After years serving in the Royal Air Force and attending traditional slimming clubs, John discovered a new approach to a healthier lifestyle with Second Nature. Sceptical at first, John quickly discovered that there was more to the programme than weight loss, and his healthier habits are now well and truly Second Nature!
A bit about you
Hi! My aim in life is to stay as young as possible for as long as possible. I firmly believe that it is not the age of your life but the stage of your life, therefore if you feel fifty then that’s your stage. Although I’m in my mid-seventies, I still undertake new challenges, try different activities, and make every minute of every day count. I married for the second time last year (2019) and have moved home twice in the past 13 months.
There have been many differences that I have noticed since starting the programme. I have tried several methods and organisations: calorie counting; itemised “traffic light” system; Weight Watchers and Slimming World to reach or maintain my chosen ideal weight of 10 stones 8 pounds. I have managed to achieve it more than once. My annual aim is to be able to fit into my Royal Air Force uniform so that I can attend the Remembrance Day services every year. The photograph below was taken on 31 March 2020.
An all-round focus on health
The biggest difference in the approach to my aim with Second Nature is that the path is so much more enjoyable. It is not solely focussed on food but includes many other contributable aspects that have helped me to change my lifestyle into a much healthier one. However, please bear in mind I considered myself to be leading a healthy lifestyle before I started with the programme. It soon became apparent that there was so much more to losing weight and protecting yourself from health problems such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. However, it would be remiss of me not to highlight the biggest difference i.e. the recipes that Second Nature provide when compared with other professional organisations. The foods contained within the recipe handbook are nutritious, filling and well balanced, and this is the prime reason that I have noticed such a change in me. I no longer feel hungry between meals or long for the time of my next meal. Hitherto I had never eaten so many herbs, spices, and a wide variety of beans – or even spinach – but all have opened my eyes and my taste buds.
By nature, I am a passive person who rarely has depressive moods but, I do not have boundless energy, but enough to enable me to enjoy all day, every day, though I may have a power nap in mid-afternoon. Having spent thirty years in the armed forces I have enjoyed a life of almost total fitness by playing a whole variety of sports at a competitive level: squash; badminton; football; long(ish) distance running; swimming and orienteering. After re-joining civilian life, I have undertaken the Great North Run on 7 occasions, only stopping due to cost of entry and the difficulty to gain sponsorship money for a charity entry. To maintain my current fitness, I lead two sessions per week of exercise to music for older people in my village, both of which are very well attended. I also walk, on average, 10 miles per day, the reason for this is the demand of Oscar my dog.
All the articles provided by Second Nature have been interesting and informative and, despite my age and life experience, I found lots of new facts and figures that have enlightened me. I have greatly appreciated the number of credible research results and analysis that have accompanied the topics covered in the lengthy and detailed articles. I feel that I have been given a whole new way to live my life because I’m much more aware of the need to have a healthy diet that has a significant reduction in the consumption of refined-carbohydrates; a set period of daily exercise; a positive mindset and a regular sleep pattern. These articles do not simply tell me to eat well, go to the gym, take a long run, think positively, and to go to bed at the same time. All these articles give you very sound and well-researched reasons why I should heed them.
The impact of regular support from a health coach
When compared to other organisations for e.g. Slimming World and Weight Watchers there is a significant difference in the assistance available with Second Nature. This difference is due to having a health coach rather than a mentor who is solely monitoring your food diary. The Second Nature health coach can and will support you in all aspects to attain a healthy lifestyle. I have found Grace to be very knowledgeable, extremely supportive and encouraging, furthermore, she is prepared to go the extra mile by providing up to date guidance via social media platforms.
To highlight an area that I like most within the Second Nature programme would, in my view, diminish some aspects that may be equally as important, so I feel the whole structure must be praised wholeheartedly. From day 1 I engaged with the process and have moved along with it, doing as much or as little as I felt appropriate. The result is that I have commenced new habits: reducing the number of refined-carbohydrates I consume daily; cutting out caffeine after lunch; reducing my alcohol intake; increasing the amount of daily exercise, and getting into a regular sleep pattern. All these new habits have resulted in me following a healthier diet, having loads more energy, reducing my risk of getting type 2 diabetes, and losing weight.
Any advice for your peers?
At the start of the programme, I felt quite daunted when I discovered that I was to drastically change my diet. Also, having read the introductory literature, I thought I wasn’t prepared to go into yet another diet control regime so I could lose weight. However, when I read further and realised that there was much more to Second Nature than simply focussing on weight loss I decided to sign up. I know it’s a cliché, but I’m truly glad that I did.
Throughout the programme, I have looked forward to chatting with other members of the group to discuss our enjoyment of recipes, exercise routines, and to share our experiences. After 10 weeks I received a summary of my activity and was amazed to learn that I had walked 1,455,011 steps! I thoroughly recommend the Second Nature programme and when you start, stay with it as the rewards far outweigh the cost.
You can read more Second Nature stories here.
John’s also written a poem based on his Second Nature experience
Second Nature what is it for? Is it something about which we should wish to know more?
Is it purely to help you lose your excess weight? Or to make you look slimmer or make you feel great?
Many might say that it is just not for me, but, read on a while and you surely will see,
That it’s more than simply a new dietary regime, but it leads to a new lifestyle which is more than a dream.
So, what are the topics, do they come in a heap? Nutrition, Exercise, Mindset and Sleep,
These are all covered well, backed by research in clear text, and you get quite excited to know what comes next.
So onto the programme and start of week one, there’s so much to change and work to be done,
To reset your lifestyle and create habits new, it’s such a great challenge and such fun to do.
The second item in the handbook brings a host of new tastes, nutritious food that you surely won’t waste,
Beef, pork, lamb and also some fish, are sure to provide you with that perfect dish,
The only things missing are potatoes or bread, but there are spices and herbs included instead.
Then exercise is mentioned – that follows week two, but don’t fret at all as there’s not much to do,
Get off the bus early or climb up the stair, that’s not too much to ask if for your body you care.
Week four is concerned with your mindset on life, how to change it if it is full of strife,
Mindful and emotional eating are just topics two, but change how you think? that is so up to you.
Sleep is the fourth subject, how can we get more? there’s so much advice the result will be sure,
If you alter your drinking of caffeine and wine and reduce your blue light exposure then all will be fine.
There are also good tips on how to prepare food, that you can watch whenever you’re in the mood,
And your mentor is there at the end of a chat, so can you think of anything better than that?
So why do you hesitate? Why do you delay, why not check the website to read what others say?
To weigh less and look good is that your true quest, I’m sure that your life will be changed for the best.