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Kristy’s Story – Solihull Health Trainer Service

“All the tips, encouragement and the talks… I wouldn’t have got this far without my Health Trainer.”

Kristy was 29 years old when she was first referred to the Solihull Health Trainer service. She weighed 24st 5lb, had a BMI of 56.6 and had recently been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. She also suffered from mild depression and anxiety which meant that she sometimes did not want to leave the house. Her GP referred her to Health Exchange so that she could get support with managing her weight, increasing physical activity and improving her mental health.

During her initial assessment, Kristy informed her Health Trainer that she was looking for advice relating to a suitable diet for Type 2 diabetics. She said that she had not told her friends and family about her diagnosis because she felt she had brought it upon herself and she felt disgusted with herself. However, she had told her partner who also had Type 2 diabetes.

Despite having already begun to make some positive lifestyle changes, such as no longer drinking 2 litre bottles of Coca Cola, Kristy said she did not eat enough fruit and vegetables and had been skipping meals and restricting food as she was unsure which foods would impact on her blood glucose levels.

The Health Trainer referred her to Slimming World, where she could be given specific advice about Type 2 diabetes and lifestyle. The Health Trainer also helped her to set small, achievable goals such as beginning to incorporate vegetables into her lunches.

Within 2 weeks, Kristy had lost a stone and felt that attending the Slimming World sessions had given her a better insight into which foods she should have more of and which she should avoid. She also explained that she felt more motivated, more in control of her diabetes and that she had a better understanding of her dietary requirements.

However, she was still struggling with her mental health and felt that it could be a barrier to her progress. Kristy wanted to increase her physical activity to help to relieve her anxiety and improve her mental wellbeing. She felt too self-conscious to exercise in public so she set a goal to complete a workout DVD once a week at home and was given a behaviour diary to track her exercise levels.

Kristy then visited the hospital for a review of her blood glucose levels. The doctor praised her for her lifestyle changes and was amazed at how drastically her blood levels had decreased. This gave Kristy a lot of motivation and she said she now wanted to help her partner with his weight and managing his Type 2 diabetes.

She also set herself a goal to go swimming, an activity she had loved as a child. Although she had concerns about wearing a swimming costume and getting nasty remarks from others, she felt motivated enough to pluck up the courage to go. After this, she decided to continue swimming regularly to increase her confidence.

In her final appointment, Kristy weighed 21st 4lb, a loss of 3st 1lb. She had also gone from dress size 28 to 24 and almost completely reversed the effects of her Type 2 diabetes! Her doctor expressed that the lifestyle changes she had made, and what these had done for her health, were amazing.

Kristy rated the Health Trainer service as 10/10 and said she could not have got to where she was without it. She said she has improved her lifestyle by increasing her exercise, improving her diet, losing weight and improving her mental health and wellbeing.

She said:

“[My Health Trainer] has helped me so much. She’s had the confidence and belief in me. All the tips, encouragement and the talks… I wouldn’t have got this far without her. I’m only sad that my journey continues without our regular sessions. I will continue to use all she has taught me. Thank you so much.”

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