Norman lost half his body weight with Livewell 4 years ago. Now he’s a Livewell volunteer and jog/cycling leader supporting other people to change their lifestyles.
Read his inspiring story....
My Livewell journey
After retiring from teaching with the intention of seeking “something completely different” I experienced a mild heart attack. It immediately became more important for me to lose weight and get active or face a very unhealthy future.
My GP suggested Livewell. I was sceptical about joining the programme and instinctively thought it would be an embarrassing and painful journey. I reckoned I’d lose a few pounds at best. However, my Livewell journey turned out to be the most dramatic turnaround, way beyond anything I could imagine.
By engaging with the programme my life changed completely, all for the better. I steadily became enthusiastic about trying different activities and classes. At first it was a steep learning curve but gradually, with encouragement, I was able to progress. I certainly didn’t expect to lose half my body weight or to achieve a level of fitness that allows me to attend frequent exercise classes and gym sessions or enjoy being out and about walking, cycling and running.
The most special thing about my journey has to be the people (clients and staff) who are so motivating, supportive and non-judgemental. As a result, I have made many new friends and gained a new lease of life.
I said I wanted to do “something completely different”and Livewell opened new doors which certainly helped me achieve that.
My volunteering role with Livewell
As a volunteer I support Wednesday’s activation sessions and hub at Alvaston Park. This involves meeting and greeting new clients, measuring heights and weights and sharing my own experiences of Livewell.
Despite vowing never to run, I’ve become a jog leader! Towards the end of my time on Livewell they launched the Couch to 5K running programme. Once again, the other clients were so welcoming and friendly. I successfully completed the course and went on to take part in organised events including Parkruns. I now have a Leadership in Running Fitness (LIRF) Licence and make up a team of Jog Leaders in a group called Derby Joggers. Between us we organise free Couch to 5K programmes, fun runs and training for anyone in Derby wanting to start jogging or run further.
In addition, I help organise a Tuesday cycling group which makes use of the various dedicated cycling routes around Derby and beyond. The sessions are open to everyone, not just Livewell clients. However, when planning a ride, we are mindful of those who may not be confident cyclists. I certainly remember how nervous I felt when I started out.
Me in 3 words
My words: Creative, Family Man
Friends’ words: Approachable, Kind, Caring
My Wife said: Do they allow swearing?
My favourite meal
It has to be Christmas dinner. I have sensible portion sizes these days, thanks to Livewell’s Lose Weight Feel Great course. On the rare occasion I visit my hometown there is an Italian Restaurant that does the best Margherita pizzas on the planet so it’s a no brainer when choosing where to eat out.
I really enjoy helping and motivating others to be the best versions of themselves. My involvement in the running and cycling groups enables me to continue this passion now that I have retired from teaching.
Growing up in the red and white part of Sheffield, I have a passion for football and Sheffield United who are currently enjoying an upturn in good fortune. Although my Rams’ friends have pointed out that it won’t last long and the regular Saturday afternoon disappointment will return!
Nowadays I spend a lot of time being active, most notably walking in the countryside or going for long cycle rides.
My best achievement
It has to be my two wonderful grown up children (with help from my wife and other close family members)
Joining a local cycling group and riding with them all the way from Derby to Skegness at the age of 63!
What you might be surprised to know
I used to work on a bus! I once had a job teaching on a bus filled with computers and other high-tech equipment. I visited schools and taught children and teachers how to use new technologies.
My top lifestyle tip
Drink more water. I never used to drink enough water. Water is essential for our bodies to function correctly. Everywhere I go I have a bottle of water with me.
My favourite motivational quote
This quote from Steve Jobs (co-founder of Apple computers) sums up my attitude to life:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”
It took me a long time to realise that I needed to be me and not what others expected me to be.