A RUISLIP woman has halved her body weight through conscious eating, with the support of a specialist community dietician. 

Judith Simmons embarked on her dietetics group programme two years ago to lose weight, due to a spinal condition. 

The 73 year old grandmother said: “I’m less than 5ft 2in tall and at that time I weighed 105 kgs (16.5 stone).

“Originally, I thought that I would have to have bariatric surgery as I had not been successful over many years at losing weight through dieting. 

“However, the operation sounded so horrible I felt I could not go through with it. Then, I felt it was even more important to lose the weight, to save my spine.”

Judith had an appointment with dietician Helen Davies at Central Middlesex Hospital, and started a six-week group programme which encourages people to be more conscious about their eating. 

She said: “Helen’s course was so helpful.  Every time I was reaching for food, I thought ‘What would Helen think of this?’.

“So many other times on diets I was told ‘You should be doing this’ or ‘You should not be eating that’.  This was not like that – it was more about being conscious of what you were eating.  I found it invaluable.”

Helen explained that the programme encourages a conscious eating philosophy, rather than a dieting approach to weight management.

“In other words, it helps patients think about their relationship with food, as well as what they are eating. 

“It is designed to meet both the needs of patients who are considering bariatric surgery and as an alternative to those who do not want surgery and is now provided in a community setting. 

“Every year, about 50 patients complete the programme, which is very successful in supporting weight loss, reduction in blood pressure, heart rate and an improved relationship with food. 

“Judith became highly motivated, and put in place a lot of the things we had discussed in the group - and she just kept going.”

They kept in touch after she had finished the programme and met again once she had reached her target two years later.

“It was extraordinary, what she had achieved without surgery,” Helen said.

Judith’s conscious eating has made a real difference to her spinal condition.  “There would not have been any treatment for my spine except surgery, which would have affected my flexibility,” she said. 

“Now, I am down from taking eight strong pain-killers a day to a couple of paracetamol.”

She has weighed 55 kilos for more than five months and is aiming to lose one more kilo.

“There are problems with losing weight at my age, but it’s a small price to pay,” she said. “When I look after my grand-daughters, even just moving around is easier.  The difference to my quality of life has been tremendous.”