“The Life! program makes you stop and consider how you’ve been living and how that’s damaging you. And then it gives you simple and effective ways of undoing the damage. It’s a wonderful thing.”

DonnaWhen Donna found out about the Life! program, she seized the opportunity to get involved. “I needed to do something. I had become extremely overweight through falling into the trap that a lot of people do: we eat all the wrong things and don’t get enough exercise, and because we’re all so busy we don’t pause to consider what we’re doing to ourselves. So I was very unfit. And then I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis, which meant that I was compromised when it came to doing exercise. When I got that diagnosis, I went into a bit of an emotional dive.”

Donna enjoyed the Life! program group sessions. “They were relaxed, open and informative. There was a feeling of camaraderie in the group and we shared our knowledge and experiences. People were encouraged to ask questions, which generated information that I found really helpful.”

In fact, the aspect of the Life! program that Donna found most beneficial was the wealth of useful information on offer. “When I first started, I panicked because I was forced to confront how unhealthy I’d become, but the great thing was that we were given heaps of information about how we could put that right. When they told us about reading food labels, I became fanatical about it. It’s the same with portion control, which I now apply zealously. As a result of what I learnt on the Life! program, my meals are far more balanced, and I find them much more satisfying.”

Donna has combined changing her diet with increasing her exercise. “When I found out I had osteoarthritis, I focused on what I couldn’t do, but now I’m moving in a positive direction I focus on what I can do. So, ok, I can’t run, but I can do treadmill and bike, and I’ve gone back to swimming, which I hadn’t done for some time. Exercise really invigorates me.”

The changes she’s made as a result of joining the Life! program have worked for Donna. “I’ve lost almost twice the amount of weight that I set out to, and I found that once the weight started to drop off, that motivated me more. That’s how I know that the changes I’ve made will be permanent: the healthier I get, the more I want to stay that way.

“I feel brilliant now!”