Tell us a little bit about your journey prior to meeting Dr. Aria.
"Before I met Dr Aria I was tracking calories, which went well for about a day, then I would get bored of tracking and eat whatever I fancied. I used to yo-yo diet, restrict foods, and binge-eat if I didn't feel great. I would either feel very unhappy seeing my weight on the scales or I’d be jumping for joy. I’d also dread getting on the scales at times. I would pick high calorie stuff and then skip a meal. I would miss out on healthy nutritious foods if it meant I could eat a piece of cake for my lunch."
What were your experiences working with Dr Aria?
"The F.I.T. programme was amazing. I really looked forward to our sessions. What I love is Dr Aria’s natural way. He never judges you and you can completely trust him. Dr Aria has a nice light sense of humour and he’s the kind of person you can open up to. It was easy talking to him and I knew that he didn’t judge what I said. You have the opportunity to share deeper things as you can see how you’ll benefit from being honest.
Dr Aria is so skilled at listening. You have his undivided attention. I felt like I could tell him something and he would listen. You then uncover what is going on deep down. You discover this for yourself with his careful guidance and questions. He cleverly knows how to make the conversation go in a way that you will figure something out. Because he listens you have the time and space to have personal insights, whereas others just tell you what to do.
Having the sessions as a weekly support is incredible. Dr Aria also showed a genuine interest in my development with daily messages throughout the programme. The F.I.T. programme is an amazing opportunity to have a caring, kind, and nurturing mentor who is there for you.
Training with Dr Aria really is a life-changing experience, one I am so lucky to have had. The F.I.T. Method is incredible because you discover your relationship not only with food, but also with yourself. Learning about how the mind works in relation to food, what’s going on inside your own head and why you behave in certain ways has been so enlightening."
In what ways was working with Dr. Aria different to the other approaches you’ve tried in the past?
"Getting to the root of your issues around not just food, but other aspects of your life has been a big one. When you follow other weight loss programmes they tell you what to eat. It’s very freeing that you’re not going to calorie count or add up points. Because it’s not restrictive and I can eat whatever I want, it’s actually made me desire high quality foods.
Eating out has been a lot more fun. I’ve gone out and not overindulged because I haven’t felt deprived in any way. I’ve built up good habits and I nurture myself in different ways, like taking a candlelight bath. It’s not just the food. Other elements of your life start to come together in a positive way.
The weight loss for me has felt easy and effortless. It’s not been a struggle. It’s actually been a pleasure! I've found the joy in food again and in nurturing myself."
Has the programme changed the way you see or feel about yourself?
"I’m starting to see myself in a different way. I’ve realized that it’s important to take care of myself and that food is a big part of that. I’ve learnt that I deserve to do things for myself. This is something I had really been struggling with. Being a busy working mum I had always put myself last and was exhausted. I’d become bottom of the list in terms of priorities. When I felt guilty or ashamed, Dr Aria helped me to change my thought processes.
Now I see how much better things are for my whole family when I give myself permission to look after myself. Once I started eating really well and making some time to relax, everyone else was happier too. Having someone tell you that you deserve to do nice things for yourself reinforces a really positive message."
Has your body or weight changed since starting your programme?
"I’m sitting around 10 stone now, down from 14 stone 7 lbs, which is incredible. I’m still enjoying all sorts of fabulous food and never counting a single calorie! I am more toned and I can see my curves again. My waist is much smaller and my legs are slimmer. I feel less pain in my back. I’m really pleased that I’ve lost all this weight, but it’s secondary to all the other positive feelings that I now have about myself. Above all else, my mindset has completely changed.
The weight loss has been gradual and steady. I’ve not worried about the scales at all. I’m not dreading or controlled by the scales anymore. In the past the scales would dictate my behaviour. If I saw that I’d put on weight, I’d feel awful and then eat more! That doesn’t happen anymore. They are now just one way for me to see what is happening.
Dr Aria’s programme is very clever: it gets you thinking more about your self-worth and the scales don't matter. I'm no longer obsessed with what the scales say. A great friend of mine once said to me when I was complaining about my weight, "You are amazing, talented and beautiful. You’re worth so much more than your weight." Sometimes it is hard to see this for yourself. I think Dr Aria has helped me to clarify this. He has a very unique method. The changes happen very subtly. It’s like some kind of magic."
Has your eating changed?
"Wow, my eating has changed so much! I’m not craving or out of control with chocolate or crisps anymore. Although I enjoy chocolate and crisps, for some reason I don't turn to them now when I’m stressed or feeling low. I’m not binge eating. Sometimes I eat half a chocolate bar and save the rest for another day. I didn't ever think I would be able to achieve that.
