The turning point for Mark Creighton came on a weekend away.
He was facing a long walk, with a hill to climb. At the age of 29, he weighed 20 stone and not surprisingly he was struggling. He realised he had to change his lifestyle - fast.
But to do that, he needed help. And he got it from Denise Pinnelli, a personal health trainer who works for Mytime Active at the New Queen Street Surgery in Whittlesey.
They first met back in May. She encouraged him to think of ways they could monitor his diet, which by his own admission was terrible. He suggested keeping diaries of his food – and that proved the first small step to him taking control over his own health.
The results have been spectacular. Since that initial meeting with Denise seven months ago, Mark has shed 5 stone 4lb, losing 13 inches from his waist and 7 from his hips.
“I can’t believe what my food diaries were like - not a piece of fruit or a vegetable in sight,” he says. “I was drinking about 12 litres of Coke a week and eating two or three packets of crisps a day, along with all the other unhealthy food. Now I really enjoy eating healthily and know I never want to go back to my old way of life.”
Mark’s achievement is not solely based on an improved diet. He visits his local gym three times a week and has started playing football again – something he hasn’t done for 15 years and has really missed. “I am so motivated,” he says.
Denise is delighted by his success. “I encourage and motivate all my clients to eat a healthier diet and combine this with regular exercise,” she says. “Some of them use the very well equipped gym at Fenland District Council’s Manor Leisure Centre regularly and a few have been taken on to the exercise referral scheme the council runs there.”
Mark is full of praise for Denise. “She has been a true inspiration and has given me the support and guidance I needed,” he says. ”It’s been an amazing journey”.
n Mytime Active has personal health trainers in all the surgeries in March and Wisbech, as well as New Queen Street in Whittlesey. For more information, call Fiona Poignand on 077755 32285 or visit www.personalhealthtrainer.org.uk