Andrew’s fitness journey

Posted 23/09/2022

Andrew, the Service Quality Director for Thera North, and Head of Development for Thera Trust tells us his journey to becoming fit

In 2017 I was told that I was overweight by the doctor and risked having diabetes in the future. At the time, I was feeling really stressed, because my dad had been diagnosed with dementia and spent most of the time in nursing homes. So, I took on board what he said, and I just started walking.

I soon decided to start running. This was always in the evenings when it was dark, so nobody could see me run, as I was a little embarrassed about what people might think of me. I thought people may see me and think ‘Look at him, look at how he’s running. He’s running a bit silly there’.

At the weekends I went to see my dad in a nursing home, which would often change due to his condition. With all the travelling I had to do, I thought I might as well start walking instead of catching the bus. Soon, I was walking the whole long journey. I then began using the second half of the journey to run back. I got more confident, and the more I ran, the more I started to lose weight. I then became confident enough in running that I became part of the park run on Saturdays, where we used the local park to run with the Union students. I also used my bike at home, giving myself some time each day to hop on it and do some miles.

Alongside walking and running, I also changed my diet and started eating more fruit. I started losing weight, and I was able to maintain it, so I didn’t lose too much. I would also occasionally spoil myself with a treat, such as fish and chips or a chocolate bar, knowing I could burn it off later.

I carried on doing that until April this year, until I unfortunately injured my knee. This meant I lost most mobility for at least a month. One day, I spoke to the vicar at my local church, who had a similar injury. He told me I should try going back onto the bike again and see how I get along. I took his advice and started cycling again. I realised it encouraged my recovery, by helping me with balancing, as I wasn’t putting any pressure on my knee.

Every morning and evening, I would ride on the bike at home for 20 minutes and do around 9 miles. I’ve got the Peloton app which I use with my exercise bike, it’s great. You can choose 80’s hit music to follow as well as joining classes ran by Peloton instructors for just a small fee per month. I became obsessed with this regime as it felt brilliant. I started noticing weight was coming off me again, so I took the dive and started going on slow walks outside to get my confidence back.

My wife and I also get a bus into town and spend time walking around the shops, as it helps with my rehabilitation, and I get special time with her. I’ve almost lost a stone again so I’m feeling positive about my weight loss journey. The positive influence of this journey has improved my mental health, to the extent where I feel open to talk about things.

My knee issues will always be there as a reminder of what happened. I’m most likely always going to have issues, especially now age is now catching up with me. I wake up sometimes and it’s painful, but I know that keeping this diet and healthy habits will really improve my general wellbeing. I’m now much more confident, especially in walking. I think I’ve retired from the running. Let other people do the running! Someone said to me once that you can lose as much weight walking as you can running. On one Sunday, my Apple watch recorded 10,000 steps, as I spent most of the day being out. Having this watch is so helpful to keep track, I love gadgets!

At the hospital after my injury, the doctor said if I had not been as fit as I was, I could have broken the bone, or worse, needed a knee replacement. Thera has also organised support for mw through the employee assistance programme, which is going great. I’m getting there and getting back to normal; it is always about building your confidence, and I’m about 99% there.

If you’re interested in finding out more about fitness you can view our staff resources here  you can also find more resources by clicking here