How I Lost 56 Pounds In 6 Months

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Hello! Who are you and what did your transformation look like?

Hello, my name is Kim Shipp; I’m from the United Kingdom (UK), but currently living in Brunei, SE Asia, accompanying my military spouse on an overseas posting. I wanted to talk about my transformation story because after 17+ years I can confidently say I’ve nailed ‘dieting’ (a term I use loosely, as I’m definitely not on a ‘diet’)! I should also add from the outset that I am only partway through my journey, but knowing how inspired I feel by reading other people’s journeys, I wanted to reach out and share my experience to date. 

In summary, as of June 2021 I have lost 56 pounds, and have dropped approximately four (UK) dress sizes, going from a UK 16/18 to a UK 10/12. I started a time-restricted eating plan on 4 January 2021 (eating between 12-8pm); within a fortnight, I had found Gin Stephens‘ podcasts and then her books (Delay, Don’t Deny and Fast Feast Repeat.) I jumped straight into intermittent fasting with a 20:4 window (20 hours fasting / 4 hour eating window). I now predominantly follow a 22:2 window, and I do a 42-46 hour fast every other week. 

First picture was taken December 2020; second picture was taken on my eleventh wedding Anniversary, May 2021 – I had not realized how bloated I had become!

What’s your backstory and why did you decide to transform yourself?

I’ll provide some background to my weight loss journey… As a child/teenager I was average weight. I think my weight started to creep up as I hit my early twenties, which I was fine with because I would have described myself as being a ‘happy fat person’ for the next ten-plus years. I am not sure at what point that changed, or why; I just remember thinking I was tired of being big, and being the biggest out of all my friends. 

My earliest record of my weight was in January 2004 (age 31), when I joined a slimming club (Weight Watchers) for the first time, and I weighed in at 227 pounds, which for my height (5 foot 3 inches) was considered morbidly obese. I was a UK clothes size 18/20. Prior to joining Weight Watchers I had spent several months trying to lose weight on my own, by just reducing my food intake (I was having Special K cereal for breakfast and lunch, and eating a healthy dinner) and I had lost about 28 pounds. However, when it started to creep back on, I knew I needed help, so by joining a slimming club it gave me some accountability with the weekly weigh-in by someone other than myself. 

I absolutely loved Weight Watchers, I felt motivated week on week with my progress, and really enjoyed the camaraderie of the group. By June 2006 I had reached my target, weighing 139.5 pounds, and wearing a UK clothes size 8. I felt fantastic, and with my reduction in weight, I found a new confidence in myself. This in turn brought me to making the hard decision to transform my life in other ways, and I separated from my first husband in early 2007. 

It was on a night out on 25 May 2007 that I met my second husband (to be), Mick. We were married in Grenada, in the Caribbean, three years to the date we met, and I can honestly say he is the best thing that has ever happened to me.  

kim shipp

After meeting Mick, I did remain at target, or thereabouts for a couple of years; but as we all know ‘boys make you fat’ – it is very easy to become comfortable in your relationship and easy to let things slip… 

Over the next several years I regained and lost the same 40-60 pounds several times over; initially with Weight Watchers, and latterly with Slimming World. I again reached my target with Weight Watchers in June 2012 (weighing 152 pounds), and then with Slimming World in April 2014 (weighing 156 pounds), and in March 2019 (weighing 153 pounds). 

First picture 1998 – 28 years old; the others taken between 2008-2017 demonstrating the fluctuations in my weight gains/losses.

I have dieted on/off for the last seventeen plus years of my life, weighing anywhere between 152-221 pounds. 

Along the way I have tried several other diets, including the Cambridge Diet (losing 31 pounds in quick time for a holiday!) and the Secret Drops Diet, which worked like an appetite suppressant – none of which were sustainable to become lifestyle changes, but ‘quick wins’, which usually mean you gain all the weight back and more once you stop following that particular diet.    

