By Alix Norman
In my mind, the Cambridge Weight Plan isn’t a diet. Dieting is what you do when you want to be an unhealthy, beach-ready string bean, literally one gastric bug away from size zero. No, the Cambridge Weight Plan is about being healthy, about being the best you can be, maintaining a lifestyle for the long term and, most significantly, being happy with who you are.
Based on scientific research and running for over 30 years, the Cambridge Weight Plan is an almost holistic approach to achieving – and maintaining – a happy, healthy body. Developed by Dr Alan Howard – a former researcher at Cambridge University – the Plan is the number one weight management programme globally: according to the statistics, there’s nothing else that achieves such a fast and healthy weight loss. In Cyprus alone, it’s benefited more than 45,000 people, and continues to change lives for the better every day.
“Cyprus has really embraced the Plan; it’s been wonderful,” says Helen Zenios, Cambridge Weight Plan Director Cyprus, who became the distributor for the island eight years ago. “Every time someone reaches their goal weight, I’m consumed with pride; I absolutely love what I do, it’s my passion.” A dynamic, intelligent and caring woman, Helen herself is living proof – like almost all the Cambridge Weight Plan Consultants – that the programme really works. “I lost 20 kilos in three months; got down to a size 10 and was absolutely delighted with the results. And then I decided I wanted to help others too,” she explains.
And help others she has, everyone from overweight teenagers on the road to diabetes, to obese adults suffering from weight-related health complications. The results, it seems, speak for themselves. Especially here in Cyprus where, under Helen’s auspices, the Cambridge Weight Plan has leapt from strength to strength. “To date, we’ve won nine awards,” she beams. “The International Distributor Award, Marketing Excellence Award, Triumph Over Adversity Award….” The list goes on. But where the Cyprus division really stands out is in the International Slimmer Category.
“We’ve won the International Slimmer of the Year Award four times now,” says Helen with quiet pride, referencing the journey of the Plan’s latest triumph: Renos Demetriou. A once severely overweight teenager, 17-year-old Renos lost 75kg with the Cambridge Weight Plan, and attributes his success to the support of his Consultant, Despo Kozakou.
“The consultants are extremely important,” says Helen, giving a brief overview of how it all works. “We always start with a medical screening before the programme begins, and then we select a Plan that suits the slimmer’s lifestyle, integrating cognitive therapy techniques and guidance on a regular basis.” This is where the consultants come in: frequent visits and phone calls providing much-needed support.
“Our consultants,” says Helen, “are not only there to help with the weighing and measuring every week, they also offer huge amounts of encouragement and advice – the psychological support that many people need. Most of our consultants have completed the plan themselves – therefore they totally empathise with the slimmer and establish a rapport, acting as a role model, giving them the confidence that they can do it.”
Having met Lisa Karatzia – who’s in charge of Consultant Support Management Cyprus – it’s easy to see why the consultant method is a key element of the programme: she’s empathic, understanding, and has completed the plan herself. “We do what we do because we’re really making a difference,” she says. “We’re changing lives. I remember having to help one woman up the steps when she first came to see me: she was 140kg and heading for a heart attack. Now she’s lost over 70 kilos she’s a different woman – you should see how happy she is buying clothes! She’s got her life back.”
Liza shows me some of the specially designed Cambridge Weight Plan product range – Apple and Cinnamon porridge, Blueberry and Pomegranate yoghurt drinks and Chocolate shakes, among others – which are not only tasty and filling, but also specially formulated to provide all the nutritional value one needs. “Interestingly, we in the western world are suffering from more malnutrition than the people of many of the poorer countries globally,” Helen explains. “Because much of the food we eat is processed, all the goodness – the vitamins and the minerals – have been stripped, replaced with artificial chemicals.
“Our bodies tend to end up using what minerals and vitamins we have for maintenance, rather than to fight infection and disease. So when someone begins the Plan, one of the first things that happens is their bodies are restored virtually to full health: their blood sugar drops, cholesterol levels fall, diabetes is significantly improved and – in some cases – reversed. Once you’ve been on the plan for several weeks, youbegin to absorb all the nutrients your body needs to return to full health.”
“I feel completely revitalised,” says 40-year-old Sotiroulla Georgiou, who lot over 20 kilos with the Plan, regaining both her mental and physical wellbeing along the way. “I started because I had gained so much weight that I could not bear to see myself in the mirror. I was a psychological mess. I had tried many other diets but without any result, because I was always hungry, and so stopped dieting because of the hunger pangs.” But with the healthy lifestyle, nutritious products and help of her consultant, Sotiroulla was able to “see results every week as the weight fell off. I love the new me!” she adds.
There are endless testimonials attesting to the Plan’s efficacy, and Helen attributes this to a formula that really does work. Especially here in Cyprus, where the attitude to food is not always healthy, and no social gathering is complete without a straining table. “What we do helps to re-educate: it breaks the habit of snacking, encourages portion control and nutrition. And, most importantly, we’re helping people to get their lives back,” she concludes. “After all, we are what we eat.” And with the success on the island of the Cambridge Weight Plan, what we are is indeed a far happy, healthier nation. Now there’s some food for thought!
The Cambridge Weight Loss Plan
Based in Larnaca,with over 60 accredited consultants operating in Cyprus. It cannot be bought over the counter, but is distributed only through the consultants. For more information visit www.cambridgeweightplan.com.cy, email [email protected] or call the Freephone number 7000 4505