Tag: weight

Gaining weight to be body confident

vegetablesWe often talk about weight loss, but what about those who are underweight?

Our Health Trainers occasionally have clients who want to gain weight. Often, these clients have active lifestyles and their diet doesn’t reflect the amount of exercise they’re doing. As with any weight issue, it’s about balancing the number of calories going in with the number of calories you’re burning off.

Health Trainer Susan says: “One of my clients walks everywhere – often three or four miles a day – but he wasn’t eating regularly, so his weight remained very low. People often don’t make the time to eat – so they’re exercising, but they’re not giving themselves enough fuel.”

So how do the Health Trainers advise clients who want to gain weight?

The advice Health Trainers give to those who want to gain weight is actually very similar to the advice for those who want to lose weight: balance your exercise with a healthy eating routine. For most, this will mean getting into new habits; for example eating a regular three meals a day.

Health Trainer Keiran said, “the idea is to increase weight in a healthy way. It depends on the individual – and we work with people to make sure that whatever we plan is right for them – but generally this means finding creative ways to build extra calories and protein into their diet.”

Eleanor McGee, Public Health Nutrition Lead, says, “people who have got into the habits of a poor diet need help to make and maintain changes – and Health Trainers are ideally placed to provide this help.”

As with weight loss clients, Health Trainers help weight gain clients to set short-, mid- and long-term goals which include some accountability (for example, monthly weight review checks). And, as with all their clients, they work holistically, looking at what the existing barriers might be and working with the client to make changes that will stick.

Ben’s story

Being underweight can have a negative effect on someone’s confidence and psychological wellbeing, just as being overweight can.

Wayne’s client Ben is in his early 20s and joined the service in July last year. He felt that people hadn’t really taken his weight issues seriously in the past, and described himself as depressed about his body.

In his initial statement he said:

I want some help to gain weight and also to eat healthier. Today has been brilliant for me – I have someone who is listening to me. For the month ahead goals set are three fruits each day (I have not eaten fruit for a long time). Cut out all snacks and sugar intake. Eat potatoes and vegetables 3-5 days each week. Do more exercise. Join the gym with BeActive. Swim 2-3 times a week. I look forward to my life style changes.

By October, his routines had changed completely and it’s clear the changes have had a positive effect on his mental health as well as his physical health. He said:

Over the past 12 weeks I have changed loads. I now eat three meals each day and eat fruit and vegetables. I was very underweight. My start weight was 8st 7lb and now I weigh 9st 10lb. My goal is to get to 10 stone. I also feel I have more energy and more confidence. I now work part time.

Last week, Wayne asked Ben – who’s now gained 19 pounds – to record his progress and talk about how he’s feeling now. Have a listen to what he said.

If you feel that you might need to gain weight, visit your GP first, to check you are actually underweight. If you are, they’ll look at the potential causes and advise you of the best way to tackle it. Weight loss might be caused by a medical condition that needs treatment, so you must get a professional opinion before trying to gain weight by yourself.

Having an impact every day: Lighten Up

This week we’re continuing with our series of Having An Impact posts, giving an insight into how our different services are making a difference – in the words of the people using them.

Having an impact every day: Pregnancy Outreach Workers
Having an impact every day: Health Trainers

This week: the Lighten Up call centre

Lighten Up team at workAs Lighten Up staff member Liz Barber explained last week: “Our job is to take referrals and then contact the person wanting help with losing weight. We then help them choose a suitable provider, make sure they know when and where the meeting is, and send them all the info they need. After the first week we ring them to make sure all’s OK and then we carry on phoning them at regular intervals to check on their progress.”

The Lighten Up call centre doesn’t deliver the weight loss sessions; these are done by a number of providers. In fact, the call centre staff rarely meet the people they support, as their job is done via the telephone. What the call centre does is to make sure the process works and that the person using the service gets as much out of it as possible.

As Lisa Cruice, the team’s manager says: “We like to call what we do ‘wrap-around support.’ Our focus is to keep each person on track – so if there are problems, we sort them out, and if the person is struggling with motivation, we give them encouragement.”

So, as you’ll see, the mixture of attending the weight loss sessions and receiving regular calls from the Lighten Up call centre work hand in hand to provide a complete service.

Here’s a selection of the responses taken directly from the Podnosh Impact Assessment App, in the last ten days. As ever, the question is “how have we helped you today?”

 

Jane gave a happiness rating of 100% and said:

It’s nice someone is thinking about you.

Graham told us that Lighten Up gave him the kickstart he needed:

I am now into the swing of things with Slimming World and finding Slimming World more helpful. But don’t get me wrong, if it wasn’t for you in the first place I wouldn’t have had the incentive to do it anyway.

Joyce, who’s retired, wants to lose weight to help with her overall health:

Now I know that I am being sent my referral voucher and that I can start on Thursday. It’s much better than just being sent somewhere by your GP. It is good there is a freephone number to call and a team to support you.

Michelle has struggled with her weight for a while but is now with Rosemary Conley. We can see from the app that she benefits from chatting with the Lighten Up staff about her achievements during every call. This week, she said:

The call has helped me feel good about losing a stone.

Vanessa chose to take up the Health Trainers service, but she still gets support from Lighten Up:

It’s nice for you guys to keep in contact to see how I’m getting on and its nice to know you are interested how my weight loss is going.

John used the call to psyche himself up for a challenge that evening:

I’ve got a office do tonight at a chinese restaurant so I have to measure my portions. Being on a flexible plan leaves me 49 “floating points” a week so I can use some of them tonight. Your call will help me prime myself and keep to the challenge.

