A woman who spent the money she had saved for fertility treatment on a diet instead, says she has ‘never been happier’.
Natalie Southerden, 31, who lives in Halifax, West Yorkshire, blew £4,000 on a weight loss regime that originally put aside for fertility treatment after failing to become pregnant.
In five months she transformed herself from a size 22 to a size 12/14 by losing six and a half stone and now hopes to become pregnant naturally.
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Natalie Southerden, 31, from Halifax, has lost more than six stone and dropped five dress sizes, after spending the £4,000 she saved for fertility treatment on a weight loss scheme (Pictured left: before and right: after the diet)
Natalie’s decision to lose weight was triggered by a humiliating, five-minute interview with her GP after a year of trying to conceive with husband John, 41, a music teacher who she met eight years ago.
She said: ‘The GP was horrible. He said he would not send me for any tests -he just took my hand and said “well you are very overweight, aren’t you?”
‘I felt patronised. I knew I was overweight but I didn’t expect him to refuse to do anything for me at all.’
She continued: ‘I was told to go away and come back when I had lost three stone.’
Natalie felt she had reached a low point in life but now admits that day was the trigger for her amazing transformation.
She said: ‘I felt so upset and angry, I hate going to the doctors and really had to gear myself up to go there in the first place.’
Followers of the Alevere regime eat five meal replacements a day as well as three low calorie meals made with normal food. They also have skin tightening treatments to stop their skin sagging from the rapid weight loss
Natalie was a size 22 and weighed 18 and a half stone, despite being a top martial artist, practising Taekwondo regularly for 14 years, and even winning the English championship in her category.
She said: ‘We were fit and healthy and I felt I deserved to be tested to rule out any underlying conditions that we were unaware of, and treated with more respect.
‘But I also really want to have children, so I decided I would so something about it.’
Natalie initially tried a weekly slimming group and lost a stone – but it took her eight long months.
She said: ‘I worked out that if I carried on at that rate I would be 35 or 36 before I could conceive.
‘My husband is ten years older than me so I decided I didn’t have that much time.’
So Natalie made the decision to spend the £4,000 the couple had saved in case they needed fertility treatment on a new diet regime – and five months later she is a svelte size 12-14 after losing a total of six and a half stone.
Natalie lost 11lb in the first week of her new weight loss regime. ‘Within a fortnight I had last a stone. I never felt hungry and managed to keep going through my birthday and Christmas’
Natalie signed up to the Alevere Leeds clinic to take part in their diet scheme.
In her first week on the diet she lost an incredible eleven pounds and continued to lose more every week.
Natalie, who has a degree in chemistry, said, ‘I did my research and everything the clinic told me about this diet made sense.’
The diet, called Alevere Weight Reduction and Body Contouring Therapy, costs around £200 a week and is designed to help very overweight clients lose weight quickly and safely.
Followers eat five meal replacements a day as well as three low calorie meals made with normal food.
NATALIE’S DIET BEFORE:
Breakfast – nothing
Mid morning snack – savoury cracker biscuits
Lunch – Instant pasta with no fruit or veg
Mid afternoon snack – bag of tortilla chips with dips or crisps
Dinner – toad in the hole, usually eaten around 10.30pm
Evening snacks – two slices of toast with butter, which could be repeated several times during the evening
NATALIE’S DIET AFTER:
Breakfast – four tablespoons of muesli with natural yoghurt
Mid morning snack – piece of fruit
Lunch – salad with a small can of tuna and some low fat cheese
Mid afternoon snack – piece of fruit
Dinner – home made soup or a lasagne made with turkey mince and aubergine layers in place of pasta
They also have skin tightening treatments to stop their skin sagging from the rapid weight loss, plus the latest ultrasound treatments to destroy fat cells.
Natalie said, ‘Within a fortnight I had lost a stone.
‘I never felt hungry and I managed to keep going through my birthday, my sister’s birthday and Christmas.
‘The difference it has made to me is amazing. It is as if I suddenly exist.
‘When I was fat people would avoid me, now they hold doors open for me, they want to talk to me.’
Natalie believes that she was almost invisible when she was at her heaviest
Before her dramatic weight loss, Natalie says she spent many years feelings invisible.
She said: ‘I wandered around trying not to be seen, I was confident on the outside but not on the inside.
‘I was always the one to make the joke about myself first before anyone else could, but I hated my size inside. Humour was my defence mechanism.
‘I have always had issues with food. I love stodgy, savoury things, and I was eating for comfort and eating large portions. I would eat the same as John and he is 6ft 3ins tall while I am only 5ft 6ins.
‘I would graze constantly.
‘I would eat toast with butter as a snack, and then an hour later I would be making some more. Or I would eat a full bag of tortilla chips with a dip while I was cooking my dinner.
‘I have always had a problem with food, but it is a drug you cannot quit.’
Natalie was badly bullied at school for being overweight and during one incident a group of boys kicked her down a flight of stairs
She continued: ‘I started putting weight on when I was aged six and from then on I was the big girl. When I was thirteen I had to change schools after a group of lads kicked me down some stairs.
‘They said they were going to kick the fat out of me and started booting me in the stomach.’
But life got better for Natalie at the next school, and she went on to study at The University of Manchester.
JUST WHAT IS THE ALEVERE DIET?
Clients eat five, protein-based nutritional supplements per day, each containing around a hundred calories.
These are sachets of dried nutrients that can be made into various products, including omelette, pizza and chocolate desserts, with 35 flavours to choose from.
From the start of the therapy, these are eaten in addition to three meals of normal food per day.
Weekly sessions of ultrasound and skin tightening treatments are then used to stop the common problem of loose skin after major weight loss
The diet is in three stages and at each stage, a wider range of natural foods is reintroduced.
At the end, to avoid any rebound weight gain, there is a stabilisation programme to follow which takes around one month. By the end of this the client is back on a healthy, normal and balanced diet.
The average client is on the therapy for 16 weeks.
She said: ‘I had lots of people around me, and I cycled everywhere even though I was a size 18-20.
‘My life was okay but I never had one single boyfriend.’
That all changed when Natalie, who has always been musical and played the violin from the age of six, was introduced to music teacher and musician John eight years ago.
‘I wanted to learn the bass guitar and my Taekwondo teacher introduced me to John.
We were mates for about eight months while he taught me to play the bass guitar and we even play together in a band now.
‘But eventually we realised there was something more between us.
‘John has always accepted me just as I am.
‘When I said I was going to lose weight he said okay but not to lose it for him because he loved me as I was.
‘I was a size 22 when we got married and he said I looked beautiful.’
But now Natalie is gradually learning to live with her dramatically altered body.
She said: ‘My brain hasn’t quite caught up. I keep picking up size 20 tops. My sister has always been slim and she is encouraging me to try new styles. We go shopping together and she picks out things for me I never imagined I would be able to wear.’
‘Now we are renovating a lovely home and hoping that I can become pregnant without having to go back to that doctor again – but if I do I can’t wait to see his face when I walk in.’