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Abida, Loughborough

When 59-year-old Abida first came across the weight management service, she was having physiotherapy to help ease the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis in her joints. In order to avoid having to increase Abida’s medication, her GP recommended that she lose weight and signposted her to the service.

“At the beginning of the scheme, I didn’t think I would lose weight as I had never lost any before – and, in fact, I had been gaining weight steadily over the last few years due to work stress, my health conditions and emotional overeating.”

Abida was paired with her nutritionist adviser, Hannah, for a 12-week series of telephone information and support sessions. The COVID-19 lockdown came into effect during this period, which brought with it an unexpected advantage where Abida’s weight loss was concerned:

“When the lockdown took place, I was really worried that it would be more difficult to lose weight. However, the opposite happened! The situation, along with Hannah’s weekly supportive and positive phone calls, really made the difference – they allowed me to focus on embedding the changes required.

“We also spoke about factors such as mental health and the influence of childhood habits on diet and lifestyle, and I found Hannah really understanding and informative about these things.”

As the programme progressed, Abida found that she was benefitting from its pace as well as its content:

“The weight management scheme, with its resources, clear weekly targets and step-by-step changes, allowed for a gradual shift in my mindset. With Hannah’s help and support, I managed to make some lifestyle changes in my eating patterns and behaviour.

“Weekly phone calls over three months worked for me because it wasn’t overwhelming – it felt like a good length of time.

“I also really liked the fact that the goals were focused on altering my habits and outlook rather than calorie counting, which didn’t come in right at the beginning.”

Since her physiotherapy team showed her how to approach exercise without risking pain or injury, Abida has been determined to combine her new approach to eating with increased activity:

“I am going to continue, as my goal is to lose at least 10% of my body weight and possibly more. With the changes in my food habits, calorie counting and more exercise, I hope to see bigger and better changes to my health and medication.”

Having lost over 7kg over the course of the programme and weighing 79.3kg by week 12, Abida is confident that she is on the path to further weight loss and a healthier lifestyle overall:

“I cannot believe I have lost just over 8% of my body weight through the programme! The gentle and steady support of my adviser through our weekly conversations meant that I achieved gradual, sustainable weight loss. I am eating healthier than I ever have and have never felt so well.”

When asked whether she would recommend the weight management service, Abida’s reasoning was logical:

“Yes! The service has given me all the basics for continuing on my own. I know it’s going to work because it worked this way throughout the programme.”

Abida added:

“As someone who is isolated during the lockdown, Hannah’s calls meant a lot in mental health and human terms. I am going to miss them as the lockdown continues for me until the end of June, as I am classed as vulnerable.”

Finally, what advice would Abida give to someone hoping to lose weight?

“There are three things: first, you have to give it time and try and adhere to it week by week. Take it slow and steady. The second thing is that, if you don’t manage to achieve something one day, just start again the next day. And thirdly, be kind to yourself and take a long-term and realistic view of reaching your goal.”

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