For Anne, the answer to “how have we helped you today” was simple:

By making me want to go to the class.

Allison is with Weight Watchers but appreciates the extra support:

Well its nice to be remembered and not just given the vouchers and left to get on with it yourself… so yes, its been helpful.

Judy is losing weight so that she can have an operation:

It was absolutely wonderful. Thanks for phoning and checking up on me.

 

In an average 10 days the team will sign up 212 new clients and they will make 2080 calls. Last year, the team supported their clients to lose a total of 1945 stone. So you see – it works!

Maintaining a healthy weight during pregnancy – with Maternal Lighten Up

Maternal Lighten UpOne in five pregnant women in Birmingham is overweight and so run a higher risk of complications during pregnancy. So the Maternal Lighten Up service is here to help women maintain a healthy weight in the months leading up to birth.

Unlike the general Lighten Up service, Maternal Lighten Up isn’t about weight loss – as Liz Barber, the Maternal Lighten Up Administrator, explains: “It’s probably a bit weird to be told ‘you’re overweight, but you can’t lose it’ – but, during your pregnancy, it’s all about helping you limit your weight gain. The services we refer our clients to can help them to do that in a healthy way.”

The city-wide service gets the majority of its referrals – women who are up to 28 weeks pregnant with a BMI of over 30 – from midwives. Clients are given the choice of three services to take up:

  • Maternal Health Trainers give one to one advice and a tailored programme of healthy eating and exercise to help maintain healthy weight gain during pregnancy
  • Birthfit is a programme of gentle exercise tailored to each stage of pregnancy and to individual needs, including specific advice about preparing for the birth
  • Slimming World offers classes for general weight loss, but pregnant women can join the classes to learn general healthy eating and exercise tips

Liz says, “going by the latest figures, nearly half the clients choose to go with the Maternal Health Trainer service. But whichever path they take, we will offer regular calls to see how they’re getting on and to offer extra support should they need it. Sometimes, if there are other issues besides their weight, this can mean putting them in touch with other services, such as our Pregnancy Outreach Workers”.

And after the other services finish, the support from Gateway continues. “Even after the birth, we encourage mums to carry on their healthy regime, and lose weight, by joining our general Lighten Up service”.

Kerry’s story

Kerry started with the Maternal Lighten Up programme in December 2012, at 13 weeks pregnant, after being referred by her Midwife for support with her weight management.  Pregnancy was nothing new, as this was her third baby, but in previous pregnancies she had put on a lot of weight and this time round she wanted to be better prepared.

After a discussion with Liz about the options available, Kerry opted for Birthfit, a weekly antenatal exercise class run by a former midwife, that would help keep her active during her pregnancy.

When Kerry began the course with Birthfit in January she was nearly 17st and, after attending every week, her weight gain remained stable. At 35 weeks she had gained just under a stone.

In April, Kerry said “I wish this service had been around in my previous pregnancies, where I put on two or three stone”. She says that the support from Maternal Lighten Up was “brilliant”, and that the tailored exercises she practiced through Birthfit helped her back problems more than physiotherapy sessions had done.

Kerry, who had her baby in June, also said that, being a third time mum, she really didn’t expect to learn anything new, but “I was amazed to be learning new things every week. I thought the programme was brilliant and would recommend the service to any mums to be”.

Rachel’s story

After Rachel was referred to Maternal Lighten Up, she chose to work with a Maternal Health Trainer, Richard McKenzie, who helped her to come up with her own healthy eating and exercise plan. She saw the benefits straight away, and made this statement just two weeks after her initial appointment: “I’m finding it motivating keeping the behaviour diary and monitoring my food and activity. I feel that my diet and exercise level has been good over the last two weeks and in balance.”

Richard has helped Rachel to stick to her healthy eating plan and regular sessions of yoga, and now she’s on track to give birth without having put on too much extra weight. In this video, taken just last week, she tells us, “I’m feeling really positive!”

Losing weight with help from a Health Trainer

When our Health Trainers help people to lose weight, they don’t recommend dieting. Instead, they help people to make lifestyle changes that will go far beyond the few months they’re with the service.

Derek’s story

Wayne with DerekDerek was referred to a Health Trainer by his GP seven months ago to get some help to lose weight.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect,” he says, “but Wayne was really good. Within an hour I had found out the best way forward with my eating habits.”

The main change for Derek was to start eating regular meals and getting into a routine that included breakfast, lunch and an evening meal. He cut out snacks and fizzy drinks and started including more fruit and vegetables in his meals.

“I lost 6 stone,” says Derek. “I’m a driving instructor and my seat was that far back, no-one could sit behind me. Now they can. I’m a big man, so this makes a huge difference to me.”

And it’s clear he’s happy with his new lifestyle.

“People stop me and say ‘are you on a diet?’ but I say ‘no, I’m healthy eating’. It’s nice for me – it gives me confidence and I feel really good at losing the weight.”

Gemma’s story

Gemma - beforeFor Gemma, it was a question of motivation. She joined Slimming World at the end of November last year but, thanks to her Health Trainer, she’s kept at it.

In her final statement she said, “I can’t believe it! I joined Slimming World and lost 25 pounds in weight.”

Again, the benefits of the changes she’s made are obvious.

“I feel good – I was a size 20 and now I’m a 16,” she says. “My joints don’t ache half as much, I’ve got more energy and I’ve reduced my risk of long term health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.

“I have to say a big thank you to my health trainer, who has been amazing throughout. When I had a tough time, he was the one motivating me.”