INTERVIEW: Kate Smith, Lighter Life counsellor
11:15 16 September 2011
Kate Smith was so impressed with the Lighter Life weight loss programme that she decided to make a career out of it. As she celebrates five years of helping other people enjoy the same success, she tells us about her experience
‘I’d always felt overweight. When I look at photos of myself as a child, I can see now that my friends were skinny and I was normal, but because they were thin, I felt fat. So I’ve always had this perception of myself as big, and as I got into adulthood I got heavier and heavier. I resigned myself to the fact that this was who I was, and I had a very good friend who was also a big girl – so there was safety in numbers.
‘But then my friend joined a Lighter Life programme, and got thin. So I was emotionally upset, it made me feel very vulnerable. But it also made me think “If she can do it, so can I.” So I went to see my own Lighter Life counsellor and started asap.
‘I had a BMI of 43, I was over 16 stone and at 5ft 4in, that’s very heavy. But the Lighter Life journey is not just about physically losing weight - it helps you to recognise why you behave the way you do around food, and to change your attitude. I had some amazing lightbulb moments, and it was then that I thought “If I can have this kind of breakthrough then I want to help other people have the same.”
‘At the time I was an information centre manager for a housing association. It was a great job and my colleagues were brilliant – one guy, Graham, used to walk past and go “Ha, you’re such a loser!” as I was getting smaller and smaller, and people in the office would say, ‘You can’t say that to her!’ but it was lovely, they were so encouraging.
‘So I decided to start the Lighter Llife training – which is incredibly intensive. You have to learn counselling skills, to be able to help clients express what they really mean; and you have to work within the programme guidelines – learning the specific activities that we to help clients; you have to learn about the medical side of very low calorie diets, and the contraindicators - we have a very strict medical protocol - plus of course there’s the business training. So there was a lot to learn.
‘Meanwhile I still had my fulltime job , but I just couldn’t give both of them 100 per cent, so in the end I had to make the break. It was a huge, scary step, but it was fantastically exciting. And I was lucky – there was a vacancy for a counsellor in Cambridge so I set up here straightaway.
Choose us first
‘So in July I’ll have been doing this for five years, and I absolutely love what I do, because I believe in it. I’ve had more than 1,000 clients and I feel very privileged that these people are prepared to come and share what is an extremely personal journey with me.
‘One of the great things about my experience is that my clients say to me, “you understand: you’ve been there”, and that’s very resassuring for them. They appreciate that I’ve had to deal with the same things they do, and face the challenges. New clients often come and say “this is the last chance saloon, I’ve tried everything else”. And I know this is a brilliant weight loss programme that really works, so I’d love to get it to a stage where they just come here first!’
To contact Kate, call 01223 362172 or visit lighterlife.com/katesmith