Susie lives in a residential home in East Sussex, where meals are generally prepared for her. While she has always been conscious of healthy eating, her weight had crept up and she was keen to reverse the situation.
She set a personal goal to drop a dress size and began working towards this in the summer. Not long afterwards, one of her support team saw a 12-week healthy lifestyle and weight loss course advertised. The course is run online twice a year by our Health Promotion Team for people we support. It is based on the NHS 12-week weight loss plan.
The manager at Susie’s home, Ezdra, explains: “Although Susie had already started her weight loss journey, we thought this would be interesting, with hints and ideas to help.”
As Susie is D/deaf, the Health Promotion Team provided a British Sign Language interpreter for her to participate in meetings. Topics covered included portion sizes, calories, food labels, cravings, and menu planning. In addition, everyone took part in fun exercises each week, choosing the themes and music. Resource packs sent to each person and their support teams included easy read information and handy NHS apps to use such as the Food Swap App.
Ezdra comments: “There was also a weekly pack with homework, for example keeping a diary of food eaten.”
Susie signs: “It was helpful to do the course alongside others, with other people sharing what they were doing. We supported each other and talked about being healthy. Everyone should do it!” As a very supportive person herself, Susie was also keen to encourage everyone else on the programme.
Making healthier choices
A nutritionist had already visited Susie’s home, adjusting menus to encourage healthy eating habits for all the people living there. With the additional course information and advice, Susie gained the knowledge to make dietary adjustments with healthier choices. These included choosing chicken rather than beef and reducing her portion sizes. “I only have two potatoes now,” she comments. “I changed my milk to semi-skimmed, I don’t have too much butter and I drink lots and lots of water.”
If the set menu choices don’t appeal to Susie she sometimes cooks her own meal, such as chicken and rice. She also supports the team members who are cooking the day’s meals. Sharing her newfound knowledge, such as using low calorie spray instead of oil, has become a passion.
One major change for Susie is cutting out snacks completely, even though she’s been tempted! She no longer heads for the snack cupboard when peckish, and says ‘No, thank you’ when the biscuits come out. Complimenting Susie on her self-discipline, Ezdra says: “She has been very determined – she’s set a goal and focused on it.”
Lifestyle changes for Susie include increasing personal training sessions to include a 1-1 session and walking everywhere. All in all, following the programme has helped her to shed a stone (6.5kg).
However, this story is not just about size and weight. The changes Susie has made have brought multiple additional benefits. She sleeps much better, feels more energetic and has more colour in her cheeks. Her painful knee and back have also improved. She even joined in with some dancing recently, which wouldn’t have been possible previously.
What’s more, she generally feels happier and has more confidence.
Has she achieved her goal? You bet she has! Just look at her showing off her new jeans. Typically for this lady, though, she now has two new goals – drop another dress size and meet a boyfriend. #BeingBrave #MakingThingsHappen.