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Can I make my feeling and express my gratitude for the support I have had received whilst attending the Ceredigion Actif programme.
Following a wakeup call from my family and significant visits to the GP, I was offered a referral to the Ceredigion Actif - GP referral scheme. After several months of suffering an upper respiratory cough, I had half a dozen or more GP visits including blood tests and a chest X ray all to no avail, after several different courses of medication some which helped but nothing cleared it was suggested several times that losing weight would help.
The wakeup call came after I passed out a few times with extreme bouts of coughing in front of my family, seeing the panic on their faces (I think they felt I was under insured!!) and a level of worry I have never seen before I agreed to revisit the GP. Whilst attending the appointment my son joined me!! and gave the doctor chapter and verse on how the family felt and their worry not about the cough but my weigh and potential issues it was going to cause (I think he was worried he’d would have to be a pall bearer).
Following his intervention I quickly realised I had been living in a state of that famous Egyptian river – denial. In my mind my personal PR message to everyone was that I used to be fit, I used to be an outdoors pursuit instructor, played rugby to good level, swam for the county, I didn’t eat the wrong foods, so when I wanted to I could shed the weight, and return to my prime. The reality I knew was different, I had a bad back, leg cramps, fell asleep nearly every time I sat down even at my desk, I had even be known to sleep standing up, I had a hacking cough and bad sleep I won’t add the other issues if you know what I mean. I was designing my diary and activity around my mobility issues which as a coast and countryside manager wasn’t ideal.
I knew what I needed to do but didn’t have an answer on how I was going to do it. After a day’s work which usually consists of hours of driving and lots of meetings the energy levels were not high enough to deliver an exercise session, if I was offered a cake or sandwiches I found it impossible to refuse - I work for the National Trust and cake is king. I did try to shed weight but it didn’t last long and the excuses outweighed the biscuits’ and sandwiches’.
The offer of the referral to Ceredigion Actif by Dr Helen Herbert broke that cycle. I met Gareth for my introduction expecting to be told how I will suffer strokes, heart attacks and every other disease known to man. However he delivered the introduction sold the proposition and closed the deal all without making me feel a failure or mentioning the obesity word. The first session I attended I was concerned that my fellow attendees had a few more years on the clock than I and I might have been in the wrong class. After the warmup and puffing like Thomas the Tank I realised that maybe I was in the right class. With Gareth’s excellent support and encouragement in the gym and Carys’s besting in aqua aerobics my wellbeing has changed immeasurably, I am losing weight, feel fitter and stronger and have energy levels far in advance of the a crate of redbull. My diet is now controlled and my blood sugar levels balanced and I can turn down a cake, even a chocolate one.
I am not sure what measures the programme has to deliver but with the increase of my wellbeing and seeing the progress of the others attendees on the programme it has to be in my opinion one the best programmes that Wales government have funded. From a personal perspective the train track I was on was only going one way, which would have cost the NHS a great deal and possibly leading to depriving my family of my excellent whit and personality which for me is a good return on investment. If I can help with any advocacy work please do not hesitate in contacting me.
I know I still have a great way to go and that significant weight loss is still needed but I confident that with the professional fitness and excellent interpersonal skills of Gareth and Carys that I am now facing in the right direction on my train track and will meet my goals.
Mr Paul Boland
NERS Client Mid Ceredigion