A Guide To LighterLife Development

Mrs Lard

Silver Member
Ah Development! Mrs Lard’s Guide To LighterLife’s Development Programme
(A work in progress based on contributions from Cerulean, Tiger Girl and SandraEG on Minimins)

Let’s start with the basics; if you are in Development, that means you are still in abstinence! Yes, you are! That sounds very bossy, doesn’t it? Well, it comes from the voice of (painful) experience...

This is a really important fact to remember because there will be all sorts of crooked thinking that says, oh well, Foundation is over, maybe I can relax a bit.

In fact, crooked thinking dominated my Development period so…ignore it at your peril.

Many of us deviated during Development and that means one thing and one thing only – you’re making it even harder on yourself to finish Development. You slow your weight loss down, the eating (whatever is not a permitted foodpack) messes with your head (rebellious child, critical parent, victim, rescuer, persecutor – they all come out BIG time during Development).

Development is all about accessing your adult voice/state and holding it. But that is very, very hard so much thinking is needed about strategies that people can use to make this process easier.

LighterLife – having provided so much information – is woefully short on support materials during this stage of the programme. Several of us, however, have gone back to our LLCs and advised them about this and I am sure this will change for the better. But being short of materials is no excuse for straying…(take it from one who knows)!

If terms like rebellious child and critical parent don’t mean that much to you, it’s time to go back to the Green Book and remind yourself of the skills that you learnt in Foundation.

The Transition from Foundation - Development

The shift from Foundation to Development seems massive; in my Foundation group, food chat was severely limited and I see this as a very, very good thing. In Development it's an open forum. It does seem that many Development sessions (based on posts here on Minimins) focus on how people have lapsed - with details. That's a shock there is much chat about the lapses (while the weigh ins are happening). I am wondering whether this sets off a subconscious switch that says "it's ok to cheat"? Is this enabling behaviour, or not? It’s something to be prepared for when you enter Development – there may be chat about …food!


I would suggest, once you are in Development, that you may want to try flavours that you have dismissed; tastebuds do change and what you hated in Foundation, you may find you now love. I hated the nut crunch bar during most of Foundation but when I tried it half way through, I liked it and it got me through the final stages.

I also started to get addicted to certain foodpacks during Development – banana and strawberry, in particular – and other LighterLifers I know started to have more than four packs. The sweet ones were usually the culprits! So, again, play around with tastes but watch out for ones that you begin to enjoy in any other way than for nutrition, if you know what I am saying.


Several LighterLifers I know also stopped having bars towards the end of Development, particularly as you get close to your goal (see the GOAL section for details). I did too – I stuck to nut crunch, just to give me something to chew.


For the goal-phobes of Foundation (like me – worried I wouldn’t EVER be able to manage 14 weeks/100 days), this is a chance to make goal setting really work for you. For a long time, I had no goal and this limbo-like state is no good for a regime like LighterLife. If you have come through Foundation, you will be slimmer/lighter/smaller – whatever description is appropriate for you. You have proved that you can stick to the programme all the way through. (100% abstinence is the yardstick by which we should all measure ourselves but we are human so if you got to a significant weight loss (with some deviations), acknowledge that and think about how you can be kind to yourself by..staying 100% abstinent during Development).

This week, at Development, the old timers (like me) were asked to think about what advice we would give ourselves IF we were about to start Development. What would we do, with the benefit of hindsight?

My first answer was…set yourself some new goals. Go back to the goal setting sections of the green Foundation book and start to think about where, how, what you would like to be at the end of Development. And this is the important bit – it does not necessarily have to be a weight-specific goal.

This could be a weight goal, a size goal, a fitness goal, a BMI goal, a bath-test goal (my LLC advises that a good gauge is the bath test ie are you happy with what you see/how you feel in the bath).

Again, I didn’t do this (goal setting) until Cerulean (Solongandthanksforallthecheese | Diet, fitness, weight loss blog) posted this extremely helpful guide from her LLC and I am eternally grateful for this because, for me, this was the target I needed:

"The other interesting thing ... is that my counsellor (who has been doing this since the programme began) actually advises getting to BMI 22.5 and THEN losing a couple of pounds short of whatever you lost in week 1 (your glycogen load) as this is the weight that you will regain in management. Now of course some people don't need to be BMI 22.5 and as a slim person you may have a lower glycogen load than you did as a morbidly obese person, but she observed that her people that got through management tend to fluctuate by about 7lbs. So the lesson is not to expect to lose another stone in Management. I think that some people refer to Management as 'refeeding' because of this suggestion as some clients go quite low and gaunt before finally getting their glycogen back. Apparently my theory about dropping your BMI to 20-21 to shift any remaining problem areas before gaining a few lbs is also pretty sound.



Ketosis is KING in LighterLife.