My weight loss/gain journey was harder with being married to someone in the military because we moved house/area every couple of years at least; so over the course of our eleven-year marriage to date, we have moved eight times. With every move, I have had to settle in and find a new slimming group to attend; so invariably I always take a few weeks/months off, and before I know it, I have regained weight and would be nearly back to where I started the time before. In addition to that, finding the right group leader and members is definitely key to success. I know that when I have been lucky enough to do that, that is when I have been most successful in losing weight, as you feel motivated and want to do well, not just for yourself, but for your consultant, and those members who have become friends. Also, the times where I have decided to ‘go it alone’ are the times where I have lost the least amount of weight (until now).    

Take us through the process of transforming yourself.

Prior to leaving the UK for Brunei (in August 2020), I weighed approximately 175 pounds, wearing a UK clothes size 12. When I next weighed myself (post-arrival of our shipping that brought my weighing scales), in early October 2020, I weighed 196 pounds, and my UK size 14 clothes were tight. My husband and I continued to indulge over the next couple of months, thoroughly enjoying our time in Brunei, and we knew that come January 2021 we had to sort ourselves out and both lose some weight. 

kim shipp
First picture taken December 2020; second picture taken April 2021.

During my years of dieting, I have always exercised. My exercise routines have varied over the years from being part of a gym and/or classes to running, swimming, cycling and walking. I have only ever managed to lose weight whilst exercising, and following a healthy balanced diet. If I ever tried one without the other, I would generally gain weight. Over the years my miles of pounding the streets, along with my excessive weight have resulted in me being diagnosed with osteoarthritis in both my knees in December 2020, following an MRI scan. In turn, came the realization that I had to not only lose the weight again, but I had to lose the weight for good this time – my ‘aha moment’; no more yo-yo dieting.  

I knew that if I ever wanted to be able to live life to the fullest, and get back to being able to run again, and return to the level of exercise I was used to, I needed to take some of the pressure off my knees, which meant losing weight. So, having done a little research, I decided that come (Monday) 4 January 2021 (diet mentality meant you always had to start a ‘diet’ on a Monday!) I was going to start a new health regime with time-restricted eating, a plan I had never really followed before. All of my previous diets had usually involved eating on average six times a day – breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, mid-afternoon snack, dinner and evening snack; so only eating between the hours of 12:00 (midday) and 8pm was new to me. I used to think that if I did not eat breakfast I would feel nauseous etc, and not be able to get through the day, but how wrong I was. 

Day one of my time-restricted eating plan I weighed in at 220.5 pounds, which was only a few pounds away from being back to my all-time heaviest recorded weight!! By 18 January 2021, I had lost my first 14 pounds; and I had done some further research discovering Gin Stephen’s and Intermittent Fasting. I took the plunge and jumped straight in with a 20:4 schedule (20 hours fasting and a 4-hour eating window). I ordered both of Gin’s books, ‘Delay Don’t Deny’ and ‘Fast Feast Repeat’; and began listening to Gin and Melanie Avalon’s podcast ‘Intermittent Fasting Podcast’ and Gin’s ‘Intermittent Fasting Stories’. Whilst both very informative and inspirational, I absolutely loved listening to the stories as I could really relate with people’s journeys, and loved picking up hints and tips for managing my own Intermittent Fasting lifestyle.   

In my first month I lost 17.5 pounds; month two – 16.75 pounds; month three – 7.25 pounds;  month four – 8 pounds; month five – 6 pounds. To date (as of 15 June 2021) I am 58 pounds lighter, with approximately another 26 pounds to lose. That being said I am now comfortably fitting into a UK clothes size 12, and many size 10s. So whilst I would love to see the number come down further on the scale (diet mentality brian), I am very accepting of knowing Intermittent Fasting is now my lifestyle; therefore I am in no rush for the pounds to continue to drop as quickly. I now have no specific goal weight in mind, or dress size; I am just happy knowing that with body recomposition, my shape will continue to change for the better. I am confident in the process, and believe my body will know when it reaches the right weight to be living a healthy lifestyle.  

(The first gym picture was taken two weeks into my journey, having already lost 14 pounds; but even without a starting photo, the difference is incredible) 

Since your transformation or hitting your goal, what has worked to maintain or keep making progress?

