HowardHoward, a 65-year-old retired town planner and landscape architect, had always been health conscious; however, a chronic fatigue diagnosis more than a decade ago forced him to take his health very seriously.

Chronic fatigue took up ten years of Howard’s life and unsurprisingly, proved to be an extremely difficult emotional and physical journey. The hardest part was letting go of his profession – something he loved, but simply could not do anymore.

Thankfully, he started to pull out of the disease several years ago. To keep up his physical strength, Howard started attending strength training classes. At the sessions, a woman in the group recommended the Life! course and said: “You should do this, I really enjoyed it”. Howard phoned to organise but unfortunately, while waiting to commence the group course, he experienced another devastating health blow.

“In December 2013 I had a heart attack. I wasn’t anticipating it as I’d been good with my diet and always tried to exercise more than average. Whilst walking at Sandy Beach I was breathless. I had pain and tension and it got more intense. That’s when I dialled 000.”

After he had recovered from this, he was finally able to join the Life! group course and was impressed.

“I enjoyed the group course and found it practical and useful. Full credit to Trent [facilitator] – his presentations were excellent and the course is well thought through.”

For Howard, the information on portion sizes and the supermarket tour proved very useful. “Portion size was a big one, as was reading labels to understand what you are really buying. Learning how to look at products and compare them to others… it really fine-tuned my knowledge.”

“Since I began the program, I have made some good lifestyle changes – particularly my eating habits. It’s made me more aware of incorporating more variety into my diet and to have more protein. I ‘ve also made my portion sizes smaller.”

“My goal was to try and lose some weight, which I managed to do, and also to improve my strength again. My health has definitely improved.”

Today Howard is feeling healthier, allowing him to fully enjoy a range of hobbies including music, yoga, gardening, meditation, reading and photography.

“I would highly recommend the Life! program – I only wish it was broader and more people could access it. It should be in schools too!”