague Julie was very impressed when I bounded into work that day, and she decided to join me the next week. She lost 8lbs in the first five days, and we continued on to Phase 2 as a team. Over the next nine months, we consistently lost weight.
Now two-stone lighter, I am within a half-stone of what I’d consider my ideal weight. I’ve finally shifted my baby weight! Yes, it took 20 years… but I’ve finally done it!
What has been your biggest benefit to you getting to your current weight?
I’ve taken up running, and have completed several 5k and 10k charity events. I’ve also joined a walking group, and am at my happiest when marching up and down the Purbeck Hills or along the beautiful Bournemouth beaches in the fresh air!
I have healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels, are rarely get colds or flu. In fact, the only time I take painkillers is for the odd pulled muscle, or backache from sitting too long at the computer!
But the biggest benefit of this is the quality time I share with my two beautiful grandchildren who live nearby (and the other two who I visit in South Africa each year!) I have so much energy to play with them on the beach, in the park, or bouncing on the trampoline. This would never have been possible when I was overweight.
If I ever feel myself slipping, the five-day detox gets me back on track, and my goal is to lose that last half a stone before the end of the year.
Do you have any advice for our readers?
Find a way of eating that is manageable and sustainable, because losing weight is not a short term goal. It takes time to lose it so that it stays off long term.
The Harcombe Diet is not really a diet; it is a healthy eating plan that is easy, affordable, and fits in with any kind of lifestyle. It’s simply a matter of eating good, unprocessed foods – it’s perfect for me!
One last thing… I still love food, particularly chocolate. Because my healthy eating habits are part of my life, I know that I can allow myself some times of indulgence, and it’s easy to return to The Harcombe way: enjoying interesting, delicious, satisfying and healthy meals that make me feel and look great!