By Vicky Masterson, freelance journalist, City Desk
A SELF-CONFESSED chocoholic has lost almost a stone and a half and started a new life in Australia selling fitness equipment after starring in a new weight loss DVD produced by celebrity hypnotist and life coach Ali Campbell.
At 5ft 3in tall Claire Horn was 11st 4lb and looking for a new career challenge when she volunteered to be a live case study for The Slim Girl's Box of Secrets, a new weight loss system that Ali says allows anyone to achieve a permanently slim figure and incorporates the secrets he has perfected to help clients from rock stars to royalty achieve their goals.
Eight months later, Claire was (and still is) living her dream of working and living in Australia.
"I definitely had a sweet tooth for most things, but chocolate was one of my favourite treats - and when I was in the mood, it was sometimes hard to stop!" Claire says. "Now I feel great, I look good, I have more confidence and I can take or leave chocolate, bread, pasta or whatever it was I used to crave.
"I love the sense of adventure that I feel out here, the feeling of flying by the seat of my pants and knowing that I can do anything I want at the drop of a hat. That's something Ali helped me realise."
Early last year, 25-year-old Claire from East Kilbride was filmed taking part in live coaching, hypnosis and fitness sessions with Ali and Personal Trainer Alba Feely.
The live sessions Ali filmed with Claire demonstrate many of the secrets of eliminating cravings, switching off 'must have' foods like chocolate and dealing easily with stress. These feature on one of two DVDs that are included in The Slim Girl's Box of Secrets alongside a 240+ page book, two audio CDs and a specially designed style guide with tips such as what fashions and colours suit different body shapes and skin tones.
The book and one of the audio CDs both contain specifically designed language designed to be used daily for what Ali describes as weight loss without dieting.
Having learned the techniques in her sessions with Ali, Claire says she now feels totally different about food.
"If I do have a craving now for something like chocolate pasta or bread, I can overcome those cravings very quickly using the techniques I learned making the DVD," she says.
“You're are in control of how you feel about food, so rather than finish a whole chocolate bar, you might just want one square or decide you don't want it at all. I'm eating what I want to now, but just not as much rubbish."
A maths, statistics and finance graduate from Strathclyde University, Claire was in her third year working as a statistician for the Scottish Arts Council in Edinburgh when she started the 'Slim Girl's' process. But she had always harboured an ambition to go to Australia and the sessions with Ali gave her the boost she needed to take the plunge. She now loves her new job down under marketing exercise equipment on behalf of a manufacturer - a role she feels her fresh interest in fitness naturally drew her towards. The job so far has taken Claire to Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane to exhibit at shows.
"The coaching with Ali got me more focused on what I wanted to do and helped me overcome any obstacles or challenges that might have been facing me in getting here," Claire says. "It gave me the confidence to bite the bullet, leave a stable job and my family and finally come over. Being here is helping me to appreciate the things that I once took for granted back home. I'm developing a different way of looking at things in that I've realised, no matter where I am, life is what I make it - anything I want."
By Daily Mirror
At a whopping size 34, life had become a real struggle for Sara Chambers Ross
Just getting dressed in the morning left her panting because she was so unfit and she couldn't walk more than 50 yards without being in agony.
However, no-one would have quessed that she was miserable about her size. "I was the big jolly one who told jokes and I hid behind my humour. In many of the photos taken before I lost the weight I'm in fancy dress - and I've usually got a drink in my hand," says Sara, 41. "Now I realise that I got drunk to escape. For those few hours, I could forget that I was dangerously overweight and disgusted with my body."
Last New Year's Eve, Sara admits to enjoying a big blowout. She downed 20 Vodka and cokes and then on her way home stopped at the chip shop for a battered sausage, beef and onion pie and chips."I knew I shouldn't be eating fast food but because I was tipsy I didn't care," she says."But on New Year's Day I looked in the mirror and like every other day thought 'I hate myself'. Then I staggered downstairs, which was hard because of my size, and ate a fry up to help my hangover." If it was a weekday I wouldn't be hungover so I'd skip breakfast then binge at lunch time. Food and drink were my comfort and my enemy."
But last New Year became a turning point. Successful in her career as a senior manager for a fostering agency, and in a happy relationship with John, 43, for 17 years, Sara realised it was time to take control of the one area of her life she'd been neglecting - her health. "In January 2009, I went to see my GP for some slimming advice determined to tackle my size - and he was brutally honest. He said that if I didn't lose weight I could die and he put me on the waiting list for stomach stapling. I was terrified of dying but even more scared of the risk of going under the knife and it was the wake-up call I needed."
