In September 2011 I didn’t walk into my job interview at Gateway, I hobbled, years of being overweight had caused early onset osteoarthritis in my left ankle and every step was agony.
In contrast, on the 28th July 2012 I jogged across the finish line of the Gateway 5km Fun Run and still had enough pep to jog back to the staging post and get my things. So how did I achieve this?
After my interview, Justine and the others at Gateway must’ve seen something in me that would be useful, because after rejection upon rejection I very nearly passed out with elation when I got the job. Now I come to work every day and help people to access weight management programmes, providing them with support along the way.
From giving me the job in the first place, to ensuring I had the right equipment to cope with my workload despite my visual impairment, the company has ensured I’m happy and comfortable. But beyond that I have been surrounded by an atmosphere that encourages seeking help to improve quality of life, and so to aid in my own weight loss and health goals I sought assistance from the Health Trainer Service.
Being assigned to Richard, a singularly enthusiastic soul, we came up with a plan and goals for me to reach. He helped me get into the groove of regular exercise, moderate eating and mindfulness of things like fast food and alcohol. He gave me encouragement, not just in an official capacity but as a colleague. And so when he proposed a fun run I decided to take the plunge.
And that brings us to today, where I’m over a stone lighter, able to walk and run without pain, and still improving every day. I can categorically state that without Gateway – without Lighten Up and the Health Trainers – I’d be a less healthy, less happy and less capable person than I am today.