“Participating in the Life! program has enabled me to bring about some significant lifestyle change. It really isn’t difficult and I’d recommend it to anybody.”

KarenDespite having already lost some weight before embarking on the Life! program, Karen realised that it was time for some concerted action. “I had high blood pressure and had been told I was pre-diabetic. Plus, quite a few people in my family had had heart disease.”

Yet, despite her awareness of the necessity of doing something, Karen wasn’t keen when her doctor recommended the Life! program to her. “‘Oh no,’ I said, ‘not another weight-loss program’. But the doctor was insistent that it was far from that, so I gave it a go – and I’m very glad I did.”

Karen found that taking the group option was beneficial. “I think being part of a group ultimately means that you get more out of the program. It isn’t always easy, sharing things with strangers, especially in the beginning, but it gets much easier in time and the group provides real support.”

She also found that the Life! program’s emphasis on raising participants’ awareness of healthy options was one that suited her. “I’ve been a weight-loss counsellor myself and I had a long history as a calorie-counter, but that hadn’t been working for me. The problem with counting calories is that it’s easy to reach your daily allowance without having eaten nutritiously. On the Life! program we took a different approach, which was to focus simply on eating healthily.

“I found that learning how to read food labels was amazingly helpful. I now know exactly what I’m buying – food labelling can be a tricky business, and it isn’t easy to make good choices if you don’t know what to watch out for. Going on the Life! program taught me all about that, and I think that that, plus adding more fibre to my diet, was crucial. My success was nothing to do with counting calories and going without – it was everything to do with applying what I learnt and making small changes.”

Karen has put what she learnt on the Life! program to impressively positive effect. “So far I’ve lost 27kg, and my blood pressure has returned to normal. I’ve also been told that I’m no longer pre-diabetic.

“I love leading a more active life. I set up a walking group and I’ve just started a social group with an emphasis on walking. Going on the Life! program set me off in a very positive direction and I would encourage anyone to do it.”