I’ve lost a stone and a half

14 March 2016

A routine trip to the Job Centre became a life-changing experience for 47-year-old Andy Hayes last year when he bumped into Health Trainer Cas Nech. “I was at the Job Centre for my weekly meeting.” explains Andy, “Cas approached me in the foyer and we talked about the Health Trainer service. A few weeks later we met again and Cas offered me a free NHS Health Check. I didn’t have anything else to do so I took him up on the offer.”

The Health Check showed that Andy was overweight and his cholesterol levels were high. Andy told Cas that a workplace injury had left him inactive and feeling grotty. “Andy had put on a lot of weight as a result of being inactive due to his injury,” explained Cas. “His BMI showed that he was bordering on obese and needed to address his exercise levels and unhealthy eating. I offered Andy a series of sessions with me in my role as a Health trainer and during these sessions we started to unpick what was going on in Andy’s life that was stopping him from making healthy choices.”

“At the time I was staying in a Bed and Breakfast in Folkestone,” explains Andy. “there were very limited cooking facilities and the breakfast was awful – savers cornflakes and white bread. I desperately wanted a place of my own so that I could cook proper meals for myself and my daughter. I was also in a lot of pain from my shoulder injury and felt that I couldn’t exercise. The less I did the more pain I was in and I was feeling very down.”

“Andy was really suffering due to his living conditions and his shoulder injury,” explains Cas, “he was depressed as a consequence and his general health was suffering. We created a personal health plan for him that took into account his specific needs. I realised that we would only make headway if I could help him with his housing situation first and foremost, as this was a major obstacle to him making the lifestyle changes that he needed.”

Cas contacted a local charity who were able to help Andy and his daughter to secure a rented home of their own. He also referred Andy to the Exercise Referral Scheme at his local leisure centre – a programme designed to help people who have an injury or health condition to take part in structured exercise safely and under supervision. Andy can now exercise regularly and the pain from his old injury has lessened.  “I feel so much better,“ says Andy, “I’ve lost a stone and a half, or more, in weight and my cholesterol is right down – but there’s more to it than that. My posture’s better, I’m more confident now. Having our own place means that I can cook healthy meals for myself and my daughter, who is also feeling the benefits. We’ve even started growing our own fruit, vegetables and herbs in the garden. Meeting Cas that day has changed my life.”