Linda, 41, lifts the lid on the KindEating programme.
The GP surgery sent out a message to all patients with a list of other health services on offer. One of those was Help with my Weight and it was perfect timing. Only that morning, I’d been in the GPs and the doctor very gently suggested losing a bit of weight could help with my hypertension, cholesterol and acid reflux. To me it seemed like a tipping point. If I didn’t change now, I’d be at risk of being really ill. It was the motivation I needed to complete the self-referral form and sign up to the service. I was invited to the KindEating programme facilitated by a Dietitian and I joined an online group programme.
I’d tried them all. I’d done all the slimming clubs, calorie counting and others. Previously, I’d lost weight but then I’d gained it back again. I was driving a lot and living in a hotel away from home for work a few days a week. It was sandwiches in the car on the long drives and easy convenience food or something from the vending machine.
I genuinely enjoyed it and since I completed it, I’ve been recommending it to friends and family. The meetings were great and a good opportunity to exchange ideas. Plus, it was good to meet people struggling with the same thing as you. One important factor was it gave me a sense of accountability because I was asked to email my weight to the facilitator every week.
The biggest lesson was to eat more vegetables. I now fill half my plate with veg or salad and I’m amazed how full I feel, which means I don’t crave other foods. Plus, I learned eating something unhealthy is just an occasional blip, it doesn’t mean you’re going to fall back into old habits and gain the weight back. It’s not an all or nothing approach anymore but a lifestyle change.
The biggest change is how much I can exercise. Now, I go swimming regularly and jog. I’m in the middle of a charity event where I have to complete a 1km run every day in November. At the start I struggled with jogging but as the weight dropped, I found it easier and now I’ll do 2km most days. To keep it more interesting, I’ve started to drive to new places and run around there. Most importantly, I’ve been consistent and I’m trying to do a bit of exercise every day.
The easiest thing was incorporating more fruit and vegetables into everything. Once I had my plan and knew what I was doing, it was simple just to fill half the plate with salad or veg.And also learning to go for healthier choices that are simple and something I’ll continue to enjoy was straightforward. Sticking to my SMART goals on exercise was also a lot easier than I expected. It gave me a structure and I just made time to do it.
When I started the KindEating programme, it was the school holidays and we take the children out to places for treats and there was a lot of temptation. We were going to places like fast food outlets and it was hard ordering for them and not me. And I’d got into the habit of drinking a few glasses of wine on the weekend after a busy week. Although it was surprising how easily I managed to stop doing that. The groups were great, but sometimes it wasn’t always easy to a working day and join everyone online, but it was always worth it and I always took something from the group. In fact, we were on holiday camping one week and I even joined everyone online from outside my tent.
Physically, I can see a difference in the mirror and feel better, more comfortable in my clothes and I’m wearing jeans I haven’t worn in years. One thing I did notice is I’m spending a lot more time in the fruit and veg aisle at the supermarket. Not only that, but I’m building more of my meals around vegetables rather than just relying on the meat as the mainstay. My weight loss has slowed but I’m not gaining weight. And I’m learning to enjoy following a new lifestyle. Plus I’ve got a great toolkit to help me deal with any challenges I might face in the future. What was brilliant was I walked up Moel Famau with my daughter and I was fine. It was steep, but I made it to the top and best of all, the next day I wasn’t in pain and didn’t feel stiff.
Most importantly, I’ve made myself a priority and feel better than I have done for years.