Patient loses weight and gains a friend with NHS support

Monday 23 December 2019

Local Early Intervention and Prevention Service

Two women have lost a combined three stone in just 12 weeks and become “life-long friends” and training buddies, thanks to a Guy’s and St Thomas’ weight management programme.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ Local Early Intervention and Prevention Service run 12-week community-based weight management courses in Lambeth and Southwark for people referred by their GP.

The weekly classes include diet and nutrition workshops and an hour-long physical activity session with the option of discounted gym membership on completion of the programme.

The service has supported around 18,000 people with obesity and other long-term conditions since it began in 2011.  

Dawn Robinson-Fennell, 55, from East Dulwich, was referred to the community team by Talking Therapies Southwark, Changes for Health group in March 2019 due to anxiety. The group supports people who are overweight and experiencing low mood, worry or stress.

Dawn said: “I was 16 stone and 5 foot 6. The weight had been creeping on for many years as I was doing night work and it was quicker to get fast food rather than cook a meal. Sitting for long periods led to leg ulcers and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I also had chronic stress after giving up work to look after mum who has dementia.  

“The classes with Bobby Ellington, the physical activity specialist at Guy’s and St Thomas’, are excellent. They give the right information so you can make healthy choices and gives a foundation to work from.

“You learn how to keep a food diary and plan ahead for the food you will eat. I eat more veg and less of the fatty stuff now. And I’ve found a very good friend in Anne Davis, who also joined the course. Now we’re training buddies and go to the gym together. If she falls off the wagon, I encourage her to get back on and vice versa.”

Anne Davis, 67, a social worker from Peckham, said: “I’d lost my husband unexpectedly in December 2017 and then mum and dad became ill. I started stagnating and eating too much and putting on the weight. I was 14 stone at my heaviest. The classes are great as you are able to talk about why you are over eating, what you can eat in moderation and lots of different exercises like ‘The Plank’.

“I’m quite excited as I’ve lost about a stone and a half since August and four inches off my waistline. I’ve gone down a dress size! My mood is so much better and I’m not so breathless. I’m more energetic, go out for walks and do more things indoors like decorating the hall. I’ve got more get up and go!”

Catherine Kironde, early intervention and prevention service manager at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “Some people who join our classes have conditions like diabetes or issues such as high cholesterol levels. The aim is to keep them well and healthy now so they become more confident in looking after themselves and avoid hospital in the future.”

Obesity is the main cause of type 2 diabetes and the second leading cause of cancers after smoking.

If you would like to join Guy’s and St Thomas’ weight management programme contact your GP to make a referral or call 020 3049 5242 or email: [email protected] for more information.

Last updated: March 2022

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