Time to shape up?

Posted on in Health improvement

Want to get into shape but don’t know where to start? Tried every diet going but nothing seems to work? Then why not take advantage of the free services provided by the trust’s health trainers?

Health improvement team Health trainers offer a range of weight management services including one to one support, group sessions and community drop-in clinics.

People often wrongly assume that because it’s a service provided by the NHS that they have to be referred. But anyone over 16, with a BMI over 25 living in the Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland area or working for the trust can drop in to any of the sessions for advice and support from qualified weight management specialists.

“Even people who have been dieting for years are always surprised by how much they learn,” said health trainer Andy Anderson.

“They have thought about eating less fat but have not considered portion sizes or how much sugar is in certain foods, or where extra calories are hiding.

“One of the first questions people ask is what can I eat? They think they have to cut everything out of their diet but that’s where a lot of people go wrong because that can leave you with a poorly balanced diet. Plus if you don’t enjoy your food how long will it be before you fall off the wagon?”

The trust’s team of five qualified staff can support as many as 100 clients a week.

Part of the health trainer’s role is to assess whether people are ready to change their lifestyle and to help them set realistic goals. They also look at why people eat what they do and identify coping strategies for dealing with problems such as stress, depression and boredom.

Health trainers

“There’s no magic to it. It’s about taking little steps and making small changes,” said health trainer Jenny Yafano.

The team show clients how to identify different food groups and how many portions of each they should be aiming for.

“People often say fresh fruit and vegetables are too expensive but it does not matter how it comes to the plate – fresh, frozen or tinned – as long as it’s in its own juices or water,” said health trainer Jo Ward.

Health trainer Carolyn Hill said: “The best part of the job is seeing the results and how happy people are. You see people start to dress differently and their confidence improve.”

Information obtained by the service is confidential and sessions are flexible to fit around working hours.

Find your nearest drop in session at southtees.nhs.uk/health – the team are at James Cook every Tuesday – or call 01287 284479.

To attend the free NHS weight management sessions you must:

  •  Be aged over 16
  • Have a BMI (body mass index) over 25
  • Be living in the Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland area

To work out your BMI:

  • Divide your weight in kilograms (kg) by your height in metres (m)
  • Then divide the answer by your height again to get your BMI
  •  Ideally your BMI score should be between 18.5 and 25

Top tips:

  • Reduce your saturated fat intake by using lean cuts of meat, trimming off excess fat before cooking and grilling instead frying.
  • Reduce your sugar intake by keeping a bowl of washed fresh fruit handy for snacks and choosing sugar-free fizzy drinks
  • It takes about 20 minutes for the stomach to tell the brain it’s full so eat slowly and try to stop before you feel full.