Difficulty walking more than 50 yards, trouble breathing, couldn’t stand up for more than a couple of minutes, and feeling “ratty”. That was the reality for 75-year-old Richard Mead.
After sharing his symptoms, his GP confirmed that nothing untoward was going on other than Richard was obese and needed to lose weight. This is when Richard was introduced to the Essex Wellbeing Service.
Reaching out for help
Confident that Richard couldn’t “carry on like this for much longer”, he decided to take action and go to the Essex Wellbeing Service to sign up for the MyWeightMatters course.
Talking about his experience, Richard explained: “I didn’t have people preaching to me and pressuring me to do this or that. I just wanted a sympathetic ear and non-judgemental people to support me, and that’s what I got.
“I was able to receive advice and information that allowed me to use my own common sense to sort out my own diet. I now have a relatively low-calorie diet and drastically reduce my intake of fats and high carb foods. As a result, I’ve gone from 165 kilos to 140 kilos - and still counting!”
To understand the true measure of his weight loss, he held a 20-kilo weight, he said: "I could not believe that the excess fat that I have been carrying was so heavy!"
The physical benefits of losing weight
The weight that Richard has lost is already making dramatic improvements in his life: “I can breathe better and can stand up for sustained periods of time. I’ve taken my belt in three notches and this morning I’ve found I need to take it in another notch too!”
Richard added, “the more I do the better I feel! I am more mindful when I go out to eat, I walk more and I can get up and down the stairs much better”.
The mental benefits of losing weight
Losing weight isn’t all about your physical health, it can also negatively impact your mental health too. Richard said: “I’ve been quite ratty over the past few years. But now I feel better for having less weight on my diaphragm and I’m more confident now.
“Before losing any weight, I didn’t really want to go anywhere. Now, I feel a lot better within myself which makes me feel happier to go out and do things and visit places. Just a few months ago I wouldn’t have wanted to travel to places like Hertfordshire, Surrey and London but now I do.”
An optimistic perspective on weight loss
When we asked Richard what he’d say to someone who was hesitant about reaching out for support, he said: “If you’re struggling, you need to seek advice. You have to think about what your life would look like if you didn’t lose weight and how losing it can improve your life.
“I reached a stage where walking along the train platform in Colchester, the longest physical platform in the UK, used to damn well kill me! But this week I’ll be doing it twice and I’m not nervous about it at all. Losing some weight is giving me some of my life back.
“And I’m looking forward to losing more so I can walk up mountains like I used to, and join in for the long walks on holiday with my wife and son instead of having to stay at the hotel. I’ll probably improve my golf swing too! The fitter you become, the happier you’ll be!"
Although Richard still has weight to lose, he is confident and motivated enough to do so: “I was grossly overweight and I’ve accepted this. I’m doing my damnedest to reduce it substantially. I actually enjoy being weighed now because I can see I’m losing more weight!"
If like Richard you’d like to gain support with losing weight, sign up for one of our completely free courses below.