GPH Real Stories - Mel and John

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September 06, 2018

pic john

Melanie started her health journey when her GP in Moruya told her she needed to make some changes or she wouldn’t be around for her children. The doctor warned Mel that she was at risk of developing diabetes or having a heart attack because of her weight. He prescribed walking for Mel and proceeded to take her for a walk around the block during her appointment. Since that time, Mel has lost 50 kilograms and says that although the motivation for getting started was ‘for her life and her children’, she now walks everywhere because she loves it.

Mel says ‘I have more confidence and energy and I notice more as I walk’. Her advice is to start slowly and build up. She warns against making the mistake of doing too much too quickly. The key to success for her was to build up gradually to walking longer distances. As well as exercising regularly, Mel has made some changes to her diet.

Prior to her health kick she was drinking up to two litres of Coca-Cola a day but now ‘prefers water instead of soft drinks’. She also says that the healthier she became the less she craved junk food. Mel attended a Food Cents program run by Grand Pacific Health and funded by the Primary Health Network, COORDINARE.

FoodCents is a two hour program and supermarket tour designed to assist people to eat a more healthy diet on a tight budget. As a mother of six children, Mel uses the knowledge from FoodCents to read labels and feels this has been helpful for when preparing her kids school lunches.

John Thirlby is a regular at Thursday’s Heart Foundation Walking Group at Mountain View Resort Shoalhaven Heads run by Grand Pacific Health Centre Nowra’s Health Promotion Officer, Claire Fisher.

According to John he was doing very little physical activity before joining the group: “If it wasn’t for the group I wouldn’t have left the house,” he said. “It gave me motivation to go out and walk,”
added John.

Claire says John has come a long way in a short amount of time: “John is now one of the most consistent walkers in the group, he even walks several times a week and is gradually increasing the distance he walks.”

“He was a bit concerned heading in to Spring about magpies, plovers and magpie larks who nest around the walking track, so now he carries a red umbrella with him to fend off any trouble and keep going.

“I am so impressed with his efforts and am happy that John is experiencing the benefits of walking regularly,” added Claire.

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