How support from her social prescriber helped Joy lose eight stone and embark on her journey to a healthier future…
A Rushcliffe woman has found a new lease of life after receiving support from her social prescriber and joining a local weight loss group, with spectacular results. Over the last 18 months, Joy has lost an amazing eight stone, becoming a lot more active and improving her health in the process. .
Social prescribing is a non-medical holistic approach to healthcare and enables people to take more control of their health and wellbeing. Social prescribers (working from GP Practices) meet patients to understand more about their needs and what they want to change.
Joy first started working with her social prescriber, Leanne Hennessey, in late 2020. At the time, Joy had a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 52 and used a mobility scooter to get around when she left the house.
Joy, who has learning difficulties, had been referred to a number of local services, so Leanne worked with her to look at her barriers to weight loss. Leanne also looked around at what other support was available in the locality and found that Slimming World provided extra support for people with learning difficulties, so she contacted group leader Vanessa Chatwin and arranged for her and Joy to visit.
Joy says: “I joined Slimming World in lockdown because I wanted to lose weight for health reasons. Leanne, my social prescriber, helped me and recommended Slimming World.
“My biggest weight was 25 stone, 3 pounds. Before I joined, I couldn’t walk and had to stop every few steps for my inhaler. I also had high cholesterol and high blood pressure and was on the border of Type 2 diabetes. I didn’t know anyone but everyone made me feel so welcome. When I had my first weigh in, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe I had lost weight and that made me more determined to lose the weight.”
Leanne said: “When I first met Joy, it was on the phone and in lockdown. She was very overweight, using a mobility scooter to get around, pre-diabetic and her mood was really depressed.
“We talked about what resources were available in the area. I did some research and found out that Slimming World helped people with learning difficulties, so I connected her to a representative and that’s how it all started.
She adds: “We’re in regular contact and she keeps me up to date with how she’s doing and I’m so proud of her. Non-scale victories are even bigger for me than her weight loss, like her mobility. She was on a scooter, but now she’s walking and cycling, that has given her so much more independence. She cycled 17 miles! That’s amazing and she’s so much better and brighter in herself.”
Joy has now lost eight stone and her Slimming World leader, Vanessa, said: “The difference is amazing, from being sad and upset to happy and motivated with her weight loss journey. She’s inspiring, she’s a different person.”
At her Slimming World class in April, Joy stood in front of the group and told them her story – an incredible achievement and an incredible story of how, through determination and self-belief, you can change your future.
Joy concludes: “I can’t believe how much weight I’ve lost. I have never given up, even when I’ve gained. I love
coming to the group and I’ve made lots of friends. I didn’t believe I could do this as I struggle to read and write, but so far I have lost 7 stone, 7.5lbs. I will keep going as I want to reach my target.”
Social prescribing could also help you have more control over your health and wellbeing by exploring ways to improve how you feel in a way that suits you.
The service is by referral only and starts with a simple conversation with a doctor or another member of the GP Practice team. If they think you will benefit, they may refer you to a social prescribing link worker.