When I first started out on the Live Well Plan, I probably didn’t have the enthusiasm for starting it that I should have done. There had been a bit of a mix-up and my referral had been lost. So there had been a number of weeks in between my seeing the nurse and my actually starting on the course. My initial enthusiasm had waned somewhat over the time in-between. Also, countless years of ‘dieting’ from being a teenager onward with little success, hadn’t instilled confidence either.
Weight always seems to have been an issue in my life. I’ve tried virtually every ‘diet’ going - from all-liquid diets to the F Plan and every one in between. I often lost weight quickly but never managed to keep the weight off as I’ve returned to usual eating habits.
Serious health issues in my late 20s, COPD, forced me to stop work and ultimately, my weight increased even further. When I finally managed to quit smoking, about nine years ago, I probably substituted one addiction for another and gained even more weight.
My confidence reached an all-time low, not helped by cruel comments and jibes and people sniggering. It upset me greatly but still I seemed unable to sort the problem out. My physical wellbeing was worsening too - my breathing was getting worse, I was struggling to put socks or shoes on and my joints were aching more.
The first time I met Debbie, my Live Well lady, I expected to be put on a strict regime of diet and exercise straight away. However, that first session was more about talking, plus measuring my fat levels and weight etc. Debbie wanted me to keep a food diary for a week to see what kind of food I was eating. I was put more at ease because it seemed that expectations weren’t to be set too high straight away. She was very interested in how I was feeling psychologically, not just physically.
After that first week - instead of major changes to my diet, which I had expected - Debbie encouraged me to make small changes, try different foods and different ways of cooking, also to pre-plan meals for the week. I didn’t have to eat anything I didn’t want to or deprive myself of all the food I did like. We would discuss new meals to try and I was trying food that I’d not tried before. I now cook the same meals for myself and my husband too.
He is Type 1 Diabetic and his glucose levels have improved on the new regime too as we are eating a lot more fresh fruit and vegetables.
The exercise has been very important and again Debbie started me off with manageable amounts - building up to more challenging tasks.
My exercise regime is now such that it is varied enough to keep me interested but not too much that it becomes a chore.
To date I have lost over four and a quarter stones and the transformation has been great. I have dropped four + dress sizes and my weight is still decreasing, albeit a little slower now.
My confidence in myself is so much greater and physically things have improved substantially. My breathing is so much better and I am so much more agile, with more energy. So many people have commented to me about my weight loss and how much better I look.
Being on the Live Well Plan has, without wishing to sound dramatic, changed my life. It has also changed my perceptions of ‘diet’. I’m not on a diet anymore. I have changed my eating habits but I don’t feel unhappy or deprived anymore. I eat out, go on holidays, away for weekends. I can live my life but still manage to balance it all out.
Debbie has shown me that I can still enjoy what I’m eating while eating healthily. I enjoy the exercise I’m doing while not making it all into a chore. I feel like I’ve finally learnt the right balance in my life.
I don’t want to embarrass Debbie, but she has been the major factor in how successful this Live Well programme has been for me. She has encouraged me, given me confidence in myself, listened to my problems and judged just the right way and levels of dietary changes and exercise that has suited me. At times she has challenged me too and taken me out of my comfort zone. She has even given up her own time to help me shop for clothes for a recent holiday. More importantly - I feel like I gained a good friend.
I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity to attend the Live Well Programme. I hope my success can help towards others having the same benefits I have had. I appreciate that these programmes cost money but feel that, with mine at least, it would be a fraction of the cost of the health needs I was hurtling towards and have, hopefully, lessened now.
For more information on the Live Well Programme, please click on the link below
Find out more