“Kevin came to the first week with a very negative attitude – after an hour he said: ‘Have we finished? I want my fry up.’ – but after six weeks he is still coming and doing well. He has lost over a stone.”
Kevin, 70, had a difficult start in life in relation to his diet, but thanks to the programme is learning to change his eating habits.
His father died at 35 years old and his mother was left to bring up six children with very little money and no welfare support. He says they had to steal food to live, so the foundations of his diet were very bad. They barely had enough to eat. His mother would give him Guinness to build him up, which did not work. His mother also died, aged 42, so the children brought themselves up.
At 26 Kevin married and had twin girls. At 32 his wife died and he was left to bring up two children and work, as there was no support available. He says he cooked meals that were quick to prepare and would cook in one pot – mainly fried food - with very little fruit and vegetables. Still today he rarely eats fruit and vegetables, but likes red meat and potatoes.
He is a smoker with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD). He had a physically demanding job as a plasterer and remains very active now that he is retired - doing other people’s gardens, the odd plastering job and spending a lot of time with his grandchildren.
Kevin joined an NHSDPP group run by LWTC facilitator Maureen at St Anne’s Millennium Centre. “He came to the first week with a very negative attitude,” she says. “After an hour he said: ‘Have we finished? I want my fry up.’, so I thought: ‘Oh dear, I will not see this gentleman again’, but I was wrong. We are on week six and he is still coming.”
Over the weeks Kevin has been losing weight and changing his eating habits - eating cornflakes and yoghurt or toast for breakfast and having sandwiches with a side salad. He has lost just over a stone (7kg).
In spite of his negative attitude, Kevin is taking control of his health and doing well. “I think he does care about his health,” says Maureen, “even if he doesn’t want to admit it. I hope he enjoys the way the information is presented in the group sessions and the social nature of the group, but he is a hard person to read. I am pleased that he has kept coming and feel sure that he will be able to get his blood sugar levels back into the normal range.”