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‘I lost 5 stone after ditching ‘low fat’ diet food – now I’m healthier than ever’

Losing weight is notoriously difficult – but for one woman, it became a lot easier after ditching low-fat so-called ‘healthy’ food items.

Naomi Davies, 42, from London, who weighed 17 stone, says she used to be an emotional eater who could finish an Easter egg in a day.

But after being diagnosed with high cholesterol in September 2021, the health worker discovered NHS-backed healthy eating plan Second Nature.

With the help of their health coaches and exercise programme, she made changes to her diet, and now weighs 12 stone and regularly competes in 10km races.

She said: “Following a period of poor mental health when I was aged 39, I was prescribed medication for low moods, which made me gain weight and made me more hungry.

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Naomi before she changed her habits


Naomi Davies / Second Nature)

Naomi after slimming down


“I was 17 stone and leading a sedentary lifestyle, with hobbies such as crafting. I could barely walk to the shops without taking a break because I would be so out of breath.

“I felt as though I had lost control over my eating and ate to comfort myself, and then I’d feel so guilty about it afterwards.

“When I found Second Nature, I had no idea how it would impact my life. I’ve lost five stone, regularly do yoga, go running and run 10km races. I have found a new love of cooking, and enjoy delicious home-cooked meals.

“But most importantly, my confidence has improved. I feel so much better about myself. It doesn’t feel like a diet, it really is a lifestyle change.”

In 2019, Naomi was prescribed medication by her GP for her low mood. The side effects included craving sweet food, and it resulted in her putting on weight quickly.

She tipped the scales at 17 stone, and was told her cholesterol level was high, due to her weight.

“I was comfort eating. If I was stressed I would eat lots of chocolate. It was Easter at the time and I was eating a chocolate Easter egg every day and snacks on top of that. It impacted on my self esteem, I didn’t like the look of myself, I didn’t feel happy at all,” she said.

“I tried different diet plans, but they just didn’t work well for me. I was using spray oil for cooking, and eating low-fat yoghurt, cheese, and drinking low-fat milk, and I just ended up having lots of it.

She ditched the low-fat foodstuffs


Naomi Davies / Second Nature)

“I didn’t realise these versions were full of sweeteners. I’d always been told it was a healthy option. I just didn’t enjoy cooking or eating when I was on other diets.”

Doing online research, Naomi discovered NHS-backed Second Nature, so she felt she could “trust it”.

It also had small group sizes, no “embarrassing” weekly weigh-ins, and it was cheaper too.

The app-based programme uses behavioural science to turn bad eating habits into good ones to help people lose weight long-term.

After signing up, Naomi was given access to a qualified nutritionist and peer-support group, with people starting at the same time as her.

It also provided her with advice on exercise, sleep, strees, mindset, weight loss plateaus and the menopause. Via the app, Naomi was also able to access more than 300 recipes and she started to plan her weekly meals in advance.

“I went from skipping breakfast, eating a jacket potato with cheese and beans for lunch, and pasta and cheese for dinner, then snacking on chocolate and crisps, to eating delicious home-cooked meals. My weekly shop was £60 – now it’s £40,” Naomi said.

“I now eat fruit and yoghurt for breakfast, leftovers for lunch, and dishes like coconut dahl, creamy salmon or jerk chicken for dinner.

Now she regularly runs 10k


Naomi Davies / Second Nature)

She is also training for a marathon


“Second Nature has taught me how to have a balanced plate, and about portion sizes too. I used to have a massive plate of food and eat really quickly. Now. I still have a decent size portion, but I eat slowly, I enjoy my food and stop when I’m full.

“I’m cooking a bigger variety of food, and the recipes are really easy to follow. There are meals to pick if you’re in a rush, meals if you want to eat less carbs that day – and also lots of vegetarian and vegan options.”

Naomi used to be a keen runner but she stopped after putting on weight. She started again in September 2021, doing the ‘couch to 5km’ programme, which was “really tough”.

She said: “I never thought this time last year I’d be running 10km every other weekend and now I’m training for a half marathon in October. I feel so much more fit and happy.

In April, Naomi went for a medical appointment where she was told thanks to her weightloss, her cholesterol level had improved.

Naomi added: “I’d tried other diets in the past, but they taught me that food is the enemy. Now food is my friend. Second Nature isn’t a quick fix, but a sustainable change of living. I always felt too overweight to do the activities I used to love, such as walking. This year alone I’ve been on two week-long walking holidays – something I never believed would be possible.

“I feel more in control of my eating, and no longer see food as a reward. If I’m tired and want a takeaway, I’ll remind myself that I’m going to have the healthy dinner I’ve planned, and that there’s a takeaway night in the diary the following week. I’m in control.

“If I want to have an ice cream after my 10km run, I know that’s fine. I can enjoy it, and that’s not a bad thing and not something I need to feel guilty about.”

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