I can finally get a good night's sleep
My referral to the NHS Healthier You (NDPP)/WW (formerly Weight Watchers) programme came from my annual check-up with my GP. It wasn’t the first time they had recommended that I had to lose weight, but heading into the COVID 19 pandemic, the time finally felt right for me to take the challenge, as I knew I had a lot of health conditions that were only going to get worse, if I didn’t do something about it.
I suffered from high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and had sleep apnoea, which is managed using a CPAP machine to keep airways clear during sleep. The pressure from this machine is used to keep airways clear and was sitting at a pressure of 18. I was suffering about 45 episodes a night, meaning my sleep was broken and disturbed. I struggled to walk up the stairs and would put off jobs needing multiple visits to higher floors in the house, as we live in a three-storey house, especially the attic rooms. I would find myself taking a breather between floors especially if it involved the attic. The same could be said for my workplace, where the main struggle was walking up stairs. Also, the size of the workplace, being a large site made it difficult to walk around without getting breathless.
My journey started well, losing 7 pounds in my first week, then lockdown happened, and the workshops moved to zoom online. I did find this challenging to begin with, but my coach Anna kept in touch with me to help me get started with it all, and now I just love them!
They are an excellent form of support, with members who were just like me, and Anna, keeps everyone involved. My healthier you work- book was well thumbed during these workshops. I started to develop some new habits by this time, and this was helping me stay on track. It was clear that you had to put in work on the journey yourself as well as change habits. The time of lock down from March 2020 helped along with the weather, as it allowed me to get busy in my allotment, and do more walking, and to my delight, continued to see the weight falling off. It was normal to see a 3-pound weekly weight loss. I continued to lose weight until Christmas day when I tipped the scales at 16 Stone exactly, which far exceeded my expectations. I had hoped to lose 4 stone, so smashed that. Since Christmas I have maintain this, and it’s become a lot easier than I expected.
I had great support at home with my wife Susan, and the family, who are always keen to hear how I had got on each week, which helped.
The much healthier me has now gone from 21st 9 ½ lbs to 16th. My blood sugar level has reduced to 42, meaning that my risk of diabetes has reduced dramatically. The biggest change is having to buy new clothes. My socks are the only things that still fit, and I have dropped from a size 4XL to XL in tops, and 52-inch waist down to 40 inches. I can shop in stores I could never look in before, instead of mainly buying online.
My sleep apnea has improved as my pressure reading from my CPAP machine has dropped from 18 to 11, and my broken sleep episodes has reduced from around 45 to 4 a night, which means I’m not getting an increased amount of unbroken sleep and sleeping longer and better than ever before.
I find stairs and walking much easier now, although I’ve never been one for exercise. I will probably work on this to help me achieve that final bit of weight loss. The bike might find its way out of the shed yet. Walking distances is not a problem anymore, and in 2019 I went to see Fleetwood Mac at Wembley with my son, for my Christmas present and although some parts of the walk were difficult, I managed and had a great time. I have two grandchildren on the way now due in July and October and feel I can look forward to spending time with them both, where previously I would have struggled to even get involved.
I used to eat large portions, with no real thought to my food, and a typical breakfast would be toast and butter, lunch would be something from my works canteen like pie and chips, or a curry and chips, plus I would get another meal when I got home. WW has taught me to eat more, but the right types of foods, and breakfast is now muesli with a yoghurt and banana, lunch home made soup or sandwich, and dinner is a homemade chickpea curry. Snacks are not lots of fresh fruit, and I have reduced my portion sizes.
I would like to say a massive thank you to the NHS Healthier You (NDPP) programme and WW, as without this amazing scheme, I wouldn’t be the much smaller and healthier man I am today.
I was unable to sustain any distance walking and found climbing stairs difficult. I continued with day-to-day household chores, but always felt exhausted, and out of breath.
I started the plan at the end of January 2020, then lockdown happened in March. I was focused that I was going to stay on track, and I continued tracking my meals daily. I could do this. I then decided I had to get over my technology fear and started joining the WW online virtual workshops. WW made it so easy, and this was a light bulb moment for me.
I have explored, embraced, and enjoyed every aspect of this wonderful WW plan. I tackled the four pillars of WW which are, healthier eating, activity, mindset, and sleep, and one at a time I embraced everything I was being taught. With the amazing help of WW coaches, and fellow members, and all the extensive advice available I started to feel so much better.
I was able to start exercising more, and I can now sustain 30 minutes jogging, walk on average between 12 - 15 thousand steps daily, hula-hooping, exercise bike. The list is endless, and my stamina is now boundless. I now enjoy challenging myself, and I have utilised the 5-minute coaching on the ww app, as well as the fitness sections, and they are amazing. All this combined with the information on healthier eating, mindfulness and activity now means I’m also having a much-improved sleep pattern, and this goes to prove that this concept does work, and from my experience is LIFE CHANGING!
I no longer take ANY medication, I'm no longer at risk of diabetes and I am at goal, a healthy weight which I have been maintaining for a couple of months. My weight has dropped from 14st 13lb to 9st 11lbs. By blood sugar level has dropped from a very high 48 to 42. My clothes size has dropped from a size 20 to a size 10….half the size I used to wear! I now eat healthier filling foods, including lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, and I love cooking my food from scratch. I get lots of recipe ideas from the app, so never stuck for new ideas.
What I've learnt courtesy of WW have enabled me to now have a joy and quality of life I haven't had for forty years. And I'm so grateful. This has truly been life changing for me.
My mantra is: - Believe in yourself, aim high, don't tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon!
I intend to live each day to the full and I'm so grateful to have been given this opportunity. Thank you to the NHS and WW, as I would never have achieved this without your help and intervention.
LIFE IS GOOD.