Changing our lifelong habits may seem like climbing a steep mountain. But just as one doesn’t climb a mountain without preparation, making changes to your lifestyle is easily done with the right support. Our clients have overcome great challenges on their journey to reach their health goals. So, let’s take peak at their story.
The choices I make - Shirley’s Journey
“Being part of the ONE YOU Westminster service has got me on a journey where I am geared towards changing my habits. The service has made me mindful of the consequences of the choices I make. They have helped me get to grips with changing the lifestyle choices that have not been beneficial for me, paving my way to a healthier life.
I had no idea that my blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and my heart age were incredibly high, till my healthy lifestyle assessment with the advisor Brigitta. It was devastating to hear. It woke me up to the reality of how I treated my body, and if I didn’t do something now, I was headed for early death. It ignited a determination and enthusiasm to take advantage of all the help ONE YOU Westminster offered.
The service has made me realise that making healthier choices is doable and it is in my power to reverse the damages of my unhealthy life. I am empowered to make better choices for my health and my future. I feel like ONE YOU Westminster has waved a magic wand and helped me make wondrous changes. My facilitators, Laura, Vasilios, and Richard were so amazingly professional, supportive, and encouraging, that I didn’t feel uncomfortable asking questions. They imparted knowledge and provided guidance that made the journey easier for all service users.
The service has kickstarted my motivation and geared me towards understanding how I can adopt healthy behaviours. The truth of me spiraling into an early grave was frightening. This has saved my life, giving me extra years. I am more mindful of what I eat as I am aware of the consequences of my food choices. I have also learned the importance of moving any part of my body that is still functioning. It may seem trivial to others, but for my body and for the challenges I go through this is an immense step forward. I have now lost 10% of my body weight and am sustaining my new way of life.
It wasn’t just positive health results that I got from the service, but new friendships as well. The programme brings together a whole range of people, who have their own challenges and goals to reach, creating a sense of solidarity. I befriended another member of the service who had been feeling quite lonely and was looking to make a good friend. Together we would plan daily walks to get more active, giving us both a reason to get out of the house and commit to daily exercise. The added benefit was that it gave me a sense of purpose to support another member reach their goals. I didn’t feel useless, I felt like I was doing something more worthwhile again.
ONE YOU Westminster is my lifeline. They saved my life. I was living a comatose life until they woke me up to the reality of my health. I got my world back and I’m full of hope. They’ve given me my happiness back.”
Practising what we preach - Phillip’s Journey
"Following a talk with my GP, I signed up for the ONE YOU Westminster service, hoping to make the necessary healthy lifestyle changes. My advisor, Brigitta, explained to me all the different kinds of services I could take part in, and I knew immediately that if I was going to commit to making any changes I needed to choose something that was sustainable. I chose the 10-week Weight Management Course. It helped that Brigitta would continuously keep in touch throughout the journey, providing support.
I know that there are a number of avenues that contribute to a healthy lifestyle and making small changes in a number of them is equivalent to making a dramatic change in one of them. So, I started setting myself small targets that would be sustainable rather than make one large unsustainable change. One of the positive aspects of the programme is that in the very first week we discussed fad diets and why they are a cul-de-sac. Many people make a dramatic change by doing something that is utterly unsustainable. Whilst I made significant changes to my diet and lifestyle, they weren’t so drastic that I would struggle to sustain it.
The interesting part of the journey was realising that I already knew a lot of the theoretical content but putting it into practice was a different challenge. It is all about using your knowledge as a tool to help you achieve your targets. We all have this knowledge, but we fall into the danger of being unable to use the knowledge effectively to reach our destination.
Joining the ONE YOU Westminster service during the lockdown meant I was living in a little bubble, dissolving the normal framework of life, that kept me away from all the bad habits I would have usually engaged with. I got a chance to create a new routine geared towards reaching my goals. It helped a great deal that every week I had something to look forward to, helping me restructure my life to easily adopt these new behaviours.
I’ve lost a significant amount of weight, almost 15% of the weight I started with. I succeeded because the programme encouraged me to take up and sustain a lot more exercise, making healthier choices with regards to my diet, and being mindful of the portion sizes. I’ve been running every single day, and where I may not be able to continue doing that in the future, I know I will be able to maintain this behaviour at least a few times a week.
Since the 5 weeks of finishing the programme I have managed to maintain my new healthier lifestyle. If I can do this for 5 weeks since the end of the programme, I am confident I can continue this lifestyle change 5 months after the programme."
Making my health my number one priority - Helen Sarah’s Story
“I work a very stressful job, and at the start of this year, I was in burn out mode. I wasn’t sleeping and noticed I had been drinking more wine than usual. I noticed I wasn’t eating very well either. My job and lifestyle working in the city meant I regularly ate out and didn’t have time to cook. I knew the stress and the associated aftereffects, like putting on weight, was putting me in a higher risk category with my heart. I had to take back control of my life, with the hope that this would result in getting better sleep, getting fitter, and getting healthier.
The content of the ONE YOU Westminster Weight Management course is common sense, and I did know it in theory, but it was the accountability that the programme provides that helped me the most. Every week I was sending my Fitbit report to my practitioners, and I could see the changes in my physical activity. Seeing the changes motivated me to make more improvements and stay on track. I now make a more conscious effort to move more during the day. I feel the conscious need to move more in some capacity. I’ll either go for an hour walk or take part in an at-home gym class. I also downloaded the Couch to 5K. I have always avoided running. My motto was “I was built for comfort not speed.” But the Couch to 5K programme really works. I did initially struggle with a sixty-second run, but that is a thing of the past as I can now run continuously for five minutes. It’s not easy, but it is doable.
Living alone meant that when I cooked a meal it would usually be four portions worth, which I would then eat for the next three meals. This created a monotony which made cooking at home seem boring. Being part of ONE YOU Westminster service gave me practical advice to overcome this. I now cook a meal and then freeze some portions to have later in the week. This gives me more variety and control over what I eat. I have also been more experimental with cooking now. Under usual circumstances, I would eat fish at restaurants but following lockdown that wasn’t an option anymore. I decided to challenge myself to cook a healthy seafood linguine with all “eat well” theory I learned in the ONE YOU Westminster sessions. I added more vegetables to my dish, making it super healthy, super colourful, and super tasty.
Taking part in the ONE YOU Westminster service was easy during the lockdown, as the circumstances created new slate for me to adopt healthier routines. I am usually time poor due to my busy work life, so the lockdown gave me more time to cook and exercise. Being part of the service also brought a routine to my lifestyle which was important during these different times. Having regularly scheduled meetings to attend, where you met other people going through lockdown in a similar boat to you created a much-needed support system.
My health is now my number one priority, so I am going to stick to the changes I have made. I don’t want to be older in life and unable to enjoy it. My advice to people is to start eating well today, move more today. Don’t wait for till tomorrow. Get started."