Gary Harrison was nominated by advisor, Cathy. His self-motivation to lose the pounds and reduce his blood pressure was the key reason she felt he deserved the award. In the last year, he’s lost one and a half stone (11% of his body weight) and reduced his blood pressure from high to the ideal range. He’s now a regular at Springwood Leisure Centre’s gym, working out three to four times a week.
The 54-year- old from Chaddesden works at Streetpride as a gardener with the grounds maintenance team. Despite his active job, he’d seen his weight gradually pile on in recent years.
Having a Livewell health MOT a year ago at the Council spurred Gary to take action when it revealed his body mass index was in the obese category and his blood pressure was high enough to be referred to his GP, putting him at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 Diabetes and cancer.
He jumped at the chance to join Livewell’s free 12-month weight management programme, completing his commitment card in record time through Livewell walks, classes and weight loss drop-ins.
“Hearing those results gave me the kick start to change. As a keen runner years ago, I was eager to get fitter and healthier, so getting stuck into Livewell’s classes and walks was a good start. The commitment card gave me a purpose and a sense of pride as I collected stamps for attending activities and getting weighed. Before long, the weight was dropping off and I was heading to the gym to increase my cardiovascular fitness on the treadmill and cross trainer.
Becoming more active made me reassess my eating. I already ate plenty of vegetables and home-made meals thanks to my wife who is a chef but I hadn’t considered I might be eating too much protein and starchy foods like bread, pasta and rice. Reducing my portion sizes and switching the bacon butties for a healthier pack-up have helped shift more weight. I still say yes to the odd treat but snacking is no longer a daily habit and involves fruit rather than fatty or sugary foods.
Now, 12 months after I started this journey I feel a different man. I love getting out to the gym and going on dog walks with my wife at the weekend, we’ve both supported each other to lose excess weight. And aside from all the recent checks showing I’m healthy, my energy levels and ability to keep up with my two young grandchildren are proof that lifestyle changes really can make all the difference.”