Residents of North Yorkshire have shared their experiences of the benefits of an adult weight management programme ahead of Healthy Eating Week and Diabetes Week this month.

The programme runs for up to 24 weeks and aims to improve participants’ physical and mental health by helping them to eat well and get moving.

John, who lives in Clapham, joined the programme after his weight led to high blood pressure and a stroke scare.

“I’d got to that point where I thought I need to do something,” he said. “I think your head has to be in a certain place to do it, and when you head’s in that space you can do it.

“During the first six months I lost about 32kg. I’ve got more confidence, I’ve lost some of the anxiety and gained a bit of freedom.”

Charlotte, from Skipton, put on weight after having her third child.

“My three kids are very active and I didn’t have the energy to keep up with them. A friend suggested the programme. I went into it with no hope at all. I just thought it can’t hurt, it’s free, let’s give it a go. The support offered was just unbelievable.

“Some weight loss programmes kind of punish you for having a life. This programme helps you to have a life but reach your goals at the same time.”

Before joining the programme, Katy, also from Skipton, lacked the confidence to go out, could not walk far, was taking medication and had no energy.

“I was really, really hesitant about joining the programme, because I didn’t want to admit that it was a problem and that something needed doing,” she said. “I was ashamed of it and ashamed of myself.

“To anyone who is thinking of starting it, it is not just about counting calories and getting weighed and trying to follow recipes at home. It is a much more holistic approach to weight loss and a healthier lifestyle.

“Now I have got back into full-time work, the first time since 2008. I’ve got bags more energy, I’m sleeping better, I’m enjoying going out and about and buying clothes.”

Stephen, from Helmsley, joined the programme to bring his BMI below 30 to enable him to have surgery for a hernia problem. After six weeks, he has lost 13kg, reducing his BMI from 37 to 33.

The programme also helps Stephen to manage his diabetes.

“Towards the end of the year I got diabetes,” he said, “but I am managing that now, it is levelling out thanks to the course.

“For six or seven months I never really went out because of Covid. The course is getting me out of the house to walk, which is good, because while I was shut away and got very anxious.”

The adult weight management service is for people over 18 who live, work or are registered with a GP in North Yorkshire. Find our more about Healthy weight and eating well.