This month, Broadfield resident Geri Maloney celebrated losing 4½ stone after joining her local Weight Watchers group.
Geri had always battled with her weight but decided to join Weight Watchers after seeing a photograph of herself on a family holiday.
Geri explains, “I’ve been overweight my whole adult life. My clothes size kept creeping up and although I was never happy with my size, I just accepted it. Every now and again I would attempt to lose weight; I would lose a stone, feel great and then put it all back on again.”
Following from pregnancy, Geri had gained more weight and decided to transition from vegetarian to vegan, in the hope that the plant-based diet may aid her weight-loss, however Geri still found that she struggled.
“As veganism is more mainstream now there are so many unhealthy options available that it is very easy to still eat junk food, which I did, and therefore didn’t lose weight. I would very rarely look in a full-length mirror and always tried to avoid having full-length photos taken because I would hate seeing myself.
“I gave up on wearing nice clothes and adopted a uniform of leggings and baggy tops which I thought disguised my weight, but when I saw a photo of me holding my daughter, I thought about what she would think of it when she is older. I didn’t want her to look at it and see the Mum who was too unfit to run around after her once she learnt to walk, or never wanted to go clothes shopping.”
Geri knew that she had to make a change, and after seeing a banner advertising her local Broadfield Weight Watchers meeting, she plucked up the courage to sign up.
“It was one of the best decisions I have ever made; walking in was a little daunting but the welcome that I received from my coach, Sharon and the rest of the members, made me relax in no time. I walked out feeling totally inspired and like I could take on the world!”
Since joining Weight Watchers Geri has learnt new healthy eating habits whilst still enjoying her vegan-friendly food. She says:
“In my first week I learnt how to use the Weight Watchers mobile phone app, and I had great fun walking round the supermarkets scanning all my favourite foods, and was surprised by how many of the foods I loved were not off limits. The Flex plan has encouraged me to start cooking more using some of the zero-point foods like tofu, lentils, chickpeas and beans – they’re so versatile and really good for padding out meals to make me feel full and satisfied for longer.”
Now Geri has reached her goal weight and became a Weight Watchers Gold member, she says it’s not just about the weight she has lost, but everything else that she has gained!
“Losing weight has increased my confidence and made me feel fitter. I can go out for a walk with my daughter and chase her around without needing to sit down and rest afterwards.”
A Gold membership is awarded to members once they have achieved their goal weight. As well as receiving a certificate for their achievement, Gold members can attend meetings free of charge and as often as they like, if they stay within 5lbs of their target weight.
Coach Sharon Ashborn says:
“I love Geri because she’s so funky and hip! She brings sparkle to the room, encourages and supports our other members and always contributes to the meeting talks. The best part is she inspires and amazes me with her vegan diet, and how she has continued to follow it alongside the Flex plan.
“As Geri continues to attend the meetings, I will continue to support and encourage her to continue with the fantastic work she has done so far to ensure she will stay on track and take control of her goals for good.”
When asked if she had one piece of advice for people considering joining Weight Watchers, she said, “stop thinking about it and do it, just join! Embrace it and you will achieve your goal!”
Sharon Ashborn runs six meetings a week across West Sussex:
Monday at 5.30pm – Broadfield Youth and Community Centre
Tuesday at 6.30pm – Southwater Leisure Centre
Thursday at 8.45 & 10am – Southwater Leisure Centre
Friday at 9.30am – Haywards Heath St Wilfrids Church Hall
Saturday at 9.45am – Broadfield Youth and Community Centre
Henry Smith MP presents Crawley healthcare petition and hails government support for diabetics
The Crawley MP has presented a petition of local residents in the House of Commons.
It calls on the NHS in Crawley to provide Flash Glucose Monitoring technology to people with Diabetes, and has spoken in support of Government moves to ensure this provision for Type 1 Diabetics across England (on World Diabetes Day, Wednesday 14th November).
Speaking in Central Lobby after the presentation of the petition, Henry said;
“My thanks to those Crawley residents who took the time to sign this petition and collect signatures in support of Diabetics locally being provided with Flash Glucose Monitoring technology, such as FreeStyle Libre.
“These enable Diabetics to live with their condition better by testing glucose levels without the need to continually prick their finger throughout the day with a needle, drawing blood to use a test strip to check blood sugar levels.
“The FreeStyle Libre works by having a small sensor on your body automatically measuring and continuously storing glucose readings day and night, which can be read via a sensor (the size of a £2 coin) in seconds using a pocket-sized scanner.
“Our petition calls for the Crawley Clinical Commissioning Group to provide this support for Diabetics locally, whose daily lives would be enhanced by wider availability of this device.”
While Diabetes UK estimate that 6.9 per cent of adults in the town have Diabetes, Crawley CCG are among under one fifth of CCGs which have decided not to make flash glucose monitoring available.
Also coinciding with World Diabetes Day, NHS England announced action to end the current variation faced currently by Type 1 Diabetics in some parts of the country accessing FreeStyle Libre.
From April 2019, these patients will be able to receive it on prescription from their local GP or Diabetes team helping them to better manage their blood sugar levels.
“I welcome the Government’s action to support people with Type 1 Diabetes in Crawley and throughout England. This announcement should mean an end to the variation in availability in this technology which will improve the daily lives of people with this condition.
“Of course, I continue to call on the NHS in Crawley to ensure this comes in before April next year, and for all local residents living with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.”
Henry said in the House of Commons;
“I am here today on behalf of Crawley residents with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and all those who signed my petition calling on the Crawley Clinical Commissioning Group to provide flash glucose monitoring technology, such as FreeStyle Libre, on the NHS. Diabetes UK estimates that 6.9 per cent of adults in Crawley have Diabetes—a figure slightly higher than the English national average—but less than a fifth of Clinical Commissioning Groups have opted to make flash glucose monitoring available.
“As the right hon. Member for Leicester East (Keith Vaz) has said, I very much welcome the Government stating this morning—on World Diabetes Day—that for patients with Type 1 Diabetes, they are “announcing action to end the current variation patients in some parts of the country are facing to access Freestyle Libre.”
“People in Crawley who deal with Diabetes every day and I urge Crawley CCG and NHS England to ensure provision of this technology for people living with Type 2 Diabetes as well.
“The petition states:
“The Petition of residents of Crawley,
“Declares that the unfair postcode lottery created by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) for access to Flash Glucose Monitoring (FreeStyle Libre) is detrimental to the health and emotional wellbeing of people with Diabetes and those that care for people with Diabetes; further notes that technology has been proved to be cost effective for many who are on intensive insulin therapy; further that it has been made available on prescription by the NHS and there is evidence to support its positive impacts; further that half of the country have now given access, but the other half have not; further that there is no reason why CCGs across the country should not make this life changing technology available to people with Diabetes who could benefit in England.
“The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons to urge the government to take immediate action with NHS England to make Flash Glucose technology available on prescription for people with diabetes regardless of their address.
“And the petitioners remain, etc.”