This still stands in Development, as it does in Foundation. No two ways about it.

Things get messy – physically – when you start dipping in and out of ketosis.

There was a thread about hair loss – something that I experienced towards the end of Development but it did tie in with when I was not abstaining 100%. There are, apparently, reasons for this; sadly, I am not a scientist or a weight-loss expert so not sure what the biology is behind this. Anybody got some views on this?

Weight Loss – for some of us, weight loss slows right down. It took me six weeks to lose 13lbs and Cerulean wrote this http://www.minimins.com/lighter-life...-decision.html (Back from the West country - people didn't recognise me! Size 8 jeans and a decision), which is a great way to express what is going on:

Dear LL,

There's a problem here - next week if I don't lose something I will have lost close to a pound in nearly a month - I'm very very happy with the size 8 jeans though so I'll forgive you

Love Sarah

If you are expecting to continue with your one stone per month weight loss, this can be a disappointment. There are, however, other compensations – you will be smaller.


This is still critical and, if my own experience is anything to go by, I relied more on my LLC during Development than I ever did in Foundation. I had more questions, more comments, more feedback.


Development Dynamics are completely different to those of Foundation. For a start, you are no longer in your closed group; it’s a mixed bag. Some people will have been in Development for months, some for weeks.

Unless your LLC is very strict, there is unlikely to be homework BUT I urge anyone entering Development to make time to do work ‘at home’ be that group exercises, revisiting the Green Book, blogging, posting on Minimins, exploring particular issues that come up.

As with Foundation, what you sow, so shall you reap. I was so diligent about writing up every single session during Foundation but in Development…I started several exercises but never finished them. And when did I struggle and cheat the most? During Development.


As with Foundation, you should definitely be walking, as an absolute minimum. Advice for Development is the same as Foundation:

Apart from walking 10,000 steps everyday, monitored by the LighterLife pedometer, I did no exercise. This was a mistake. I would not advocate doing serious cardiovascular workouts but The Bodydoctor's (Bodydoctor Fitness - Fitness, Slimming, Training and Weight loss programmes) stomach plan is the business. If you start, as you mean to go on, you may be helping to prevent loose skin by ensuring that you are toning up as you move through Development.


Here are some useful threads about Development, that I think are worth reading:

http://www.minimins.com/lighter-life...velopment.html (The Highs and Lows of Development)

http://www.minimins.com/lighter-life...erm-llers.html (A Management Question for Cerulean and Other Long-Term LLers)

These are the blogs that I recommend for the Developer:

Live to Slim - Bring It On


Vague Glorious (Sarah's new blog address)

and maybe my own, to see how Development shouldn’t be done…(The Lard Arms)


I drove myself mad in Development; feeling as if I were constantly failing, focusing on all the things I should have done. Then Tiger Girl made a fantastic suggestion; she said focus on what works, rather than on what doesn’t!

Therefore, a major strategy for success is to go back to what you did in Foundation. What worked for you? What didn’t? Why were you able to walk away from the crisps/chocolate/toast – whatever food you like – but, somehow, in Development, you can’t?

Being in the zone – there’s so much talked about this phrase – particularly by and for athletes BUT it’s a great mindset to have. In Foundation, you were in the zone. That’s where you need to be for Development.

Development Doldrums and Back To Basics

Tied in with the above, really. I don’t think it’s co-incidental that many Developers (particularly on Minimins) find themselves going back to basics.

Crooked Thinking will tell you that the diet is boring, untenable, you’re more hungry, etc, etc, etc. I remember my LLC saying that the packs give you everything you need. No more, no less. So, if you are feeling foodpack-challenged, chances are it’s about something else entirely!

Reframing – this is a great tool to get you through the tough days.


This will really kick in during Development. Some of you may have already got lots of compliments by the end of Foundation but by the time of Development, it can feel like open season on your weight.

Just as most people would NEVER openly comment about you getting bigger (unless they were giving you tough love), the absolute opposite is true when you start losing weight. Anyone and everyone will comment and it’s really hard to stay strong.

The fact is that most people will be used to seeing you as bigger, possibly much bigger and so each time they see you, it’s a shock. They haven’t got used to you being smaller and boy, will they tell you!

If you have more weight to lose but feel pressurised to stop thanks to all the comments, (Surely, you’ve gone far enough?!/Surely, you’re not still on that diet?/Surely, you can eat now?!), you can use the BMI argument. This whole subject is about boundaries and it’s up to you to set yours. I have had to learn to say ‘thank you’ to compliments and try to cut off any further discussion unless I want to talk about my weight loss.

Conversely, some people may not comment at all; the conspiracy of silence can be hard to take! Remember, it’s about that person’s issues, not yours. Somehow, your success (at weight loss) will be triggering something for them. But that’s ok because you’re ok! (Sorry, small joke!)


