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One goal achieved; what next?

How many of us can say that food is a comfort? How many of us have spent many years making New Year resolutions to change our diet, exercise more or get healthy? Food can be something to turn to when we are bored or upset, and at the centre of socialising with those closest to us, but sometimes we can be our own worst enemy when it comes to balance. Jackie, a woman enabled by ubu in Leeds, has recently accomplished gaining control of her health and wellbeing with assistance from her enablers.

“Food has always been a comfort for me. I didn’t have much food when I was growing up and so I made sure I always had more food than I needed.” It gave Jackie comfort to know that she could buy as much food as she wanted and fill the cupboards, “this made my weight creep up to over sixteen stone and I’m only four foot nine.” Jackie decided to go to the doctor where she discovered she had developed diabetes, she was prescribed medication and daily blood checks to try monitor the diabetes and keep it under control. “My doctor also referred me to a dietician, but after losing a few pounds I felt I had done enough. I started gaining weight again and my dietician discharged me.”

The more weight that Jackie gained the more she struggled to do the things that she enjoyed most. “I would get taxi’s everywhere because my legs would ache so much and my back was always in agony. I could hardly breathe either and it didn’t help that I was smoking nearly sixty cigarettes a day.” Not only was Jackie’s doctor concerned but so were her enablers. “I didn’t care really, I would tell them I didn’t need the support as I was fine.”

Jackie asked the manager of the support she lived in to book another doctor’s appointment after she needed emergency medication for her diabetes. Her health was rapidly declining, she was experiencing difficulties with her vision and was constantly tired and breathless. “I also was having a treatment for some ulcers on my legs. The doctor told me I was at a serious risk of going blind, having my legs amputated, having a stroke, developing cancer or dying. He said I was morbidly obese. This upset me because I didn’t think I was obese. I thought I was only a little chubby. I didn’t know how to change things and didn’t feel that I could so I just gave up.”

Jackie’s enablers started to get recipes of her favourite meals and suggested ways that they could make them healthy but still enjoyable for her. “I love to eat curries, burgers, fry ups, fish and chips, pie and mash and desserts. We made a meal plan together and a shopping list so that I would only be buying what I needed.” Not only was Jackie starting to plan her meals, but also beginning to budget so that she would have leftovers for lunch the next day. “I made sweet potato curry, grilled breakfasts, homemade burgers, grilled fish and I would make chips with only a little bit of oil and cook them in the oven. I snackd on sugar free jelly and satsumas. I also changed full fat fizzy pop for sparkling water, but I would still have a treat on a Saturday because it’s all about balance.”

It was slow going at first but Jackie stuck with it, “I began to lose small amounts of weight but I had so much more energy! I started to walk places too so I was saving more money and being active and meeting people who were also out walking.” Jackie kept up with regular checks at the diabetes clinic and asked her staff to help her to stop smoking. “It is going so well and I feel so good about myself! I agreed with the enablers that I wanted to quit smoking, I’ve cut down from sixty cigarettes to fifteen now! I can breathe so much better now.”

After eight months of gentle walking every day and a regular healthy eating plan that Jackie is in control off, she has managed to lose over two stone. “I’m so happy, the diabetes nurses discharged me and I don’t need any medication now. I feel like I’m starting to live a healthy lifestyle. I have so much energy now and I feel amazing. People keep telling me how great I’m looking and I think so too!”

Jackie now hopes to lose another stone and cut down on cigarettes completely now. “I will reach my goal, it was hard to begin with but I don’t ever want to be that way again. With all the money I’m saving from not smoking or using taxi’s I’ve been able to afford to go on holiday this year and booked one for next year too!”

Jackie’s determination has helped reach the goals she set before herself and now she is happy and active in her new lifestyle. Health and wellbeing are important factors in everyone’s life, At ubu, we believe that everyone should have control over their own lifestyles. Jackie made the decision to gain control of her health and has triumphed in respect of both diet and fitness and we can’t wait to hear about what else she is aiming to achieve now she has accomplished this. “I’m proud of myself, I can do so much more now and I’m still eating food I love but it’s healthy and I make it myself. I can’t wait to reach my next goal.”


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