Helen's story

“A year ago, I couldn’t shower without getting out of breath, now I can squat for England!”

April Client of the Month Helen

Worried she wouldn’t be physically fit enough to look after her first grandchild, Helen joined Livewell in April 2023, which kickstarted her 12-month weight loss journey.

By the end Helen lost two stone (10% of her body weight) and still has a couple of stone to shed to reach her target weight.  The 57-year-old from Alvaston is feeling fitter and healthier than ever thanks to the support she received from her advisor, Yasmin (who nominated her) and the Livewell team.  More importantly to Helen, she can get up and down from the floor whilst playing with her 8-month-old grandson, something she didn’t think would be possible.

Helen explains why the positive encouragement from Livewell and fellow clients has helped turn her health around and manage her menopause symptoms.

My light bulb moment

“At the end of 2022 I was diagnosed with fatty liver disease and hypertension. The doctor suggested that losing weight and being more active could help.

I tried to do it alone but struggled with the physical and psychological effects of the menopause which contributed to my weight gain, made me feel anxious, withdrawn, and suffer with panic attacks.

Around the same time my son gave us the delightful news that they were expecting our first grandchild.  I instantly thought, I’m not being fat nana on the sofa unable to play or run around the garden.

Finally admitting I needed help; I booked in with the practice nurse who was so understanding and referred me to Livewell in March.  That was the point everything changed for the better.

Getting started

I couldn’t believe my luck when the customer team called to offer me a cancellation on the new starter group in Sinfin the next day which involved attending for six weeks of education and exercise.  It meant I didn’t have the time to let doubts build up.

The first session was daunting but being amongst people there for the same reasons made it easier.  By the end we were chatting away and whilst that first exercise class was hard, we were all buzzing and full of hope for what the year would bring.

Making changes

Most of us know what a healthy diet looks like but the in-depth education on portion sizes, calorie control, well-balanced meals and importance of hydration helped me reassess my eating habits and make changes.  We now eat minimal amounts of processed food, cook from scratch, eat 5 a day, drink plenty of water and keep treats to occasions. Natural yoghurt and popcorn are my go-to snacks if cravings strike!  I use an app on my phone to keep track of calories and portions.

Completing two cycles of circuits was a massive confidence boost by end of the six-week course.  I felt ready to try Livewell’s community classes starting with Yasmin’s Move and Tone Monday session which I really enjoy.

The chance to try something new

I barely got through my first Boxwell session with Joe, but weirdly found the motivation to keep going and felt great afterwards.  My bad knees mean I can’t do high impact moves but the advisors demonstrate easier versions so everyone can take part. 

These two classes alongside the occasional weekend workout became part of my weekly routine and I feel stronger, more toned, and fitter as a result.

One of the more helpful aspects of Livewell is the chance to try different types of exercise classes and discover things I never knew I enjoyed – a boxing-based class will definitely be part of my regular routine.

My mental health is benefitting enormously.  I didn’t realise the positive impact exercise would have but I honestly feel less anxious and can’t remember the last time I had a panic attack. I also struggled with social situations before, but I feel more confident and happier interacting in groups now. 

Feeling the benefits

One year on and so much has changed.  My grandson will be crawling soon and keeping up with him is easier now I’m stronger, more flexible and carrying less weight.  I also have so much more energy and I can run up and down stairs with ease.

Having dropped one and a half dress sizes, I’m back in clothes I haven’t worn in years!

Visiting one of my favourite places, Edinburgh a year ago, I hated all the walking and cried when I tackled a hill. 12 months later, a recent visit was a completely different experience.  I enjoyed exploring the city on foot and even hiked halfway up Arthur’s Seat without getting out of breath.  For the first time in years, I wasn’t holding my husband back and it’s nice we can enjoy walking together.

Family I haven’t seen for a while say I’m positively glowing from the inside out.  My son is so proud, and my husband says he has a different wife!

The best gift to myself

Joining Livewell is the best thing I could have done for myself and I’m so grateful for the opportunity.  I really don’t know where I would be now if I hadn’t seized the chance to join when I did.”

Livewell advisor, Yasmin Marks said:

“Helen has engaged in the programme from the very beginning. She regularly attended multiple Livewell sessions each week, even though these were challenging for her at the start, she came back week after week and you can see the massive improvements, she has made to her fitness levels. It has been a pleasure to witness and help her achieve her goals. Well done Helen!”
April Client of the Month Helen with certificate