I think the hardest time comes when you are close to your own chosen goal. If you, like me, have spent most of your adult life overweight, these are challenging times.

Development - Management - why is it so hard?

Of the many Development ‘chats’ between members of Minimins, Cerulean and I had a big online discussion about this:

http://www.minimins.com/lighter-life...erm-llers.html (A Management Question for Cerulean and Other Long-Term LLers)

I had a massive lightbulb moment, which came about from trying to understand why people struggle at the end of Development. I concluded it was because...Development is also the tipping point into the world of being slim/thin. Once you get down to the lower BMIs, you are slim and if you have never been that before, it's unchartered waters. Scary/exciting/overwhelming and any other emotion you want to name; I think the subconscious knows this and tries to delay making that final leap. Because once you've moved over to the "other side", it IS different (back into that experiencing it rather than contemplating it.

It may not help you being a weight holder but at least you have had a taste of what being slim feels like, particularly as you go through Management.


In the Beginner’s Guide (for Foundation), I urged people to clear their diary! But it is more than likely after six months in that, whatever time of year you started, some big events will be coming up and you may feel being less like a hermit.

Some social events were easy for me, some less so. Go with what feels right. Take a long-term view and factor in abstinence; if you want to attend something, is it in your best interest? (For example, will the pressure be too great if you say no to something? Is it easier to attend something or easier to stay away? Every situation will be different. Just be prepared.)

A POEM THAT MAY JUST STRIKE A CHORD (something we covered one week in Development)

The Journey Down the Sidewalk of Life: Psychological Self-Help

?Autobiography in Five Short Chapters By Portia Nelson

Chapter One

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost .... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter Two

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend that I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in this same place.
But, it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter Three

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit ... but, my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter Four

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter Five
?I walk down another street.

(If you go to the website, there are more discussions about each of the chapters.)


Is Development harder than Foundation? In my opinion, yes it is! BUT with the right attitude, you CAN get through it and make it work for you. Big time. You can use this time to consolidate everything you’ve learnt in Foundation and really start to apply it. If you are in Development for the long haul, see this as a golden opportunity to really get your head round the issues that got you there in the first place. Every so often there will be an influx of new people into the class; my advice is this – ask your LLC if you can have a “what advice can we give new people session”? This will enable you to set your progress in context; it will be great boost to see how far you have come and how much you have learnt (and can share). There is nothing like the appreciation of others who are behind you and who want to know what works.

And if you are in Development for a short time, then make the most of it. Route to Management will come sooner than you think so this is really the only time – while still in abstinence – to appreciate and understand the lessons that you have learnt.

Remember, set yourself some new goals, revisit them frequently, work out your vulnerable moments/situations and learn some new coping strategies. Decide to make it as easy as possible for yourself (by being SUPER kind to yourself). Don’t jeopardise all your Foundation hard work so work out what’s going to work for you. Keep going back to the basics, if you need to; practice makes perfect.


Good Luck!

CALL TO ACTION: Development Activities

I think it would be useful to document the activities and some of the theory (such as the cycle of change) and put it in one place. Can anyone remember some of the exercises they did?

I will post some that I did (road blocks – based on anticipating obstacles, the collage exercise, the pie chart exercise, the poem exercise). I didn’t do the crossing the river exercise…
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Taking it Day by Day
Thank you so much Mrs L, you are a gem!
I am due to start development tonight and this will be so helpful. I will need to print it out and read it all slowly and properly to take it all in. Even though it will be more of the same, I get the feeling it will be a very different experience. Thanks again!!

Mrs Lard

Silver Member
Very good luck, Julia.

I think being prepared is the critical thing and please, please don't get sidetracked by food chat!

I really do hope this helps!

Keep us posted; I will be really interested to know how your meeting goes tonight.

Take care.

Mrs Lxxxxx


Silver Member
S: 17st2lb C: 11st10lb G: 10st5lb BMI: 27.3 Loss: 5st6lb(31.67%)

I think this thread is very important. Thank you so much for all of the hard work you have put into it.

Here are my additional thoughts...

Set your mind
Development is all about mindset. I think I'm realising in the last few days that if I had been as focused 4 weeks ago as I am right now I might have been where I was a little sooner. But then our journeys all happen the way that they happen for very good reasons. I needed reminding that I am fallible and that I need to look after myself and calm down. I was pushing too hard and too fast before - I managed to sabotage myself into being successful in the end, I think!

I think the difference between the successful developers and those that fall by the wayside is belief. Regardless of how 'successful' or 'unsuccessful' you think you've been on Development, Mrs. L - you have retained that belief all along - which means that you are still hanging in there and haven't eaten your way from Pudding Lane to Pye Corner.