All I know for now is that I have successfully lost enough weight, so far, for the pressure through my knees to have been released; and although osteoarthritis cannot be reversed, because the inflammation has greatly reduced, if not gone altogether, I have started to run again, whether that be on a treadmill or outside in the glorious Brunei sunshine. There are days when I cannot run as far or as fast as I would like, but I am hopeful that I will continue to improve as I drop more weight and reduce more pressure off my knees. I have also completed some fabulous jungle walks, which I was struggling to do previously, which makes me, and my husband, very happy.

Whilst living in Brunei, I am lucky enough to not have to work (having taken an extended period of special leave from my job in the UK, working for the Home Office). This enables me to be a ‘lady of leisure and I am fortunate enough to be able to spend several hours each day at the local Hotel and Country Club (The Empire), using the gym facilities, attending classes and swimming in both the indoor and outdoor swimming pools. In addition, as the weather here in Brunei is regularly over 30 degrees, I can often be found lying by the pool on a sun lounger, reading or listening to a podcast whilst relaxing under the shade of an umbrella.   

Have you started any supplements, vitamins, routines or swaps that have assisted on your journey?

I do not (now or previously) take any form of supplements or vitamins. I ‘clean’ fast, which means during my fasting window I only drink plain water, black tea or black coffee, with no added fat, or artificial sweeteners. No bone broth, no added lemon, no flavoured teas or coffee, or anything at all that contains calories.   

As I am still in the early stages of living an Intermittent Fasting lifestyle, I am still eating and drinking whatever I want within my eating window, which is great as I never feel like I am missing out as I have done when dieting previously. However, I am confident that overtime, all the foods that are considered unhealthy, I will naturally not want to eat within my eating window, and I’ll sway towards a whole foods ‘diet’.  

I finally feel that with Intermittent Fasting I have found a way of eating that is sustainable for life. I love the freedom from constantly thinking about what I would be eating next; not to mention the money we save by not eating up to six times a day! Although I should add that when only having one meal a day (OMAD) it does turn you into a food snob, as you only want to be eating foods of a quality that are considered ‘window worthy’.   

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Moving forward I will be continuing to embrace an Intermittent Fasting lifestyle, and continue to see my body and mind improving every day. I would like to move from ‘overweight’ as classified by the BMI chart to ‘normal’, which for my height, I would need to fall within 113-141 pounds. So ideally I will end up around 125 pounds. However, I have always been muscley, and therefore accept that whilst the scales may show a higher than ideal weight, that is never reflected in the way I feel/look, and in my clothes size, as I have lean muscle weight. So I am aiming for a goal body rather than a goal weight. My happy place will be when I look in the mirror and I like all of what I see looking back at me; and the bonus will be to comfortably fit into all UK size 10 clothes, no matter what the clothing brand.   

I have recently tried paddleboarding for the first time, and absolutely loved it! Had I still been carrying the extra fifty plus pounds, not only would I not have had the confidence to have a go, I would not have been able to have knelt on the board in the first place. 

kim shipp
(My second attempt at paddleboarding; which would not have been possible before when my knees were so inflamed and sore) 

I will continue to mainly follow a 22:2 schedule, completing a 38-46 hour fast at least every other week, and more frequently if my schedule allows. I recently tried alternate day fasting (ADF), which I enjoyed, especially as on the ‘up’ days, you eat two or three meals, over a minimum of eight hours, which can include breakfast if you so wish. However, whilst I found I could fast for extended periods with ease, I prefer to have a daily eating window, so that I can enjoy sitting down to eat with my husband in the evening. 

I wish I had found Intermittent Fasting years ago, and saved myself the constant battle of losing and gaining the same pounds over and over again, whilst always being on a ‘diet’ and going through many periods of time where I would be denying myself the foods I really wanted to eat. As I have alluded to already, with Intermittent Fasting, no food is off-limits, you just need to delay the time when you eat, rather than what you eat.  

