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Former physio assistant Debbie Heighton struggled with her weight after damaging both her knees but she says that the support Live Life Better Derbyshire gave has changed her life.

Debbie, aged 62, from Castle Gresley, was referred into the free weight management service in July weighing 17 stone 8 pounds and has lost an incredible 4 stone since.

She said:

“I had a double knee replacement that meant I was not able to be as active as I once was.

“However my weight was causing me health problems and I was in danger of becoming diabetic so something had to change. That’s when I was referred into the service.”

During the free 12 week programme advisors talk about a wide range of topics including portion control, types of good and bad fats, what barriers there are to weight loss and how to deal with them as well as personal motivation.

Debbie said:

“At a typical session we all get weighed, then we have general topic that we discuss and everyone throws in helpful hints.

“It’s a team of people helping each other and Laura my advisor is absolutely brilliant in breaking everything down and making us realise that it is not about setting a diet.

“It is a healthier eating plan, it’s a way of life and they show us where we have been going wrong all this time, it is very very helpful.”

In 6 months Debbie has gone down 3 dress sizes and has been able to come off 3 sets of medication.

She says that one of the things that has stuck with her the most is the information about proper portion control.

She said:

“It is just amazing - you just don’t realise what a proper portion should be. Every other diet I have been on has just been about cutting out carbohydrates,

“I lost 5 stone when I did Sliming world but that was basically living on fruit. It wasn’t logical, it really wasn’t and once I started eating properly the weight all went back on and more.

“So it’s actually about learning what you need each day, and what you don’t need, to gain your goals.”

Live Life Better Derbyshire is different from other weight management programmes as it doesn’t set diets or restrictive plans.

Instead it gives people all the information that they need in order to make long term changes to their health.

Debbie says:

“It’s down to personal choice, it’s just a healthy eating plan that is so easy to follow - it really is easy to do.

“I used to eat biscuits and chocolates when I was bored. Just literally too much - bigger portions, potatoes, chips and even though we don’t fry we were still eating far too much.

“Now I really have got used to it. I’m finding that I don’t like sweet food because my palate is changing.”

Losing weight isn’t just about the numbers on the scales though, and even though Debbie has dropped 3 dress sizes, more importantly she is feeling the benefits.

She said:

“I am so much fitter it is unbelievable! I live on a big hill and I used to have to stop about 5 times going up the hill.

“Now I can do up and down 3 or 4 times a day and I don’t stop and think about it. I can chase after my little grandson, take him swimming, it has just changed my life. It really has.”

“I also do lots of exercise now too. When I started off going to the gym I could only do 2 minutes on the rowing machine and now I can do 45 mins. I love it

“On Sundays I just used to sit at home but now I go our walking the dog and my partner Dave has got back into the gym too and he is loving it.

“I would say do it – it’s the best thing I have ever done, it really is, I love it actually.”