Bye bye to all or nothing/black and white - hello to all the colours of the rainbow.
I am glad that my sneaky eating has manifested itself whilst on the strict bit of the regime - the fact that I haven't talked myself out of the regime with all or nothing thinking is testament to how good the mental training has been, to how much I respect my group (including my online 'group') and my LLC and most of all how much I respect and value myself.

Lose 8 stone, gain a ton - of self-respect

The greatest gift LL has given me is self-respect. I could have ended this journey 2-3 months ago with similar results I think...but the development phase has taught me that I can stand on my own two feet - I don't need constant approval, homework or good weightlosses every week to feel like I'm getting somewhere - after all the weekly weightloss buzz will go soon - I need to find some new sort of weekly high as an alternative to the filling into of spreadsheets!

The new weekly buzz after weigh-ins have gone...
So today I tried on Next winter coat in a size 10 and although I would never buy it, it fitted me like a size 22 Dorothy Perkins coat would have fitted me this time last year. I think my new buzz will have to be popping into a designer shop and trying on something simple out on the floor like a jacket or coat in a size 10 or 12 depending on that shop's sizing and just happily looking in the mirror at the girl who wouldn't have been able to get her arms into the same size last autumn.


Full Member
Thanks for this fantastic guide, I have been panicking about starting development in 2 weeks as it sounded so unstructured. I am still panicking a bit as have kind of decided to eat a bit on my holiday in 2 weeks but hopefully if I do I can get straight back into abstinence when back. I am definately feeling better about development now though!


Silver Member
S: 17st2lb C: 11st10lb G: 10st5lb BMI: 27.3 Loss: 5st6lb(31.67%)
Hi Kerrie,

I went on holiday in week 18 I think - I stuck to LL the entire time - despite the best efforts of my Aunt to try to persuade me to come off it - I was amazed at how much extra chilling/sightseeing time not eating gave me - I started to resent the three hours watching my family having an evening meal would take out of my holiday!

I think the most influential bit of deciding what to do about abstinence came from Mike's (Icemoose) infamous blog - at the beginning of his journey he was convinced that he would eat on Christmas day - and as he got further and further into it you could almost see his determination grow by the day - as he realises he needs to stick with it.

One of the people in my group has been on about 7 holidays to Italy and several business trips around Europe. This woman has so much grit it's untrue - she even had 2 foodpacks at a £100 a head dinner at Gordon Ramsay's restaurant (and she wasn't the only person in that night on LL!) She has about 300 days of abstinence to complete - and she hasn't faltered once. She's my inspiration.

My fall off the wagon last week was unexpected and mainly due to panic and morphine and getting back on took a supreme effort of will and digging my heels in...

Sorry if that sounds strict and I don't want to lecture you - it will, in the end be your choice - but I am trying to invoke a 'no enabling behaviour' clause around these parts ;) (not really, but maybe we should!)

It's only food after all.


Full Member
I am so confused about what to do. I don't think I'd be under any pressure from most of my family even tho most don't know what I am doing but my Mum who is also on the program has decided to eat and I feel a bit like I would be doing it to make her happy and less guilty as she doesn't want people to start asking why she isn't abstinent if we are on same program. I really want to stick with it and probably in all reality wouldn't be missing much (on a holiday to the same location last year I lost a stone in 2 weeks cos I didn't like most of the food!) but I am not sure I have the grit to do it.


Silver Member
S: 17st2lb C: 11st10lb G: 10st5lb BMI: 27.3 Loss: 5st6lb(31.67%)
You'll find the answer that's right for you closer to the time - even on holiday I kept adjusting the boundaries - I said to my aunt that I would eat grilled squid if we found a good fish restaurant - we found a good fish restaurant but I wasn't bothered enough to order any. I booked to do a 16k walk down a gorge and said that I would eat a small protein meal after that - but as I got to each occasion I found I didn't want to eat. So maybe you can 'trick' yourself by saying 'when I get to the third night I will have an evening meal with the family depending on how I feel' and then see if you really want that.


Full Member
Well I've just had a discussion with Mum who was horrified that I was basing my decision to eat on hers and told me it's totally my choice and that she'll support me either way. I think I'm going to go with the intention to remain abstinent, and if any slipups happen, deal with them in an adult way rather than planning to eat (the more I think about it it is utter madness and I was only trying to fool myself - bit ashamed now :ashamed0005:). Thanks for talking some sense into me Cerulean!


Silver Member
S: 17st2lb C: 11st10lb G: 10st5lb BMI: 27.3 Loss: 5st6lb(31.67%)
It's all about the ups and downs! Some days you have more resolve than others - just try to work out what makes you tick and why you want to eat when you want to eat...glad I could be of help - but you're the one being strong here...it's down to you. If you raise the bar, you just might clear it...if you leave it where it was you'll never jump any higher.