I cannot recommend an Intermittent Fasting lifestyle highly enough; and no-one should dismiss trying it for themselves due to a belief that it will be impossible to go a certain amount of time without eating. I now feel confident that in any social setting, I can choose to open my window early for the day. With Intermittent Fasting it is so easy to fit your eating window around your plans for the week; and actually it helps to mix it up a little. So for example I may follow 22:2 Monday to Wednesday, but then on Thursday go out with friends, so I would extend my window to 19:5 or beyond if required. Over the weekend, we may want to go out for brunch, and eat dinner too, so I would extend my eating window to 16:8, and just be more flexible over the weekend.  

Upon my return to the UK in approximately two years time, I am certain Intermittent Fasting will be embedded in my life, and therefore returning to a routine of work/life balance, will have no adverse impact. Looking forward I can only see the positives, one of which will be not having to think about what food to buy and pack to take to work.   

Through your transformation journey, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Through my transformation journey, with discovering Intermittent Fasting, I finally know I have found what works for me; and I am confident that this is a lifestyle change and not a ‘diet’. I have said several times over the years when I have reached my desired weight at that time, that I would not put the weight back on, and that ‘this time’ I intend to keep the weight off, as I am happier when I am slimmer, and feel good in my clothes etc. However, that has never been the case (until now), and I have always regained some of the weight back. This last time around though was my biggest rebound gain to date, and that makes me sad to realise that I had let myself get back to being such an unhealthy weight.  

I know that I find Intermittent Fasting easy and love the way I now feel; and can only see further improvements in the months and years to come. I also love that my husband is on this journey with me, as it is made so much easier by us both following an Intermittent Fasting lifestyle, albeit he has longer eating windows than I do, and is more flexible than me (at the moment, but I can see myself being more flexible in the future).

To record my progress, I take pictures at regular intervals; I initially weighed weekly, but currently I weigh daily (for data purposes), and I take measurements every few weeks.  

I am a big believer in that in order for anyone to lose weight ‘you’ have to want to do it; if your head is not in the right place, you will always find a million reasons to give up, and ‘start again on Monday’. At this present moment in time, I do still have some mentality of a ‘dierter’ as after all these years it is ingrained in me to a certain extent. That said, I have definitely moved away from any low-fat / diet type foods and drinks, so I am going in the right direction.  

What platform/tools/apps do you use for your transformation?

I have several tools I use for my Intermittent fasting lifestyle. I use the ‘Fasting’ app to keep a log of my windows; I use a Fitbit to track my daily steps (my weekly steps vary between 140,000 – 210,000). I log my weight with the ‘Happy Scale’ app and the ‘Weight Loss’ app; and since 14 April 2021 with Renpho, as having purchased the electronic scales, they sync with my phone, and provide lots of additional data, alongside your weight. I love being able to see my body fat percentage decrease, as well as my metabolic age. 

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I have been immensely inspired by Gin Stephen’s and found her story invaluable to my journey. I also resonate with many of the people who Gin converses with on her Intermittent Fasting Stories podcast. Gin has a style of talking that really draws you in, and makes you feel that anything is possible. I am still working my way through both of Gin’s podcasts relating to Intermittent Fasting and I am learning new information all the time, which I incorporate into my own journey. 

I have done some reading relating to Intermittent Fasting from other authors, including reading Dr Jason Fung’s book The Obesity Code, which I enjoyed, but personally found the science overbearing and more information that I required, as I was already hooked just from reading Gin’s story. I have also watched several YouTube videos, as all knowledge is power. I am currently reading Bert Herring’s AC: The Power of Appetite Correction to help me achieve appetite correction and lose all of my excess fat.    

Advice for others who want to get started or are just starting out on their transformation journey?

For anyone who has ever been a serial yo-yo dieter, I cannot recommend Intermittent fasting highly enough. I genuinely believe anyone can get started by just reading one of Gin’s books, she is so inspirational. I now feel fantastic, and whilst I know I still have some weight to lose, and have areas of my body that still look and feel ‘fat’ to me, I know that over time my body will continue to transform, and believe I will ultimately revert to being the weight I was in my late teens/early twenties. 

Without a doubt, I started Intermittent Fasting for weight loss, but I have learned that there is so much more to it than that. Even when I reach my desired goal, I know I will continue to follow an Intermittent Fasting lifestyle for the health benefits, living a longer and all-around healthier life.