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I couldn’t overcome my weight problem... even after having a gastric band fitted
EVEN a gastric band operation did not help Andrea Dowd overcome her weight problem.
It was not until she had dealt with why she overate through counselling that she got to a healthier weight. Now Andrea runs weight loss counselling courses at Rayleigh Retreat to help others tackle their eating demons.
She says: “There are millions of diets out there, but there is not enough support to address people’s negative relationships with food.
“It is not about the next quick-fix diet, it is about changing the way people think about themselves and how they eat. Until you deal with that, you will never lose weight for good.”
Andrea set up Wytch Works last year after completing a degree in counselling and psycho therapy.
Andrea, 49, says: “I went back to train, because I wanted to set up the business, so I could empower people to lose weight.”
Andrea’s interest in this area of counselling was sparked by her own experience of struggling to lose weight.
When Andrea reached a dress size 22, she decided to pay £3,000 to have a gastric band fitted in Belgium to help her lose the pounds.
“I struggled with my weight my whole life,” admits Andrea. “I even had a gastric band eight years ago, which I thought at the time would be a magic solution to the problem, but it wasn’t.
“I still found ways to cheat, because I had not confronted the root causes of my overeating.”
Andrea initially lost four stone with the gastric band, but then the weight loss halted.
She says: “I was eating chocolate and other things, which stopped the weight coming off.
“I did try and seek help and support from my GP, but there wasn’t anything out there to help me confront the real reasons I was continuing to overeat.”
She sought counselling to help battle her demons once and for all.
She says: “Initially I felt like a failure, because the gastric band had not worked like I thought it should have. “But through counselling, I was able to regain control of my life and relationship with food.”
Andrea believes lots of people develop bad habits throughout their lives.
She says: “Things like finishing everything on the plate and comfort-eating are usually picked up in childhood.”
Now Andrea, who lives in Rayleigh, helps other people to get healthy. She says: “It is about self-acceptance and regaining control. To bring back a sense of normality, I advise people to make positive changes. “This can be throwing away scales and judging weight loss by dress size, if they have been obsessed with their weight, keeping a diary of what they eat and how they felt while eating it, increasing water consumption to two litres, eating all foods in moderation and working out what are their eating ‘triggers’ are.”
Andrea is offering a 15 per cent discount off the six-week courses up until Christmas. Initial consultations cost £85 at home and £75 at the Rayleigh Retreat, and the following six-week course costs £45 and £40 respectively. E-mail andrea.dowd@hotmail. co.uk for further details.
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