I have always had a destructive relationship with food , numerous diets, yo-yo dieting etc this started in my teenage years and was, I think, mainly down to low esteem.
At the age of 55 i yet again joined a slimming club weighing in at 18 st 1½lbs in size 24 clothes. My initial reason for going was to help a family member and to be able to play with my grandchildren. As usual my weight loss was a bit of a roller coaster ride but after gradually chipping away at the pounds, I had lost 6 stone and was at least for the time being, keeping it off.
On a night out an old friend from school congratulated me on my weight loss but asked if I was exercising. I wasn’t, I hated gyms.
That’s when she mentioned The Lifestyle Medicine Centre, which, she said, concentrated on the clinical benefits of exercise, good food and lifestyle change. She convinced me to give it a try as Rob Bird (Clinical Exercise Consultant) was approachable, understanding, and supportive. Well, didn’t believe a word of it but although very sceptical booked my consultation.
She was right he was interested from the start. We talked about exercise and other elements of my lifestyle which, he said, would help me maintain my weight loss and improve my health overall. So, at 57 started to exercise!!!! At first, I struggled dragging my feet to walk could only go to speed level 3 on treadmill, was out of breath after a couple of minutes and no way could lift weights. Rob created an initial workout to follow and asked would I be happy for him to contact me outside of the assigned gym sessions to offer encouragement and advice. Yes of course, I said. That initial support was an important part of my early success and has continued right up to this day (there are times when I really need it).
So, after numerous programme changes and many conversations about me, my self-confidence and my achievements I find I have lost more weight which now stands at 8 stone and at 62 years old I am now in a size 10.
After 7 years I still have my ups and downs (the lockdowns have been particularly challenging) but Rob`s continued support never allows me to spiral completely out of control. I can honestly say I have learnt so much about myself and how my body works. This experience has made a massive change to both my physical and mental well-being and I still can’t quite believe how much I have achieved.
Karen H Sept 2021
A conversation with my diabetic nurse in May 2019 indicated that if my condition continued to deteriorate then I would end up on insulin. Not wanting that outcome, I decided to take control of the situation and soon after I found The Lifestyle Medicine Centre. I must admit I was extremely nervous to start with as I have a long-term spinal condition that can be painful, but Rob assured me that my tailor-made programme would take all of that into account. We took great care and started slowly gradually building my confidence. Over the weeks and months, we had many conversations about my lifestyle and how it would have contributed to my diabetes, of particular benefit was the information on how the food I was eating was causing real damage to my health. This has helped me understand how small changes over time can make a real difference long term. Now 20 months later (despite the pandemic) I am exercising 4 times per week and I have lost over 2 stones in weight, my back pain has virtually gone, and I feel so much better. Like many people, i found the pandemic difficult, it bought many of my old lifestyle issues back to the surface, on some days, my mood was low, and I felt demotivated, this started to derail my eating and activity plan. I decided to keep having online sessions with Rob, these always included some exercise but also on many occasions’ conversations about my mood and the decisions I was making. The fact that he understood my situation and kept motivating me really made a difference. I realised that despite the lockdown I still had diabetes and the decisions I made during this time could have either a negative or positive impact on my condition. So, with Rob beside me I managed to increase my exercise programme, maintain a healthy eating plan and have continued to lose weight .Although, like many others, I have not had my usual diabetic check-up recently (my first one after 4 months of lifestyle intervention revealed a significant drop in my Blood Pressure, Cholesterol and Blood sugar levels) I look and feel so much better and I look forward to finding out how I have done at my next appointment. Robs belief in me has been priceless and I now realise that this has to be how I live my life if I want to stay well.
ST April 2021
In 2001, aged 48, I was medically discharged from the Fire service with arthritic knees. I was overweight a heavy drinker and had a poor diet. Soon after I was introduced to Rob Bird .After an initial consultation and a discussion about my specific issues I started exercising twice weekly .The initial sessions were varied and although challenging, at no point did i experience any problems with my knees (which I was obviously concerned about). I was still enjoying life but after many conversations with Rob about the benefits of regular exercise and how important small changes to my lifestyle were, I gradually started to feel much better. As my programme progressed, I began to feel stronger and my original knee issues were practically non-existent. To complement my regular strength sessions, I was introduced to running short distances and cycling. I continued to make progress and eventually I entered various charity bike rides and running events. I completed all of these without any problems, I couldn’t believe how much I could actually do. Over the years i have learnt so much about exercise and nutrition and now at age 68 (20 years later) I continue to exercise with Rob twice a week ( even through a pandemic and various lockdowns) and I can honestly say I feel fitter now than I have ever been. Not only has my journey been an interesting one but I am truly grateful for everything I have learned and the support I have received.
