“For me, enrolling on the Life! program was the start of a great journey of health improvement.”
The stress of being the director of a global company, especially when the GFC hit, took a serious toll on Robert’s health. “By the time I retired at the age of 49, I was suffering from angina, gastric reflux, high blood pressure, microvascular cardiac disease, headaches, irregular sleep patterns and cardiac arrhythmia.”
Upon retiring, Robert dedicated himself to caring for his mother. When she passed away in 2012, he decided to focus on his own health. It wasn’t before time.
“My doctor mentioned that I was at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and I thought ‘Well, if I get that, I’ll have the full set of ailments that nobody wants’.
“At my heaviest I’d weighed 86kg and had a waistline of 115cm. Before starting the Life! program I managed to lose 5kg on my own, but that was through unskilled guess-work and I was stuck at that weight. What I wanted was focus and knowledge, and the Life! program gave me both.
“My pre-existing health conditions meant that I didn’t have the option of getting healthier through increased exercise. Everything had to be done through adjusting my diet, and Life! was great for that. Learning how to read food labels was particularly helpful. Before, I didn’t know the thresholds for when something becomes too much. Now I do. The Life! program has given me a lot of knowledge that I can apply.”
Robert’s response to the nutrition information he gleaned from his Life! program facilitator showed the level of his commitment. “I brought the wheelie bin indoors and filled it with everything I had that was unhealthy. In went all the rice, the sugar, the white bread and the high-fat products. I threw all of that out and replaced it with the good stuff, the fresh veg and fruit.”
As well as determination, Robert brought a strategic approach to the process of getting healthier. “Psychologically you’re on a journey and you have to prepare yourself for times when your motivation drops. Both my Life! coach and the other members of my group were very supportive in that respect, but you also have to support yourself. So I concentrated on looking after myself on a daily basis – if you do that, the future looks after itself. It’s about conditioning over a period of time, forming new habits and discarding old ones.
“The data proves that Life! worked for me. After four weeks on the program, my weight had gone down to 77.1kg and my waistline was 103cm. Life! was good for me, and continues to be – now I weigh 69.5kg and my waistline is 87cm. The only downside is that I’ve had to throw out all my old trousers and get new ones.
“These days I’m sleeping better and really enjoying my food. I haven’t felt this good in 30 years!”