NHS service empowers more people to lose weight
A surge in weight-loss success stories at one of our services is helping tip the scales towards a healthier Tameside.
Be Well Tameside is challenging local people to change their lifestyle by supporting them to embrace healthy living.
To mark this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week theme of body image, we're celebrating the success of two local residents, Denise Crompton and David McInnes, who are reaping the physical and mental health benefits of shedding the pounds and improving their health.
Shortly after retiring at the end of 2017, Denise, 62, from Dukinfield felt that she “had put a load of weight on.” Ready for a new challenge, she booked an appointment with Margaret Fitzgerald, a health and wellbeing advisor for Be Well Tameside.
Denise said: “When I came to see Margaret for the first time, I was feeling really low, and I was ready for a change.”
“Margaret helped me make some small changes to my routine and I felt my confidence come rushing back. The support came at the right time in my life.”
With the help of smaller portions, checking labels and regular walks with her lovely Irish setter, Sasha, a motivated Denise lost just under two stone over nine months.
Determined to truly live her live again, Denise visited America, raised money for a local charity and took on a couple of part-time jobs.
After her holiday, Denise noticed her weight creeping back up, so she came back to see Margaret for some more support.
A worrying health scare followed in February this year, which dented Denise’s confidence further. Fortunately, it turned out to be a false alarm, and a relieved Denise felt a renewed determination to get back on track with her weight loss journey.
“When I put weight on, I didn’t have my sparkle and my motivation just went,” said Denise.
“Speaking to Margaret was a big boost when I felt so low, and she really encouraged me to get back walking the dog and enjoying life again.
“When I’m in control of my weight, I’m in control of my life. I feel more confident in how I look, but I feel more positive about everything in life, so losing weight has done loads more than change how I feel about my body.”
“I’d say to anyone who is thinking about losing weight to find your happy place. When you feel happy doing something, it’s much easier to keep it going.”
Self-confessed “big guy” David, 38, from Stalybridge, first came to Be Well Tameside as a 21-and-a-half-stone man looking for some support.
Fast forward 18 months, David has shed a whopping six stone in weight and his enthusiasm to share his story is truly inspirational.
“Asking for help was the hardest part of the weight-loss,” said David.
“Once I got past that, I never looked back and I just fully committed myself.”
After working nights for a long period, David was often eating at strange times and struggling to find time for an exercise routine.
“I was eating things that I thought were healthy, but Margaret helped me understand more about different foods and how I can balance my diet.” added David.
He is now an avid bike rider and is always looking for new ways to build exercise into his working life – including taking the stairs rather than the lift.
At just over 15 stone, David is getting very close to a weight he feels comfortable at, but his ambition to maintain his fitness is just as high as ever. His next goal is to get involved in a step challenge.
David added: “I’ve never considered myself as someone with mental health issues, but looking back on where I was 18 months ago, I feel more confident than before.”
“The hardest part is asking for help. If you can get over the mental barrier of admitting you need help, you can achieve so much if you commit yourself to making changes.”
Health and wellbeing advisor, Margaret, is delighted at the progress Denise and David have made. She said: “Their motivation and commitment is truly inspirational and I’m really pleased to be sharing their success as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.
“For many people, taking steps towards a healthier way of life can also have a positive effect on their mental wellbeing too.
“The key to weight loss is to start with really small steps. It’s about making those small lifestyle changes that can have big benefits to your health and wellbeing.
“People don’t need to do it alone – my team and I are here to help every step of the way towards a healthier, happier life.”
The Be Well Tameside team also provides help and support around stopping smoking, getting a good night’s sleep and more, through regular one to one appointments and healthy living workshops. You can find out more at www.penninecare.nhs.uk/bewelltameside, by following the team on Facebook or Twitter @BeWellTameside or phoning 0161 716 2000.