Another massive change for me is eating out. I don't feel guilty about eating out anymore. I enjoy the meals but I don’t feel any need or desire to overeat or finish everything on my plate. I listen to my body and stop when I feel full.
I knew a lot about food before and I loved cooking, but I had lost interest in this. Now I really feel motivated to make healthy meals again. Dr Aria’s enthusiasm about food and meal ideas really inspires you to get creative. It is a joy again. I find different ways to enjoy healthy foods when I feel like having something sweet, like stewed apples with cinnamon and yoghurt. I still enjoy a piece of cake now and then, but mostly when I’m with family or friends. I wouldn't find myself eating, or overeating these foods alone anymore, which is a huge change. Becoming in tune with what your body really needs and becoming aware of your mind is a very big part of the F.I.T. Method. These are life skills that I can continue with."
How has your thinking changed?
"Stopping thinking about calories has been liberating. I’m now thinking about food in terms of health benefits. The F.I.T. sessions ignited a passion to find out what foods can really do for your body. I never would have eaten nuts in the past. I thought they would make you fat! I’ve also got a much healthier relationship with food. Rather than going for high calorie sweet things and then think I’ll avoid dinner, I don’t do that anymore.
My mindset changed and then the foods that I wanted to have changed too. So with pea soup I would usually add ham. Then I just felt that actually I don’t want this processed meat. I do want something else so now I go for avocado. Before I would have had a pasty as a snack, and the other day I had two oranges instead! The F.I.T. Method has naturally made me think about my choices more.
I’ve realized that I used to scoff food. Now I think how lucky I am to be able to enjoy this food. Eating the same bar of dark chocolate is a different experience. It gives me so much more pleasure. It’s like I hadn’t tasted it before.
Thinking I deserve things was huge. Thinking about the importance of looking after myself to then be well enough to look after my family has been life changing. Through the sessions with Dr Aria you realise what’s really important."
How have your actions changed?
"I sit down to eat food. I make a nice meal for myself without feeling I have to justify doing it. Allowing yourself to enjoy something might sound ridiculous, but if you come from a place of guilt and shame then it’s hard to feel like you deserve anything. I now know that I deserve to take the time to eat and feel like it’s okay to do something for myself.
Dr Aria guides you back to nurturing yourself. He helps you to go back to the basic things that you need in your life that you’ve become far removed from. As a mum I was busy thinking about the kids and looking after the kids. When a marriage ends people often say: “as long as the kids are okay, that’s the only thing that matters.” But actually, when the parents are okay too, the kids do better."
What did you learn during the programme?
That I can deal with stress without turning to overeating
How to feel better about myself and how to nurture myself
I deserve to nourish my body
To make amazing meals using nutritious foods, including nuts and seeds
How important it is to make time to enjoy food rather than rushing meals
About mindful eating – something I particularly enjoy when I have a break at work
On weeks where my eating had gravitated towards unhealthier higher calorie type foods, Dr Aria only offered kind remarks and encouragement, which in turn has led me to taking a kinder approach to myself. I’ve implemented this into other areas of my life, so when I make an error at work I am not hard myself like I would have been in the past.
Before the programme I wasn’t lacking in education about how to lose weight. For me it was more to do with how I see myself and what I deserve for myself. My old mindset was holding me back. I found it so helpful to go into the deeper psychology so that I could change my life."
What were some of the benefits of your F.I.T. programme?
"One of the best parts has been the individual time to really uncover more about myself, to recognise what deep rooted issues I faced around being kind to myself, and to have guidance from an extremely kind, caring, intelligent and nurturing mentor.
The process and the changes in food were so subtle that I hardly noticed the difference. It’s like something naturally occurs on the inside that helps you to lose weight without feeling like you’re making a huge change in lifestyle. It’s very freeing.
I never felt either elated or depressed by my weight on the scales, as these had become so secondary to my inner progress of becoming a happier person.
I feel I can really eat well without feeling like I need to overeat anymore. The habits are well engrained now and healthy eating has become a complete passion."
Would you recommend working with Dr Aria?
"Absolutely. I feel privileged to have met Dr Aria. It is a complete investment in wellbeing and an experience I feel very lucky to have come across. To learn so much about myself with the guidance of Dr Aria has been fascinating. It is like nothing I have experienced before. Dr Aria has a passion for helping people, a very unique expertise and a natural ability to really make you feel at ease. He is an incredible person and his programme is unique. A F.I.T. programme is a real change for life."