Kerry and Sal Wallington-Waite from Derby joined Livewell a year ago after gaining weight during the pandemic.

The couple, who also quit smoking with Livewell 5 years ago, said taking control of their eating and exercise habits has made a huge difference to their quality of life. 

Nominated by their advisor, Casey, Kerry (43) and Sal (41) struggled with their weight for years having tried different diets and eating regimes.

Kerry explains what prompted them to change:

“When a Facebook memory popped up of our slimmer selves years ago it made us realise how big we had got.  We knew something had to change but our motivation was flagging having already failed at several fad diets.  Feeling down and desperate, we remembered the support we got from Livewell to stop smoking and signed up on the website for the weight management programme last summer.

Sal and I both work different shift patterns, so we were grateful that our advisor, Casey worked around this to meet us and help get us started.  She recognized that doing this together was important to us.

Getting into exercise classes was our first game changer. With Casey’s encouragement we tried Livewell’s Boxwell, Weekend Workout and Move and Tone classes and couldn’t believe how motivating they were.  People of all ages, sizes, ethnicities, and abilities were having fun together and moving in their own ways, it made us want to join in and alleviated our fears about being able to keep up.

As our confidence grew, we joined Derby Arena’s gym and exercise sessions which is offered as part of the programme.  As first timers, we were reassured again by the diversity of people, it felt welcoming and comfortable, so much so that we’ve tried everything from Konga to BodyPump to badminton, and it’s become an important part of our lives.  We’re taking out the Wellness membership for clients finishing on Livewell so we can continue to enjoy our exercise regime.” 

Sal discovered that the scales aren’t always a good measure of progress:

“Stepping on the scales and not seeing any difference after several weeks was demoralizing.  Casey gave me some helpful pointers, suggesting I try strength training in combination with the cardio I was already doing to boost my weight loss.  She also explained that scales don’t tell the full story; that muscle weighs the same as fat but takes up less volume, so losing inches from my waist and other areas is another option for tracking progress. 

Now I love doing weights in the gym, at a BodyPump class or through one of Livewell’s YouTube home workoutsJoe has a great dumbbell beginners video.  Walking is also something I enjoy more regularly, averaging 20,000 steps a day through walking our dog for miles, lunch break strolls and taking the stairs at work.

Taking on this advice, the scales headed in the right direction, and I’ve since dropped two dress sizes and noticeable fat from my problem areas.  In fact, both of us look completely different now and we’re frequently complemented on our weight loss, healthy appearance, and energy levels.”

Getting into healthy eating habits was more difficult for the couple who often don’t see each other for days because of their work patterns.  Kerry explains why planning has been key:

“As passing ships for most of the week, we’d both grab easy meal deals or fast food whilst at work and take aways at home. We’ve made a conscious effort to plan our shopping, batch cook healthier meals when we’re off together and take pack up to work.  We’ve stopped buying junk food and there’s always fruit to snack on. We grow our own vegetables in our garden which keeps us active and eating with the seasons!”

As a lifestyle change rather than a quick fix, Sal is quick to add that they never begrudge themselves of a treat:

“We’re more mindful eaters now but we won’t go without.  If we fancy a bit of chocolate or a dessert, we’ll still have it, but we may do a bit more exercise that day or the day after to make up for it.  When eating out, we’ll opt for jacket potato over chips or less fatty sauces, but it doesn’t feel a hardship.”

During our all-inclusive break in July, we ate and exercised better than any previous holidays – not eating for the sake of it and taking part in lots of classes including circuits in 36-degree heat, swimming and gym, so when we did have an ice cream, we felt we deserved it!  We didn’t want to undo our hard work.”

Both women love fitting into old clothes they’d saved from slimmer years and wearing styles they felt they couldn’t carry off before.  They’re also ready for the next chapter as Kerry concludes:

“Our aim was to make a whole lifestyle change and we feel we’ve achieved it.  We had a year to get the most out of the Livewell programme and we believe we have all the skills and knowledge to take on this next phase as a healthier, fitter and happier couple.”

Livewell advisor, Casey Baxter said:

“Sal and Kerry came to Livewell wanting to change their lifestyles and be able to find something that could work for them long term. They have both got stuck into the programme and taken full advantage of what is on offer, attending Livewell classes, workshops and leisure centre classes particularly at Derby Arena, as well as finding ways to eat well around their differing work schedules.

The difference in how they were from our first meeting to now is amazing and they have put all the hard work in, including continuing to be mindful on their holidays, which I was very impressed with. Their support for each other has also helped them both stay on track! Well done Sal and Kerry!”