Kelechi's story

Client Kelechi and Gemma

Kelechi Chioba hasn’t let her disability stop her from leading a healthier life.

Losing weight is challenging for anybody but for 43-year-old Kelechi from Alvaston, it comes with more obstacles than usual which is why advisor, Gemma nominated her.

Thanks to her own determination and support from Livewell and her Health and Wellbeing Coach, Kelechi has lost 15% of her body weight and reduced her obese BMI to a healthy 23.

Despite being paralyzed from the waist down and living with depression, anxiety and bipolar Kelechi has discovered exercise she enjoys in her chair and a healthier way to eat.

Kelechi’s journey started when she was told she was at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, this coupled with high blood pressure and breathing difficulties, led to her receiving support from Lister House Surgery’s Health and Wellbeing Coaches, Dawn and Danny.  Their role is to help patients to manage long term conditions in a holistic way, engaging different lifestyle changes that could improve and empower people to take control of their condition(s) and their overall health and wellbeing.

Danny referred Kelechi to Livewell’s weight management programme nearly a year ago and in that time, she has grasped the advice, encouragement and opportunities offered to her with open arms, as she explains:

“I was desperate to lose weight but didn’t know how.  I ate a lot of junk food and drank alcohol to combat my depression.  I was a typical comfort eater and heavier than I should be, which was making my existing conditions more difficult to manage and putting me at high risk of other health problems.

Getting guidance and encouragement from Danny and then Gemma has made the transition much easier.  It’s amazing what the right support can do for your motivation.  Once my mind was focused, I embraced all the sessions Livewell offered, sometimes catching two buses just so I could get to them.

Gemma suggested I keep a food diary to keep track of what I ate, when I ate and how I felt at the time.  This alongside the healthy eating workshops helped me understand my relationship with food, pay more attention to how I eat and make better choices.  When I’m feeling depressed, I no longer reach for biscuits or cake, partly because I don’t keep them in the house but also because my fridge is full of colourful fruits and vegetables to snack on.

Understanding food labels has also helped me to choose between different supermarket foods, opting for ones lower in saturated fat, salt and sugar.

Gemma introduced me to the gym, creating an effective workout using the hand bike, boxing exercises and upper body weight machines.  The staff at Derby Arena and Springwood Leisure Centre make it feel comfortable and welcoming and it’s reassuring to see people of all shapes, sizes and abilities there.  

Andy’s low impact class at Springwood is one of my favourites.  It’s nice to see other clients and have a laugh together.  When I’m struggling to get out, I tune into one of Livewell’s seated YouTube workouts using water bottles instead of weights.

The changes I’ve made in this last 10 months have had a positive impact on me mentally and physically.  The practice nurse couldn’t believe the difference in my blood pressure last month.  It had reduced so much that she thought the reading must be a mistake!  My blood sugar level is now normal, lowering my diabetes risk and my breathing problem has eased.  The improvement to my health is remarkable and I’m living a life now that I didn’t dream I could.”

Livewell advisor, Gemma Brooks added:

“It’s been a pleasure to work with Kelechi – she is an inspiration, demonstrating how people of all abilities can make lasting lifestyle changes and witness significant benefits to their health as a result.  Kelechi’s progress is also a fantastic example of a multi team approach between Primary Care’s Health and Wellbeing Coaching and lifestyle services like Livewell.”