Healthy Lifestyles and me

For the last few months I’ve realised just how unfit I feel when I go up the stairs at home.  I wouldn’t really class myself as fit, but I certainly wouldn’t have classed myself as unfit, however I’m beginning to realise that is exactly what I am becoming. We lost our young dog to a sudden illness a year ago and with that loss came a sudden stop to the daily hour long brisk walks for me.  Those walks just wouldn’t feel the same without Bob so that hour soon became filled with other, mostly sedentary tasks.

Since becoming Wellbeing Officer for Madeley Town Council back in January I have been looking at ways to improve the wellbeing of residents locally.  Setting up a new monthly drop-in session with the Healthy Lifestyles team is just one of many drop-in services we want to bring to Madeley Community Library.

As part of those sessions and to let local people understand what signing up to Healthy Lifestyles is all about I decided to enrol myself and document my journey to a fitter self for you. So, during that first drop-in session, I sat down with Steph from the Healthy Lifestyles Team and signed up for my first session.

In lots of cases GPs may refer you to Healthy Lifestyles, but you can self-refer as well which is the path I have followed.  The process is the same, my sign-up process was done in person but you may speak to an advisor over the phone and not meet in person until your sign-up is complete.

You might have reservations about speaking to someone, but Steph is great, she really put me at ease and made me feel comfortable from the moment I sat down.  There’s no judgement, no preaching, just positive encouragement, so I have no doubt the other Advisors are the same.

After taking initial details, Steph measured and weighed me, though this is voluntary, it’s useful information for the Advisors to have but there’s no pressure.  There was pressure of the blood kind though when Steph took my blood pressure.  They won’t do this in all circumstances depending on medications, but I was happy to find out how I was doing, thankfully I’m currently fine in that department.

We then went on to talk about food, my current eating habits and my understanding of food labelling, before moving on to my activity levels, which as I mentioned above is where I’ve been struggling the last year.  I’ve been thinking about joining my local gym for a while and with Steph’s encouragement I’m aiming to sign-up in the next week and have an induction.  I’ve previously been one to shy away from the induction where I could, my mindset was firmly stuck on the treadmill and I would rarely deviate.  However, Steph did point out that once women reach a certain age, an element of weight training will help maintain muscle tone, so this time I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and having the induction.

I’m also going to start wearing my fit bit again to start keeping track of my steps and get me thinking about moving more during the day.

Finally, Steph gave me a food diary to complete ahead of our next meeting.  I’m sure seeing everything I’ve eaten and drank over the course of a week will be eye-opening, but stop me kidding myself that everything I eat and drink could be classed as healthy!

These actions signalled the end of our first meeting.  I’ll meet with Steph again at the end of April at the next drop-in session in Madeley Community Library.

Sessions are usually held over a 12-week period, but my extended period of time will allow me to write up about my experience of the service and how I’m implementing and managing changes.

Of course, my Healthy Lifestyles journey is mine and mine alone, I want to feel fitter and have my own goals to reach, but your journey could be very different, it could be to lose weight, drink less, eat better, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, or reduce you risk of developing type two diabetes.  Perhaps you want to speak to someone about how to stop smoking or making changes as a family.

Whatever your health goals, the free service offered by the Healthy Lifestyles team is there to help you reach them with support. 

The next drop-in session at Madeley Community Library will be from 9.30am to 12noon on Wednesday 26th April or to find out more beforehand check out Introduction – Healthy Lifestyles Service – Telford & Wrekin Council

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