With hobbies including rock-climbing, kick-boxing and tap-dancing, it’s no wonder Lisa Hopton’s sons have nick-named her ‘super-mum’. Now their stunning super-mum has become Slimming World’s Top Target Consultant 2011, beating yo-yo dieting for good by losing 5½st and keeping it off for 10 years.
Former stage school pupil Lisa, spent more than two decades – from the age of 11 – following fad diets which saw her weight yo-yo up and down, including one plan which made her faint after she ate nothing but pineapple all day. That all changed in March 2001 when Lisa joined her local Slimming World group and lost 5st 7½lbs in eight months. Not only has she maintained her svelte size 8 figure ever since, she also runs her own Slimming World group helping others to lose weight.
She says: “I will have a weight problem for the rest of my life but thanks to Slimming World I’ve learned how to manage it. After you lose weight it’s easy to think that all your problems are over, but life doesn’t work that way. In 2002 my husband moved out, leaving me alone with our two young boys, and later that year I discovered I needed a hysterectomy. It hit me hard and the old Lisa would have turned to food for comfort, but I realised that while life isn’t always within our control we are responsible for our weight. Life’s difficult but healthy eating and being active can be easy – the key is knitting the two together with the support of a group.”
Lisa’s weight worries began more than 30 years ago. She won a scholarship to a well-known theatre school and remembers one agent saying she’d have more luck in auditions if she lost weight. Following fashionable fad diets including the cabbage soup diet and an all-pineapple menu saw Lisa slim down but she’d soon put the weight back on, unable to stick to the strict plans.
Back home in Dorset, Lisa met her husband and the pattern of yo-yo dieting continued. Ready meals and takeaways caused Lisa’s weight to creep up, followed by months of crash dieting to squeeze into a size 8 wedding dress. Two pregnancies and severe post-natal depression saw her gain all the weight again - and more.
In 2001 Lisa decided to tackle her weight problem once and for all. She says: “My mum’s friend commented that I’d ‘lost my sparkle and infectious smile’ and I realised she was right. I didn’t want to be the fat mum in the playground so, after reading about a local Slimming World Consultant in Slimming World magazine, my mum and I decided to join her group.”
Determined, Lisa lost 6lbs in her first seven days by Food Optimising and couldn’t believe how much she could eat while losing weight. Full English breakfasts of grilled bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms and eggs were a far cry from the fads she was used to, and within eight months she’d lost 5st 7½lbs and slimmed from a size 18-20 to an 8.
Since then Lisa’s trained to become a Slimming World Consultant running the Corfe Mullen group in Dorset, and, leading by example, she’s stayed at her target weight since November 2001.
After years of waiting in the wings, Lisa’s weight loss gave her the confidence to return to the stage and she joined a local amateur dramatic society. As well as winning lead roles, she’s also taken up tap-dancing, rock-climbing and achieved a yellow belt in kick-boxing. She says:
Losing weight has made a massive difference to my family life. I’m not sitting on the sidelines anymore, I can do anything my boys can do and we have so much fun together – they say I’m a ‘big kid’! Recently we were looking at some old photos and my son said, ‘Mum, I’m so proud of you’. What more could a girl want?
Dr Jacquie Lavin, Slimming World’s Head of Research and Nutrition, says: “As Lisa shows, it’s never too late to break the cycle of yo-yo dieting and many people find that having the support of other slimmers who have been through similar experiences can help. She’s proof that with the right tools – a realistic healthy eating plan, regular and enjoyable activity and the support of those around you – getting and staying in shape is achievable for everyone, whatever life throws at you.”