Advisor Aimee nominated Abena for her incredible achievement in completing the One Million Step Challenge for Diabetes UK this Summer. Impressively the 63-year-old didn’t stop at one million, she strode an extra 129,000 steps walking on average 12,500 steps every day for three months.

Abena joined Livewell in August last year and in 12 months she’s lost 6% of her body weight, dropped two dress sizes and is fitter than she’s ever been.

As well as increasing her walking, Abena has changed the way she eats – planning and preparing healthy meals and snacks to have ready in the fridge when hunger strikes.  She’s also using fresh produce from her allotment to make nutritious vegetable soups.

Abena explains why she took part in the challenge:

“I love being outdoors, it’s good for our mental health and I’ve discovered some stunning bits of Derby I never knew existing, who knew there was a castle in Mackworth Village?!  My routes take me from pretty bridleways to open fields and riverside paths through the city.  I pack a bag and stop for a cuppa break part way round. 

Before I joined Livewell, exercise wasn’t really on my radar and I didn’t walk as much as I should.  I took the challenge on to keep myself motived, building in extra steps to and from work and heading out on longer stretches at weekends. It’s a great way to build stamina, get to places and experience the natural world around us.  I kept a diary of my step count and totted up the total at the end of every month.  I even got my daughter involved.

Aimee encouraged me literally every step of the way and doing challenges really suits me – I attempted the weekly Livewell ones she emailed through during lockdown and had a go at the activity on the park sessions. 

I love feeling healthier and running around with my three-year-old grandson makes me happy.  The only down-side is having to get my sewing machine out to alter my too baggy trousers but I guess that’s a nice problem to have!”

Abena’s top tips

  • Taking part in challenges really works for me but I also found keeping a diary and logging my progress helped me stay motived.
  • Find new and interesting walking routes with different things to look at.  It feels more enjoyable so you’re more likely to fit it into your routine.
  • Plan your meals and shopping lists and don’t deviate from your list.  Not only does it save you time overall, it also saves you money on the extras you don’t need.
  • Pack in fruit and vegetables – they are low in calories and fat but high in fibre to keep you full.

Images from Abena's walks in Derby