I originally approached Rob at the Lifestyle Medicine Centre because I was suffering from stress. Rob explained to me the long-term damaging effects of cortisol and adrenaline on the body, and the potential benefits of regular exercise. My early personal training sessions were full of cardio – running, skipping, jumping, punching – and I would leave the centre as high as a kite. The benefits in terms of well-being lasted for days afterwards. Over time, my stress levels became more manageable, and Rob gradually changed my sessions to include more of a strength element. Years of stress had caused me to lose weight and my muscle mass was low. Nowadays, I am fitter and stronger than I have ever been! On a personal level, Rob is friendly and funny, and a great listener. The environment at the Lifestyle Medicine Centre is always supportive and non-threatening. The age range is broad, and everyone’s programme is individually tailored. I would recommend it without hesitation, to anyone wishing to take positive steps towards improved mental or physical health.
AB, Ware 2019
My GP gave me an introduction to the Lifestyle Medicine Centre (LMC) as he believed exercise and diet are a better solution than resorting to medicines to manage my blood glucose level.
I contacted the LMC for a consultation and was impressed with their breadth of knowledge of how to improve my health and keep well. The clinical exercise consultant discussed the importance of a proper eating plan and regular physical activity in reducing and managing blood glucose and blood pressure.
Following our discussion, a physical activity programme was then developed and this has evolved over the years.
When my GP reviewed my next quarterly blood tests results with me, I was surprised to see meaningful reductions in my blood glucose and blood pressure. The following quarterly test results indicated a further fall in the blood glucose level and i discovered they had dropped to pre-diabetes levels.
With the support and guidance from the consultants; the glucose level has remained at this level for more than 5 years and has helped me achieve my health goals.
I would not hesitate to recommend this facility to anyone wishing to improve their health and well-being.
Brian L Ware 2021
A visit to see my GP for an asthma review in 2014 was the day that changed my life forever. He was concerned about the amount/strength of the inhalers I was on and thought exercise might help boost my lung capacity. He had already sent my husband to see Rob at The Lifestyle medicine centre (LMC) and so off I went to see him.
Rob worked out a programme for me and my asthma started to improve, my prescribed inhalers were also starting to be used less often. I was, however, noticing that I was having trouble with my Joints after exercise. The pain I was in after just a light workout seemed very strange to Rob and he became concerned and referred me to the centre’s physiotherapist. The physio examined me and suggested that the joint pain may be related to my skin allergies. She Mentioned Ehlers Danlos Syndrome as a possible cause and recommended I explore the condition further.
I also started fainting for no apparent reason. This would happen during some of my sessions with Rob as well as on my own in the centre and outside of the gym. Rob suggested that I should consult with a cardiologist to rule out any cardiac issues. This i did and after numerous tests it was decided that my heart was OK. The cardiologist then suggested I should see another specialist to get to the bottom of the fainting episodes suggesting that the problem may be autonomic. I was referred to Professor Christopher Mathias who diagnosed me with EDS type 3 and 4 (Postural Tachycardia syndrome and hyper mobile joints), this diagnosis also explained my allergies and skin problems. Although the diagnosis was not the best news I had ever had I was delighted that for the first time in 48 years someone actually understood my condition. The thought of living with this condition was scary at first and sent me into depression with my anxiety levels going off the scale. Once again Rob stepped up and introduced me to Natasha Crowe the psychotherapist that works closely with LMC, she was immediately extremely helpful and continues to help me with my mental health to this day.
The journey I have been on since 2014, which, although precarious at times, would have had a very different outcome if I’d have not met Rob. He has been there at every stage and has guided me in the right direction with a combination of advice, support and encouragement. He has kept me exercising and adapted our routines to accommodate any flare ups in my condition. I know there is no cure for EDS but with Robs help I now understand why exercise ,diet and good mental health are so important to keep me functioning day to day.
I would not hesitate to recommend anyone to the Lifestyle medicine centre as without it I would be living a very different life.
Thank you Rob
Claire … June 2021