Aden used to be happy spending his evenings tied to his chair in front of the television, and junk food was a staple in his diet. After joining Second Nature, he has now found a new love for walking and an appreciation for cooking fresh, nutritious food that leaves him feeling full and satisfied. After four weeks on the programme, Aden even delivered the remains of his junk food to his colleagues, no regrets!
A bit about me
Looking back over the last 53 years my weight has always been a major factor in my life. I developed a bit of a love for unhealthy food, junk food and sugary drinks were a staple in my diet, and I was also a comfort eater and I had never tasted a bar of chocolate I didn’t like; it was a recipe for disaster. Over the years I have half-heartedly tried just about every diet under the sun. If throwing money at the problem was a solution, then I would be thin as a rake. I would buy every gadget and recipe book going.
The problem was I didn’t like the meals, so I would fall off the wagon after a few hours. Although I was used to being large I had got to the stage where my weight was beginning to cause me issues – aching joints, difficulty getting in and out of the bath, getting clothes to fit. I was caught up in a vicious circle – I want to get slimmer, but I love food, I want to exercise but I’m too big to do anything that will make a difference, I’m a picky eater with a big appetite and the usual diets would leave me hungry and unsatisfied.
Second Nature was different – from the first day I had to consciously consider what I was eating, address my mindset and the way I was sabotaging myself. My vegetable intake, in terms of quantity, quality, and variety increased significantly overnight. I started to eat nutritionally rich food which I prepared from scratch. For the first time, I was on a programme where I was eating good food, I wasn’t hungry and, most surprising to me, I wasn’t craving junk food or sweets. More than that because I was eating consciously I was aware of the tastes and textures of what I was eating and enjoying it for the first time.
Forming new habits with Second Nature
In the past, I would come home from work, sit in front of the television and stay there until bedtime. I knew that I needed to exercise but I always had a good excuse. So, from day one I pushed myself to beat the daily steps target. After a week I decided to get a tracker which was more robust than my watch and would have a longer battery life, so I could wear it a week at a time. Now when I got home I would go out for a walk every night.
I have lived in my house for 20 years and all that time there has been an alley between two houses opposite leading to a footpath. To my shame, I had never walked down the alley. When I did, I found that this path leads to a large area of the nature reserve and playing fields.
My nightly walk is now the three and a half kilometres around the perimeter. Regardless of the weather, I find that I now look forward to the walk both in the evening and at lunchtime. Recently I went on holiday for a week and found myself walking miles and packing so much more into the trip than I ever would in the past – I have to say that it was the best holiday I have had in many years.
Easy access to a health coach on Second Nature is fundamental, as is the support from others in the group. Having the health coach there to provide support, advice and validation were so important – having someone there who will work with you to achieve the goals is key. I find myself glancing at the app during the day to see what others in the group are experiencing and doing. It is so great to be in a group where we are all working towards the same goal.
A new mindset
Looking back my biggest challenge wasn’t the food, it was my mindset. To be completely honest, I went into Second Nature expecting to fail as I had done so many times before. My house was full of chocolate, sweets, crisps, fizzy drinks and junk food but I was unwilling to throw it all away as I would have to go and replace it when, not if, I failed. The approach with Second Nature is completely different from anything I have experienced before.
The daily articles made me look at how I thought about myself and my relationship with food. When I deviate from the plan I just go back to what I should have been doing and learn what led me to go wrong in the first place. This is a very powerful difference. After four weeks I got a big bag and packed up the junk food and took it to work so my colleagues could enjoy it – by then I was confident that this was a long-term change.
You can read more Second Nature stories here. If you’d like to make a lifestyle change of your own, give Second Nature a go. Start by taking our health quiz to discover how we can help you achieve your goals.