Viki Short has spent £10,000 shedding ten stone and dropping eight dress sizes. Jayne Dawson reports.
When Viki Short’s mum and stepdad gave her some money, she didn’t buy a new car or a fancy holiday – she decided to spend £10,000 on a diet.
Loving daughter Viki had always enjoyed a shopping trip with her mum Julie – but until recently they always included a sit down to rest and recover.
Not for Julie, who at 72 is trim and fit, but for 46-year-old Viki who was a size 32 and weighed 23 stone.
But all that has changed now that she has shed a massive ten stone – more than the weight of her nine-stone mum.
Viki, of Gomersal, Leeds, is now a healthy size 16 and weighs 13 stone after transforming her life in just nine months.
“I can keep up with my mum now,” says Viki.
“I had reached the stage where I could only walk very short distances before I became exhausted but now I walk everywhere with my dog and I enjoy horseriding too.”
Viki, a personal assistant to a gynaecologist at Seacroft Hospital in Leeds, lost her weight on a diet called Alevere Therapy, which is available in 30 clinics nationally but was devised by Dr Mark Palmer, who is based in Rothwell, Leeds.
It is a medically-supervised system of meal replacements which is combined with treatments to tighten the skin and target stubborn areas of fat so that clients improve their shape as well as lose weight.
It costs around £250 a week and Viki spent £10,000 achieving her new look.
“It is a huge amount and I was only able to afford it because my mum and stepdad generously gave me some mone,” says Viki.
“I could have spent it on lots of things, but losing this weight has changed my life in ways that a new car or a fancy holiday never could.
“I didn’t like myself much before and I hadn’t felt happy for a long time. If I was invited out somewhere I panicked.
Viki was a size 12 in her twenties when she moved in with her future husband Russell, a lending manager for a bank, but over the next ten years she ballooned to a size 32.
“It wasn’t so much what I was eating as the amount,” admits Viki.
“I would cook a spaghetti bolognese for the evening meal but eat a giant plateful of it, enough for at least two people, and then go back and fill my plate with the same amount again.
“I would polish off half a packet of biscuits before bed and if I had a drink of wine with my meal at the weekends it would be the full bottle and not just a glass.”
Viki was also having problems starting a family, enduring five miscarriages and eight rounds of IVF treatment before her son Bobby, now 13, came along.
“I knew that losing weight would help me, but I just could not do it, I was overwhelmed by how much I had to lose. I was eventually diagnosed with an auto-immune illness and given medication.”
Eventually Viki decided to contact Alevere.
“I had been looking at surgical options but decided on this diet instead. I lost eleven pounds in the first week, and I lost every week after that. I stuck to it completely for the whole nine months, it was as if I had flicked a switch in my head and was suddenly able to do it.
“I got great support from the clinic and from my own family. My mum was a driving force, she wanted me to be healthy and happy and my husband has been fantastic.
“One day I also heard Bobby tell a family friend that he was pleased I had lost weight because I was much happier now, which made me cry.
“I feel a mixture of sadness and anger when I look at pictures of the old me, but now I can do normal things again, I can buy nice clothes, enjoy going out, and just take pleasure in life.
“I have the odd drink, I have the odd bit of cake because life is for living, but I am never going back to how I was. Life is so much better now”
Alvere Clients eat five, protein-based nutritional supplements per day, each containing around a hundred calories.
The diet is in three stages. At each stage, a wider range of natural foods is reintroduced. At the end, to avoid any rebound weight gain, there is a weight stabilisation programme which takes around one month.
The average client is on the therapy for 16 weeks.
How Viki’s diet has changed
Before the diet
Breakfast: Three slices of toast with butter and jam
Lunch: Tuna mayonnaise sandwich , packet of crisps
Dinner: Spaghetti bolognaise or chicken in a sauce with mash
Before bed: Half a packet of biscuits
After the diet
Breakfast: Bran flakes
Mid-morning: Piece of fruit
Lunch: Chicken salad
Mid-afternoon: Piece of fruit
Dinner: Fish and vegetables