Reading a Life! program leaflet in his doctor’s surgery prompted Peter, a father of three, to complete a questionnaire that assessed his risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
“The result was that I was at high risk. That really made me think as my mother had just been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and my brother had had a heart attack before the age of 50. As for me, I had just turned 50, was overweight and, although I quit in 2005, had smoked for many years. Added to that, I was doing no exercise and had bad eating habits. My health was OK for the moment, but realising that it was at risk made me want to do something.”
Peter decided to join the Life! program. Opting for Telephone Health Coaching because of its convenience and the one-to-one relationship with a health professional, he quickly found his Coach’s input to be hugely beneficial. “My coach was excellent – she was very knowledgeable, a great motivator and expressed a lot of empathy.”
Peter acquired useful information as he progressed through the program. “Probably the most useful was simply being told what constitutes a correct portion size. Learning to read food labels so that I could understand the amounts of salt and sugar that there are in processed foods was very valuable, too. My Coach also helped me to see the patterns of my food consumption, and that certain foods were linked to certain activities, for example, having an ice cream or chips while watching TV. They’re really only habits, and they’re not good ones.”
The insights that Peter gained motivated him to make some lifestyle modifications. “I was pleasantly surprised to find how easy it was to change my habits, just by being aware of the choices I make and the consequences of those choices.
“Now I have an awareness of what I am eating. I stop and think about what I’m eating and I ask myself if I really need it or am just eating it out of habit. I’m mindful of my choices now and I make the time to prepare a healthy meal rather than rushing and grabbing something processed and unhealthy.”
The changes Peter has made as a result of participating in the Life! program have given him exactly the results he wanted: “Today my health is excellent and my fitness level has increased. All my blood test results are great and my blood pressure is perfect, too.”
Peter is unequivocal when it comes to identifying the reason for the positive turnaround in his health. “Okay, I put the effort in, but all my efforts were guided by what I learnt on the Life! program. I wish I’d known all that thirty years ago – in fact, I think the program should be taught at school level.”