Walking and sensible eating have helped Alan (64) shed over 9 stone in two years (5 stone during his Livewell journey).   His amazing transformation started when he joined one of Livewell’s sociable walking groups in Alvaston which he now helps to lead.  Here he explains why his love of walking combined with his desire to help others achieve similar health goals encouraged him to take the plunge to volunteer his invaluable services….

My Livewell journey

I joined Livewell in September 2017, having been “encouraged” to join by the nursing staff at my GP surgery.

The day after my first activation meeting I went on the Alvaston Riverside Walk. Going to the gym or exercise classes isn’t my sort of thing, so I continued going to the Alvaston walk each Thursday and also walking on my own. My weight gradually started to drop by walking and following the healthy lifestyle advice I was given.

At the start of 2018 I decided to build up my walking even more so over two months I started taking part in the Mickleover Community Walk on Mondays, the Chaddesden Park Walk on Tuesdays and the Normanton Park walk on Wednesdays.

By the end of my 12 months with Livewell I’d lost approximately 5 stone. However my journey didn’t finish there - I kept on walking and following a healthier diet, and by the end of September 2019 I’d lost between 9 and 10 stone.

My volunteering role with Livewell

During the first quarter of 2019 it looked like several of the Walking for Health walks in Derby might have to finish due to Livewell budget cuts and advisors being needed for other activities rather than leading walks. As I didn’t want the walks I attended to end, I volunteered to become a Walk Leader. I’m now one of the Walk Leaders for a couple of the walks, and help with others occasionally when the Walk Leaders are unavailable.  During the second half of 2019 Livewell did an appeal for additional volunteers who could pass on their experiences and support new clients at activation sessions. I stuck my hand up above the parapet and I now volunteer at Watermeadow Road activations.

Me in 3 words

I think of myself as single, pedantic (I’m a bit like a dog with a bone, I don’t let go) and thorough (I like to see things through to completion, even if it takes a long, long while).

I’m certain others have totally different words they could use!

My favourite meal

I love eating fish, provided it’s cooked. My favourite fish dish would be fish and chips from a Chippie, but I haven’t eaten one of those for over 3 years. I have been known to splash out on a John Dory or a lobster on occasions.

My passions/interests

  • I’m interested in old transport, especially steam, so I’m into traction engines and steam locomotives. I’m involved in the organisation of a traction engine rally, and help at several others.
  • I like old buildings, structures and architecture.
  • In recent years I’ve become interested in my family history. Along the way I’ve uncovered a couple of family secrets that did, unfortunately, cause a little bit of distress for some of my relatives when they first came to light.

My best achievement

At the start of 2019 I set myself the goal of walking at least 5 miles every day in 2019. I managed to walk on all but two 2 days during the year, averaging just under 8 miles per day for the whole year.

What you might be surprised to know

Human beings were not designed to fly, if they were they’d have had wings. Humans were designed to have their feet on terra firma.  That’s a long winded way of saying I HATE flying!

My top lifestyle tip

You can continue to enjoy all your favourite foods, you just need to eat sensibly sized portions and enjoy them as part of a balanced diet.

My favourite motivational quote(s)

There were several made during WW2 by Winston Churchill, several of which are highly appropriate at the current time, about the whole country pulling together to help each other in a time of crisis.

My tips for surviving lockdown

  • Eat sensibly.
  • Don’t consume more alcohol that you would normally.
  • Keep your body active as much as possible.
  • Keep your mind active by learning a new skill – a new craft, foreign language, IT, etc. The government has arranged for lots of courses to be made available online for FREE.

Alan - before and after his weight loss


Alan before and after Livewell