Weight loss:  16 kilos/2 stone 5lb, 10% of body weight

Full-time carer, Tracy hasn’t let any personal setbacks affect her determination to tackle her weight. Losing 10% of her body weight (2 stone 5lbs) in three months, Tracy’s positivity to encourage other clients and remain motivated herself are the reasons why advisor, Lauran nominated her for this month’s award.

As a single mum of a disabled daughter, 44-year-old Tracy found comfort in food to deal with the traumatic ups and downs of bringing up a child with Acquired Brain Injury, following meningitis when she was just six years old.

A member of a diet club on and off for 29 years, Tracy found that every time she lost weight, she piled it back on plus a few more pounds.  The pressures of attending weekly groups and sticking to a ‘faddy’ eating routine, left her feeling down and out of control.

Her turning point came when her 17-year-old daughter started specialist college, giving Tracy some extra time to focus on her own health.  Here she explains her story:

“My daughter’s wellbeing has always come first so when she happily took a place at college last year, it gave me the freedom to have some ‘me’ time.  I was fed up paying for diet groups that just didn’t work for me, so I asked my practice nurse about a more sustained approach to losing weight.  She referred me to Livewell in November and within a week I was booked into a virtual group meeting with other new starters.  Advisors Lauran and Joe were both very welcoming and it was lovely to chat and share experiences with others in the same boat - I instantly felt comfortable asking questions.

Lauran explained the NHS Eatwell Guide and how eating the right amounts of the right types of food helps people to enjoy a life-long, balanced diet. I realised where I’d gone wrong previously with omitting foods that are perceived to be bad but are actually good for you in moderation, such as salmon and nuts which contain good fats.

Even though counting calories seemed daunting at first, Joe helped me to download an app (My Fitness Pal) to make things easier.  I was horrified at how big my portions were in comparison to the recommended amounts so measuring my foods and eating the right quantities has been a massive revelation.  Surprisingly, I feel really satisfied with the smaller portions, probably because I’m eating more fibre, protein and healthy fats.

Eager to learn more about nutrition, I signed up to the Lose Weight Feel Great course and soaked up even more helpful knowledge about the different food groups and which ones are good and bad for your health.  Advisor, Cathy broke things down into easy-to-understand chunks and through the sessions I’ve learned so much about salt and mindful eating.  Having had little time for socialising over the last ten years, the course gave me the opportunity to make new friends and now we plan to try other things the programme offers together.  Everyone has been so supportive including the other members in the Facebook Group

I’ve kept track of my weight at the Alvaston weigh-in where I also have a quick chat with Joe or Lauran about my progress.  Previously weekly diet club meetings filled me with dread but with Livewell there’s no pressure, it feels more supportive -  it’s not just about what the scales say.  I just pop in on the weeks I want to and it feels right for me. 

Exercise wise, I was very unfit so Lauran encouraged me to walk and generally move more to gradually build up.  I joined the weekly Normanton Park walk a few weeks ago which I really enjoy and is now part of my regular routine.  Before Livewell I barely covered 1000 steps, now I do 9000-10,000 a day on three to four days a week which is a huge improvement. I would never have plucked up the courage to go to a leisure centre but now I’m looking forward to getting started in the gym and joining in at classes.

We’ve recently had a close family bereavement which would normally have left me reaching for food as a comfort but despite this hugely difficult time, I’ve not felt tempted to derail or change back to my old ways which I’m pleased about.

The combination of regular activity and eating well is having a massive benefit on my mental health. I don’t feel I’m on a diet, the changes I’ve made have just slotted into my life and it’s just part of the new, lighter and happier me!”

Advisor, Lauran Lang added:

“From the very first meeting Tracy has been extremely dedicated and has engaged as much as possible throughout the programme. She has achieved 10% weight loss at her 3-month review and mentally has never felt better. Tracy has been also a regular attendee of the LWFG course and now also spends time educating herself on better food choices and prioritising her health. Throughout the process she has had her fair share of challenges and barriers, however she has found that due to making small sustainable changes things have been manageable and she has been able to keep on track, where as before this may have been where things began to spiral out of control.

The main reason for my nomination is that no matter what life has thrown at her, Tracy has been consistent and positive, never finding an excuse to go off track even when things are difficult.  Well done Tracy!”

Tracy’s Top Tip

As a big fan of batch cooking, Tracy prepares different meals for the week ahead and divides them up into 175-450 calorie portions for freezing, so she has a speedy choice of lunches and dinners to reheat.  It’s a healthier, cheaper way of eating and reduces food waste too!

As a self-described ‘throw it all in a pan’ cook, Tracy takes her inspiration from Pinch of Nom.

Her favourite dishes include sweet potato and green lentil chilli and chicken, bacon and leek cottage pie.

Use our meal planner and shopping list to help you get organised!

Tracy below with the Lose Weight Feel Great group

Tracy with the Lose Weight Feel Great course group