Jeanette is a 52-year-old who lives alone with a “psychotic rescue cat” (her words) and works full-time, from home.
Having been diagnosed with Meniere’s disease and vestibular migraines, she describes herself as “virtually housebound” and unable to travel by herself, as she can have sudden bouts of illness.
Before my diagnosis of Meniere’s, I was quite active. I used to swim for an hour after work, four or five times a week and would walk with a friend for an hour on Thursday evenings.
I took a yoga class once a week and would regularly take a salsa class. Then everything stopped due to Covid, my friend moved away and I got my diagnosis.
Everything seemed to hit me all at once and I got used to staying indoors and not moving around, partly because I was out of the habit and partly because I was coping with vertigo on a daily basis.
I still ate as much as I did when I was quite active. My problem hasn’t been eating the wrong foods, my problem has always been that I eat far too much.
If I was driving to work I wouldn’t have breakfast, but in work I would have a coffee with some fruit and porridge for breakfast, snack on more fruit until lunchtime, when I would have a salad or soup or a sandwich and a yogurt, and some more fruit.
Then I’d come home after a swim to some pasta or a jacket potato with fish and veg, then I’d have a sweet snack before bedtime.
My portions were double size, but I would tell myself it wasn’t bad food so it was ok.
At weekends I would have breakfast, then a snacky type lunch, and probably a takeaway on Saturday night. Then Sundays I wouldn’t have breakfast but would go out for a meal, a Sunday roast usually, with lots of veg and potatoes.
I was already on a waiting list for bariatric surgery and my doctor suggested BeeZee Bodies, so I signed up.
I have done every diet you can think of since I was a teenager. Nothing worked or stuck.
The best one I did I lost 10 stone over two years, but I just couldn’t get any lower than 18 stone and the weight gradually went back on.
Now I’ve been accepted for bariatric surgery, I want to make permanent changes. I don’t care about the numbers on the scales any more. I prefer to get into some good, healthy, sustainable habits that will improve my health and quality of life and that’s what I want to take away from this.
The biggest change I’ve made is to become more aware of what I’m eating and when.
I try to always have breakfast and drink plenty of water, then at lunch I take myself away from my desk if I’m at work, to sit down and concentrate on my food. I find I don’t eat as much then.
I’m eating a lot less fruit but more vegetables, which seems to work better for me. If I fill up on veg, I’m fuller for longer.
My portion sizes are gradually reducing and I’m listening to my body more. Sometimes I’m not hungry, I’m thirsty.
My true goals are long-term. I’m working on my portion sizes and taking each day as it comes. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and I want to make good habits that my body will thank me for in the long run.
I did learn quite a bit. I knew about nutrition and portion control, but I always thought I was weak and couldn’t do it. The group gave me the confidence to go for it and admit failures, knowing it was OK.
Now I can see failures as learning experiences. That’s probably the best, and hardest thing, being honest with yourself and forgiving yourself, but not too much. I don’t want to make excuses for moving back to bad habits.
The webinars were great for me. I found the format was engaging, interactive and not preachy or monotonous.
They were followed up by e-mails and handouts, so I can go back and jog my memory if I need to.
I wouldn’t have been able to get to a meeting, so this online home-based format was perfect for me.
I knew that I needed to do something after my Meniere’s diagnosis, so BeeZee Bodies came at the right time for me.
It was great. No sitting round telling the group how much weight you’d lost or gained, and the reasons why.
This doesn’t mean it’s easy, it’s not, but the course broke down into bite-size chunks what to do to help yourself — and why you had some behaviours.
I now feel confident that I have the tools and strategies to put me back onto a better relationship with food. And I’ll have a longer, healthier and happier life because of it.
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