Stories

Andrew: “I can now walk around without getting out of breath”

Andrew joined Second Nature with his wife in August 2021 as they noticed their weight was increasing and couldn’t see how to counter this. Andrew’s wife has type-2 diabetes and he was recently diagnosed as pre-diabetic after having a blood test. In 11 weeks, Andrew has lost nearly 17kg and noticed some amazing changes to his health and wellbeing!

A little about me

I’m Andrew and am 64 years of age (actually, 21 with 43 years experience). I am married to Sue and celebrate 30 years of being married next February. Our three children are grown up and are doing their own thing. We do have two miniature poodles, Taz and Maddie, but they get in the way when doing exercises on the floor by licking my face!

I have CFS/ME (chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis), coeliac disease, and diverticulitis which complicates things somewhat. Prior to joining Second Nature, I could easily eat a 200g bar of chocolate and a tube of Pringles each evening, with my weight increasing to 117kg as a result! I started to puff and pant, even when walking around. Sue had been on many “diets” but could not adapt herself to them, especially with her going hungry quite often.

We were casually meandering through the various apps on our laptop when Sue happened upon a Second Nature advert on Facebook. It was on offer so we thought, why not? At least we should have a structured approach to improving our health, and a few other bits as well. After all, it not only worked on our diet, but our minds, habits and exercise. Besides, if the NHS endorses the programme, it must have some merit, don’t you think?

“With Second Nature we have found ourselves not going hungry and I’ve taken over cooking duties”

Getting into a habit takes time, of course, so we mustn’t get despondent in keeping reminding ourselves to do this, or do that. Having been in the Royal Air Force for over 25 years and with Jaguar Land Rover for 18 years, I was very used to following procedures and organising things. Hence, me taking over cooking duties and shopping.

We both worked on meal planning every Thursday evening so I could do the main shop on Friday mornings with a minor shop on Tuesday or Wednesday especially for fresh food stuff (fruit, vegetables and sourdough bread for the weekend). What amazed us was the flexible approach of the programme that allowed us to enjoy carbs, enabling a variety of recipes and foods to be combined.

“My blood sugar levels are now in the normal range and I’m much lighter too!”

During a recent pre-diabetes check-up appointment at my GP, I gave blood and was weighed, etc. The nurse was amazed at my weight loss (approximately 17kg over 11 weeks) and reported that my HbA1c count (previously 47) was now 38 and I was off the “at risk” list. Yes!!!

I can now walk around our area without getting out of breath, even walking up hills without stopping part way up to get my breath!

Exercising without bounds!

CFS/ME excepted, I employed myself around our residential park doing this, that, and the other. Sometimes I would get home totally drenched in sweat (sorry if you are reading this while eating!)

Having dogs is an excellent excuse to get out and about. Taz will walk but Maddie will only walk if Sue comes along. Unfortunately, Sue has mobility issues and so walking is virtually non-existent, however we’ve come up with a home workout routine that’s manageable and Sue has been doing really well!

It’s worth the weight

So, I started the health programme at 111.3kg and currently (just after Week 11) my weight is 94.6kg. That means 16.7kg lost (or 2st 8.7lb in old money)!

Second Nature sets the weight reduction you need to achieve to stand you in good stead. I had two goals presented to me, which, as I was doing well, was definitely achievable. My advice is to only weigh yourself once per week as each weighing is just a “snapshot” of your progress and not the absolute truth. When you lose weight your body has to “catch-up”. Hence, there will be plateaus, or set-points, which seem to last forever. But, do not despair, your body weight will sort itself out.

Second Nature is an excellent programme to be engaged with. The support of the group coach (Marianne in my case), the rest of the group, the app to guide you and the recipes to hand on your phone, all prove really useful. The daily reading matter can open a few eyes and lay untruths to bed. Beware of the scientific explanations on Saturdays and the Science Sunday “tombs”. They are very informative and will inform you excellently if you can stick with it and try to understand what is presented to you.

Would I recommend Second Nature? Of course!

It is an excellent programme to get you out of your old ”habits” and instil new and better habits, from eating to mindfulness and exercise. Now we are at the end of the course (Week 12) we will continue to apply the lessons learned throughout the programme to our lives and continuum.

Thank you all at Second Nature for enabling us to get hold of our lives and get them on track to enjoy the rest of our lives.

You can read more Second Nature stories here.

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