When I first started my journey I did it all alone. I didn’t tell anyone I was trying to lose weight in case I failed (again), I didn’t go to a group and I didn’t even blog. It was great for a while, I lost around 4 stone and eventually people started to notice the difference. Then I hit a plateau, which was when I joined Slimming World. I lost another 2 stone there and then hit another plateau and gave up. Since then, my weight has gradually piled back on, which left me almost 2 stone heavier than when I started, feeling depressed and ashamed.
Not that this was for lack of trying. I’ve been to three other groups (two Slimming World, one Weight Watchers) and while some weeks I saw great results, others left me despondent. There is nothing wrong with the plans themselves, but with me. For whatever reason, I was unable to keep my motivation going for more than a couple of weeks. And, because I am a naturally shy person, I would rarely speak up in the groups; this meant that my specific problems with motivation were never addressed. After a lot of thought, I decided to ask for help from medical professionals.
Way back in November I started to research what was on offer in my area. My local NHS offers a huge range of options for overweight and obese people to lose weight, but the one that really stood out to me was the Specialist Weight Management programme. So I made an appointment and went along to see my local nurse, who ran through some other options with me. Unfortunately when I told her I’d already picked the SWM programme, she had never heard of it, which seems like a bit of an issue. However she filled it in on the “other” section of the form and sent in the application. After a couple of false starts (appointments which turned out to just be further referrals) I finally joined the programme last week. Yes, that was a 5 month waiting list to get in, but apparently it might be scrapped after this intake due to lack of funding, so I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have made it, it’s a chance a lot of people may not get.
The way the programme works is this. It is initially a 12 week course (13 appointments) with weekly appointments. My boss is incredibly supportive of me in this and is happy for me to work from home to cover what I miss on these afternoons, for which I am really grateful. Each week I will be weighed and have up to 2 appointments with a choice of 3 areas – a dietitian, a fitness expert and a psychologist. Monthly (I think) I will go on the special fancy scales (this is the technical term) which measures my fat mass, skeletal muscle mass in various parts of my body, water retention etc and will have my waist measurement taken. Whilst I do have a target weight loss for these 12 weeks, the aim is to ensure that I lose weight in a healthy way and lose fat mass rather than muscle mass.
I can also be referred to other services in the area including a 12 week gym programme (definitely), cookery classes, walking groups and many many other things. After the 12 weeks are up, if I have lost a minimum 5% of my starting weight, I can continue the programme. At this point the appointments become monthly and will continue for another 21 months, making it 2 years in total. This is a huge commitment for me, but it is too good an opportunity to miss. Tomorrow is my second appointment, and I will discover how my first week has impacted me. The help I will be getting along the way is truly invaluable, and I’m kind of proud of myself for taking that step.