Sara embarked on a low calorie diet as suggested by her doctor. But given her history - she'd been struggling with her weight since her teens - she knew she needed some help. "I had to change my relationship with food, I needed a diet that wasn't a diet," says Sara, from Church Stretton, Shropshire.
After searching the internet, Sara found The Slim Girl's Box of Secrets which has been devised be weight-loss expert Ali Campbell. The box contains a self-hypnosis CD, a book, a one-to-one coaching CD, an exercise DVD, a Life Coaching DVD and a style kit. "Listening to the CD and watching the DVDs for the first time I thought 'I'm going to lose weight for good'. My Achillies' heel was always chips and crisps. Ali got me to imagine these foods mixed up with something I found disgusting and after doing this I couldn't touch another chip!"
As well as overhauling her diet, and beating her cravings, Sara did the exercise DVD every day in her front room. At first she could only manage five minutes but after two months she could do the entire 40 minute workout. "I started to see exercise as fun time and not a punishment. I even started going out for long walks." After a month, Sara had lost 1st 7lbs and since then she's dropped over a stone every month. "I learned that I didn't need junk food to make me happy," she adds.
"Being so fat meant that all my clothes came from special shops. But in September I was able to go to Wallis and buy my first pair of 'normal' trousers." But the biggest change has been her partying, Sara hasn't touched a drop of alcohol since embarking on her new lifestyle.
"It seems a waste of time to eat properly and exercise then spoil it by consuming so many empty calories. I'm not saying I'll never have a glass of wine again but at the moment I'm teetotal and loving it." On New Year's Eve, Sara enjoyed a party at her house. "I didn't drink, I didn't eat a take-away and I even danced the night away in heels!"
By Slim Girl's member STREWTHIE
I have been doing this for nearly a year, i have periods when I lose lots of weight quite quickly and then i go for months without losing hardly anything. The huge change for me is though I have kept the weight off and i don't every spiral out of control anymore. I still have to lose about 21 pounds to reach my goal ....... I know i will do it and I don't really care whether it takes me another year or not because I feel great. Don't worry about how quickly it happens just know that it WILL happen xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
By Slim Girl's member JoLee
Food no longer dominates my thoughts, trying not to think about eating things like chocolate. Now I just have some when I fancy it but I never eat much. Leaving food on my plate, sleeping better, feeling better.
All sorts really.I just wanted to share my news with you to let you know that this works if you give it time.
By Slim Girl's member twink656
my relationship with food has altered so much, choc in partic was much food of choice and i could very easily eat 4-5 choc bars, now dont seem to hold much interest for me, and that not something ive done on purpose......
i seem to want more flavorsome foods, and love cooking again, something that for a long time ive dreaded,
ive stopped snacking inbetween meals..... and im happy to say no to things which is a big difference for me
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“I weighed myself on the 23rd of August, the day I ordered my box. Now, on the 21st of Sept, I've lost 17 and a half pounds in weight!!!!!”
“The website is fantastic. Ali has answered all my emails within 24 hours and I know he is there to support me. I would personally like to thank him for changing my life in such a short space of time.”
“I have lost 20lbs... I even lost weight over Christmas. I don't argue with myself anymore, I think like a thin person!”
“Ali Campbell has mastered the skills required to turn weight loss into second nature. It worked for me - I lost more than 24lbs without giving it a thought. There really is no better way!”
“My family can't believe the difference and I really do enjoy eating healthily now. I don't get the chance to exercise as I look after 5 children but I've still lost 14lbs in 3 weeks. I'm feeling fantastic, have more energy and feel sure that my life has changed forever.”
“This set has changed my life! Honestly one of the best purchases i've ever made and still got so many great results to go!! xx”
“I lost 50lbs and stress free... It's a year from when my life changed.”
“I have dropped down two dress sizes. I feel much more confident and happier with my new self image.”
“It's been two months now and I still haven't eaten chocolate at all. I am enjoying losing weight and have passed my medical for Australia. I can't wait to start my new life. Thank you so much.”
“I am convinced! I have been running upstairs, dancing in the kitchen for no apparent reason, and seriously thinking about whether I am hungry or still hungry before reaching for food.”
“In just the first five weeks of using the techniques I was amazed at how much I achieved. I have so much more energy, lost a stone in weight, dropped a dress size, gained more confidence and a whole new way of looking at life”