Debbie F worked for many years in the diplomatic service in a wide range of countries. She had a back problem which flared up from time to time but she had got used to dealing with it herself. Due to the social nature of her job her weight increased over the years but she felt that it was under control.
In 2017 she retired and returned to the UK. This was a difficult time as she readjusted to life back in the UK. At the same time her back pain became increasingly painful until one morning she was unable to move without excruciating pain. She was told that she had degenerative arthritis and bulging discs in her back. She saw a physiotherapist, carried out the recommended exercises at home and the pain eased a little but she knew that her back was still far from right. She was scared that she would always be in a lot of pain.
“In July I received an invitation to a Living Well with Less Pain event. To be honest I wasn’t sure whether to go – would I gain anything from a half-day event? What would happen? Anyway I booked and went, not knowing what to expect. I was blown away by the breadth of information. It was well-organised with the focus on the two different groups of patients. As a presenter myself I was really impressed.” During the coffee break Debbie had her BMI measured by the One You, East Sussex team and to her horror found that she was on the top of the overweight range – she had no idea how near being considered obese she was. She signed up for One You, East Sussex on the spot.
“They were brilliant,” she said. “I thought they would be like all the other weight management organisations but it was nothing like. There was individual health coaching and all sorts of people in the group sessions. It was completely non-judgemental. The group sessions were not so much about going on a diet but about sensible eating and what that means for each individual. Every week there was a different topic and a little exercise – again people were helped individually.
“It’s completely changed what and how I eat because it was such a common sense approach. I felt that I had been given this free opportunity and couldn’t let anyone down. I aimed to get back down to the low point of overweight but in fact have taken off 15 kilos so I’m now at my normal weight and I’ve kept it off for eight months.
My back is so much better. I go to Pilates for general core stability, I carry out the exercises the physio gave me and I’m off all the pain-killers. Actually I’m pain free now. I am so pleased that I went to Living Well with Less Pain.
“Losing weight has made all the difference and with what I’ve learned I can still have chocolates and wine!”