Humourist Dave Berry shed two stones. Thereafter, when he went out for dinner, he wished the waiter would roll out a rack of suits he could happily try on while his friends gorged themselves on rich, creamy puddings from the dessert cart.
Life’s not like that. But like Berry, 11 weeks ago I went on a diet and lost around six kilograms. Don’t ask me what that is because I still don’t understand metrics. I think I lost a stone and two or three pounds.
Not bad for a guy who loves eating. And that’s the best part. The diet could easily be called ‘Eat to lose weight’. No kidding. Far from being a fad, my local nurse signed me up for it. It’s calledOneLife Suffolk.
During my last medical check-up, she said I’d shrunk a centimetre and I needed to shed some weight.
Learning I had to commit to a series of 12 weekly OneLife meetings, I nearly declined. But as swimming-costume season’s coming, and I hate being teased by my daughters about my Dad Body (how I hate the term), I forced myself to go. I’m glad I did. Not only because of the success I’ve had in gaining control over how and what I eat, but because the other folks who go to the meetings are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.
Nicest of all is our leader, Nick Shea. He’s a man of military bearing, but with the heart of a Mr Chips when it comes to teaching.
As a retired teacher, I give him full-marks for putting across in layman’s terms what, to me, is potentially complicated information about health-labelling for calories, kcals, and saturated-and-unsaturated fats. More than that, he supplies an abundance of helpful and digestible (no pun here) facts and figures about good nutrition and the psychology of why we eat the way we do.
According to Nick, “We ask people to be more mindful of the thoughts and feelings about food and activity, then challenge them to change their current behaviour. This change in behaviour/habit is an important step to making weight loss sustainable.”
I used to think most people are too busy to get healthy. Nick sympathies. “But it’s about priorities,” he says. “Unfortunately, some of the benefits of having a healthy lifestyle aren’t tangible, so it sometimes takes an unexpected change in circumstances for people to increase their awareness of the importance of their health.
For people who understand the importance of looking after themselves, they’ll make ‘healthy’ part of their lifestyle. It’s higher on their list of priorities, and, therefore, they’ll make time for it.”
Nick’s an evangelist for the benefits of fitness. He says: “We offer free services to Suffolk residents including weight-loss for adults and children, walking, stopping smoking, NHS-health checks and becoming more active as well as signposting for drug, alcohol and mental health interventions.”
As Nick explains, OneLife’s set up as a one-stop telephone call regarding health-interventions where people are offered any number of services regardless of the reason they called.
“Our health is so important we should be setting aside time for ourselves and integrating healthy choices into our lifestyles. Simply by increasing the amount you walk makes a difference to so many aspects of our health as well as reducing consumption of foods high in fat, sugar and salt.”
As my wife says: “It’s nice seeing less of you!” At this rate, I may totally disappear before I’m 65!
For more information about OneLife Suffolk call 01473 718193 (eligibility criteria apply).
-- Michael Apichella is an award-winning writer and an artist. Visit his website at www.michaelapichella.com