"Great support from Derbyshire Live Life Better"

About: Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust / Live Life Better Derbyshire

(as the patient),

I started the Derbyshire, Live Life Better programme in January 2016 and have found the service very helpful and rewarding. The staff are very professional, efficient and continually offer advice and support. Caroline (Psychologist) Joy, (Weight Management Adviser) and Mary (Dietician) have all listened and taken on board my medical issues and by working together we have formulated my weight loss plan – which I am proud to say is working

I always believed that I ate a healthy diet and lived a fairly healthy lifestyle, I swim twice a week, but weight kept creeping on and I blamed my health issues and my lack of mobility for getting bigger. I also started having panic attacks about my weight, the fear of having to have an extension seatbelt on a plane, I felt that people stared at my size and I was conscious of others watching what I ate or drank when I was out with family and friends. I also covered my large frame with baggy clothes, and hate clothes shopping. In the Autumn 2015, I made a positive decision to get my health back on track, I had enough of being fat and went to ask for help from my GP, who referred me to this service, which I can honestly say has been very beneficial.

After a couple of consultations with Caroline my psychologist I finally got to grips with my food issues. I didn’t believe I had any, but by talking to Caroline about the different things that have happened over my life, subconsciously I was avoiding certain foods and refusing to eat them. Caroline helped by putting my food fears into perspective and to move forward with a healthy lifestyle. The key message being no food is a sin, you choose what you want to eat but bear in mind its calories in = calories out. The more you eat the more exercise you need to do to burn off the consumption of calories! This made sense, rather than concentrating on fad diets, or watching sugar and salt content, count your calories every day - these were broken down into 300 calories for breakfast, 300 calories for lunch, and 600 calories for evening meal, I am not one for snacking and hardly touch sweet things such as biscuits, chocolate and cake, my treat is a glass of wine a couple of times a week, and by sticking to this formula I could enjoy my glass of wine and still lose weight.

One of my health issues was PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and Mary the dietician advised on foods to eat and avoid with this condition. It was decided that I cut out refined carbs - white bread, pasta, rice, white potatoes, and look at alternatives such as sweet potatoes, seeded bread or sandwich thins, and basmati rice. Also, to look at and control my portion size. I was given information on a low GI diet, and I started to experiment with food by substituting potatoes with stuffed peppers or stuffed mushrooms (stuffing them with finely chopped veg and seasoned), I replaced white rice with basmati - but just a tablespoon serving at meal times not half a bowl or plate, and I reduced my portion sizes too. I cook everything from fresh and experiment with recipes to make healthy tasty meals.

Initially, I was given the target to lose 5% of my weight within the first 12 weeks and can proudly say I achieved this. I have now been set new targets to continue with the Derbyshire Live Life Better Programme.

I have also been on a two week all inclusive holiday and the weight management team set me a target to “remain” at my weight, not to worry about losing whilst on holiday but to be careful not to undo all my good work so far and put the weigh tback on. Again, I wasn’t told on what I could or could not eat or drink, but knowing I was being weighed when I got back ensured I was careful on what I ate. I chose protein dishes with salads and vegetables. I also started adding soda water to my wine to make a spritzer – which has now become my drink of choice and reduces the calorie intake!

I managed to lose half a pound whilst being away and this has given me a confidence boost that I can do this, I can lose the weight and manage my diet.

I am now 6 months into the programme and the weight is slowly coming off. I can honestly say I don’t feel like I am on a diet or dieting. This is a lifestyle change, and it works. I made positive changes to the types of food I eat and can see and feel the benefits of losing weight. Through the help and support of Caroline, Joy and Mary I have been educated and guided into making healthy choices on what I chose to eat and drink at home but also when going out with family and friends. I still count my daily calories to keep me on track and make a note of what I have had to eat and drink. Keeping a food diary has helped me to focus on the calorie content of food and drink. My diet is varied, it’s not all about just eating salads or veg, it’s about getting the right balance. I chose lean proteins with fresh salads and veg, but I still enjoy a curry or chilli made with fresh ingredients. By not depriving myself of any type of food has made this life style change possible as I don’t feel like I’m missing out, I just control what and how much I eat. Feeling clothes getting bigger and buying a dress size smaller is an inspiration to keep me motivated on my weight loss journey. Weight loss targets are still being set and with the ongoing support I know I will achieve my goal. Thanks to the service and to Caroline, Joy and Mary for your ongoing support.

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Response from Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Mojo11

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience of working with the Live Life Better Derbyshire specialist weight management team. It is good to hear that you felt the direction and control over your weight loss plan was yours and that the team provided you with the information and support you needed.

We aim to support our clients to feel that they are 'in the driving seat' of their weight loss programme and can then work with different members of our team to get the right type and pace of change as they work towards their weight loss goals.

I am so pleased that you worked hard, got what you needed and have achieved such great results in terms of your weight loss and also your confidence in maintaining this into the future.

I shall make sure to pass on your thanks.

With our very best wishes

Caroline Savidge Clinical Psychologist