A CHESTER-BASED weight loss consultant shed more than five stone – and didn't count a single calorie along the way.

Craig Jackson, who runs a Slimming World group at Saltney Tavern for people living in the Saltney, Lache and Handbridge areas, has shared his story in the hope of helping others.

The 32-year-old began his weight loss journey in 2013 and has successfully maintained his significant weight loss over the past eight years.

He followed Slimming World's "Food Optimising" plan and is keen to point out he never had to count a single calorie.

Craig said: "Before I found Slimming World, I had literally tried every 'diet' under the sun and felt like I had to watch everything I was eating and needing to weigh, measure and count all of my food.

"Finding Slimming World, made me feel free. I could eat the foods that I want to eat – potatoes, pasta, rice, and not have to count a single calorie as they are all free foods.”

A recent survey of the general population who had tried calorie counting found that 72% believed it took away from the freedom of enjoying food.

In a parallel survey of Slimming World members, 75% of respondents reported finding food optimising liberating and 81% said that they had learned to cut calories without having to count them.

Craig said:"The science of food optimising showcases Slimming World’s expertise both in nutrition and in behaviour change.

"Counting calories alone may help people to lose weight initially and in the short term however it can be difficult and tedious to sustain in the long term, and it doesn’t address the most important aspects of behaviour change and the psychology around that.

"Slimming World’s flexible eating plan is based on the nutritional science of satiety and energy density."

Craig Jackson, who runs a Slimming World group at Saltney Tavern.

Craig Jackson, who runs a Slimming World group at Saltney Tavern.

Dr Jacquie Lavin, Slimming World head of nutrition and scientific affairs, added: "The approach behind food optimising has always been based on science, not just the physiological science of weight loss but also the psychology – how we think about and our emotional reactions to food, our weight and the process of losing weight.

"To lose weight, we need to consume fewer calories than we use. This creates an energy deficit and the body then starts to use its energy reserves, which are stored as body fat.

"At Slimming World, we want to help people lose weight and to maintain this weight loss in the long term – and this means offering a plan that's easy to stick to even as a family and enjoyable and is sustainable in the long term.

“Faddy diets may work in the short term by drastically cutting calorie intake, but a diet that isn’t practical – for instance, that needs endless monitoring or counting, leaves us feeling hungry or deprived of our favourite foods, or means we can’t eat in the same way as our friends and family – is going to be very difficult to keep up.

"And as soon as we go back to our old way of eating, we’ll stop losing weight and are likely to regain the weight we lost."

Craig runs his groups every Monday at the Saltney Tavern in High Street, Saltney, CH4 8SQ.

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