Change of lifestyle the key
Five months ago Shirleen Ngawhare managed to walk for five minutesHELEN HARVEY
When Shirleen Ngawhare first started exercising five months ago she managed to walk for five minutes.
Last week she danced her way through a 90-minute Zumba class.
She began trying to lose weight and improve her health with a couple of friends.
Then a nurse at the Ngati Ruanui Medical Centre in Hawera wrote her a referral for a green prescription and she began a Weight Loss For Life Programme.
The green prescription is a written recommendation from a doctor or clinical nurse for a patient to increase their physical activity to help improve their health.
By the time Miss Ngawhare, 41, started the 10-week programme, she had begun to develop some good habits, she said.
"The programme cemented those habits and taught me awesome recipes. The key was, it wasn't a diet. We were just learning good habits."
Since May she has lost 13.8kg. During the 10 weeks, she lost 5kg, she said.
After her mother died she had gone through times of not eating and eating too much, she said.
Her friends were really supportive and talked her into going back to the class.
"One of the cool things about going to the programme was meeting people like me. We had these team-bonding type sessions every week and it was really cool. By week 10, to see everybody - where they were and where they ended up - the support within the room was great."
Sport Taranaki green prescription adviser Gaylene Phillips said the green prescription is funded by the Ministry of Health through the Taranaki DHB.
It is aimed at getting people exercising for the recommended 30 minutes a day. There are a number of reasons patients get referred by their doctor, including arthritis, depression, weight loss and diabetes.
There are 50 new diagnoses of diabetes a day in New Zealand, she said. "It is reaching epidemic proportions."
Under the green prescription people can get involved with the weight loss clinic, a fit for life exercise programme, seated exercises or tai chi. People are also given information on what activities are available in their community.
New Weight Loss for Life programmes start in Hawera on October 16 and in New Plymouth on November 4.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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