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John Crawford on Middle Age Spread, Health Trainers in South Birmingham and his diabetes

30th May 2012

John admits he had a problem with middle aged spread – what you could call his “Guiness gut.”

He was putting on weight around his middle and was worried that his type 2 diabetes would get worse. John didn’t fancy injecting himself everyday. He put his weight gain down to “basic laziness” comfort eating in the cold weather and the fact he liked a Guiness.  He knew he had to do something about it.

We set him a target for his weight lose and he started coming to us every month for encouragement, in 6 months he went from 14 stone 2 pounds to just under 13!

Last week I asked him what had made a difference – you can hear why he thought he was successful  in the video clip above but essentially he said “it was enjoyable to come and speak to someone who would give you some encouragement.”

He took up walking twice a day and altered his diet to cut out bread (bar the odd slice) and cut back on the Guiness too. When cooking everything is grilled instead of fried and if he drives to the shops he parks a little bit further away so he can walk in –  John said he “educated his mind and taste buds” to change his habits.

As a Health Trainer working in Birmingham I have helped a lot of people like John and my top tips for combating middle aged spread are;

  • Regular exercise but doing something you enjoy rather than something you think is good for you
  • Reduce calories, people take on way more calories than they need to in a day, reduce these and remember there are claories in alcohol too.

Last week John completed 5k in aid of Cure Leukemia – he admits he walked instead of run and that he couldn’t have done it twice –  but we are very proud of him.

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  1. Harvey Powell

    I think John’s story should be an encouragement to other people struggling with the middle age spread problem. If John was able to make the decision to quit the bad habits that were causing him to gain excess weight, then anyone out there facing the same problem can do the same. It’s only a matter of deciding.

  2. Eleanor McGee

    Oh Harvey, if only behaviour chagne were that simple!!! On another point, while the Health Trainer is right to say that those wishing to lose weight need to cut calorie intake, it is best to do so in the context of a balanced diet (the Eatwell Plate is a good visual guide). This usually means cutting down on fatty and sugary food, not starchy carbohydrates such as bread. There may be particular reasons why reducing bread intake was important for John, and I would like to be confident that Health Trainers do not promote this as a general weight management tip.

  3. Sean

    I was John’s actual Health Trainer, and am happy to reasure you Eleanor that we always follow NHS guidlines, as well as promote the Eatwell Plate which is something I personally belive is simple to understand and a great visual aid.
    It was John who came to the conclusion that he was eating too much bread, along with other food in his day-to-day diet, and he decided to reduce some of these areas.
    Behaviour change can be simple as long as you’re willing to stick to your goals, and think of weight loss and life style change in months rather than weeks.
    Making small achievable changes over a long period of time, was the key to John losing weight and to leading a fitter and healthier lifestyle. Added to that John chose a very simple exercise plan of going for walks, which is free, requires no specialist equipment, and can be done at anytime.