Finalists Slimmer of the year 2018


Janet Bowes

Finalist, Slimmer of the Year New Zealand


Starting weight: 101kg

Final weight: 79kg

Total lost: 22kg

Age: 43

Consultant: Dr Lalita Jefferies 



I have struggled with weight my entire life.  I have had success stories before but have never been able to maintain my weight loss.  My most recent weight gain has been over a period of the last 5-6 years.  Prior I had been working away where I had easy access to a gym and fitness classes and was motivated by the people around me.  My weight gain started once I finished working in that environment and living alone, and was exacerbated with a couple of tragic family events which saw me seek solace in food.  Living alone, no one sees what you are eating…I had always struggled with portion control and love nothing more than pasta and bread!!


I lost a little weight for my wedding, however my husband and I enjoy going out and dining and we soon piled on weight together, brushing it off I suppose.  I recall a certain weight when I had an ‘oh my god’ moment and strangely once I got past that I guess I stopped caring, and stopped being able to fit all the lovely cloths I had built up in my wardrobe. 


We used to take photos of ourselves everywhere we went and that stopped as our weight increased and it wasn’t until I was forced to be in photos for an event that I realized how much my weight had changed what I looked like and how I felt about myself.


In 2016 our relocation back to new Zealand particularly led to some poor eating and drinking habits.  In that period of time I think I was faced with a fair majority of all the major stresses, including moving countries and changing jobs, temporary separation from my husband (who was tying up ends at our old home) and the terminal illness of my brother.  Food and a good wine all seemed to make these things a little easier.



For how long have you been overweight? And how has it impacted your life?


My weight has fluctuated my whole life and to be honest it was just something that was me.  But my recent weight gain, and in particular the last 2 years saw increases beyond what I had ever weighed.  My confidence decreased and I know my health started to deteriorate, even though I continued to ignore the shortness of breath, indigestion and general fatigue.



Had you tried any weight loss methods before?


I have been on and off diets my whole life including, parts of various diets, calorie counting, 5:2 etc. but nothing formal.  I never wanted to join a weight group as such and always had varying degrees of success by myself.  My most successful weight loss was while I was working away which gave me easy access to gym facilities, classes etc. and I drew motivation from the other people on site.  Once I finished with that job, maintaining the loss became difficult.



What led you to choose Cambridge Weight Plan?


I had started at a new health practice and during the initial consultation they had identified my blood pressure was quite high so that was being monitored by the nurse.  The nurse identified I was struggling with weight and asked if I would be interested in the program as Lalita, my consultant had just started doing it.  I thought that it may be a good idea and having a personal consultant (not a room full of people, which I perceived other programs were like) may be good motivation. 


I was starting to realize I had to change something I was doing and decided to give the program a try.  Given this was in November I decided I would start in the new year and this allowed me to fully prepare mentally for the journey to come.



What was different about Cambridge Weight Plan compared to other weight loss options you have tried?


Using a formalized weight program in its entirety (as mention I had dabbled in many programs but not committed to the full process) has been a positive experience for me.  I like the one-one personalized sessions with my consultant and many times she has kept me honest.  Choosing our regular weigh ins for a Saturday morning also helped me get through the Friday night food and alcohol ‘binge’ and change end of week rewards completely and away from food based rewarding. I initially felt self-conscious walking into the clinic with my Cambridge bag but as the weight began to fall off I became proud of what had been achieved and sauntered into the clinic.  There were others on the program that I began talking too and loved seeing them each week with our progress.


There were some products that weren’t for me but the range of types of product and variety has been really good.  The food is tasty and actually really filling. 


My consultant has been positive and supportive the whole way and has a way of making me feel like each week is a success even if I have not lost as much as I could have.  There is a focus around managing the program while also allowing some divergence when there is an occasion or things going on.



How did being overweight impact your life?


Being overweight didn’t really impact on me until I thought about it really and started to reflect once I had made up my mind to undertake this journey, I allowed myself to reflect on how my weight had impacted.  I had always prided myself on my lovely clothes and was no longer able to wear them, I had always loved shopping in my favorite clothes shops and could no longer fit anything from them.  I remember when I had lost my first 12kg and went into a favorite shop of mine and was finally able to fit into some of the clothing again and then at 20kg I was able to choose from many things.  The feeling standing in the shop, bombarded by choice and parading nice dresses made me realize what I had lost in gaining so much weight.


People at work, who had not known me previous to me being at my biggest comment on how much confidence I have, which is not new be regained.



Did you suffer any of health issues due to your weight, that have been significantly improved since losing the weight?


My main concern was my blood pressure which was quite high.  But I had also started having ‘chronic’ indigestion, shortness of breath and general feelings of fatigue and lethargy.



Have any of these problems now been overcome?


I have more energy and sleep better, my blood pressure is lowered to normal and I don’t rely on Quickeze to soothe that horrible indigestion feeling.



Have any of your friends/family members decided to lose weight with Cambridge Weight Plan since seeing your weight loss success?


My husband decided to come on the Cambridge Journey with me and without his support in the process I think it would have been much more difficult to maintain the motivation.  Together we have lost almost 50kg and found our passion for doing fun and exciting things again.




Completing the Cambridge Weight Plan Journey I have gained a better understanding of the impact the different types of foods can have on my body.  I have learnt not to look at food as a reward or treat but that it is ok to enjoy a nice drink and meal on occasion rather than often.  I have enjoyed the motivation and positivity that my consultant has provided and very early on began to look forward and celebrate the weigh in / measuring process.  The initial results are quick and transforming which helps maintain the motivation and embed yourself on the program.


The range and type of food products is vast and some of the products are extremely tasting and satisfying and often don’t taste like what you would expect a ‘diet product to taste like’.  


I would and have recommended the program to anyone wanting to lose weight and adjust their conceptions about food.