I am 22 and a single parent with a 3 year old daughter, Ava-Rae. I’ve always wanted Ava to eat healthily – she has had reflux since I started weaning her, so I cook all her meals from scratch. She can’t eat processed food, as additives and acid trigger her reflux and vomiting.
But before HENRY I didn’t really eat healthily myself, I just used to eat what I wanted. I got type 2 diabetes in pregnancy and had ‘hypos’ nearly every day throughout my pregnancy and up until Ava was 3. My grandparents and dad have diabetes – we are all overweight. I used to binge eat every evening after I put Ava to bed. I used to eat for comfort and because I was bored – I didn’t know when to stop. I needed to get out of the flat more and get help for my diabetes and weight. I particularly wanted to learn about portion sizes and what makes a good/balanced diet (I only really knew what not to eat). I wanted to become a good role model for Ava.
I joined the HENRY Healthy Families programme at my local Children’s Centre. One of the staff told me about the HENRY course when I went to a play session at the centre. She gave me a leaflet. I thought it would help me to get out of the flat and meet people, as well as helping with Ava’s health issues, and my own.
I have now gone from having hypos (shaking, sweating and feeling faint) almost daily for 3 years, to having less than 1 a week! Now, when I do have one, I know why and understand what to do – I manage them by what I eat and drink. I often used to have fizzy drinks and a whole bar of chocolate or a packet of biscuits. Now I just have a cup of tea and one biscuit. I have recently had a glucose tolerance test to check whether or not I actually still even have diabetes at all!
Since the HENRY programme I have lost weight and gone down two dress sizes. I have changed lots of things to do with diet and activity: I gave both Ava’s pushchairs away and we now walk everywhere together. I read food labels now and don’t put junk food on my shopping list. I do online shopping so that I am not tempted and Ava doesn’t pester me in the supermarket for foods she shouldn’t have. Ava and I do exercise DVDs at home together, we turn the TV off and the radio on and dance together, we walk around the local park and I take her to the playground.
I am now definitely a good role model for Ava. I try new foods that I used to say I didn’t like. My tastes have changed and now I like them! Ava will always try new foods and there are only a couple of things she doesn’t like. I put dishes on the table and Ava picks the amount she needs – that way she doesn’t have to eat the amount I guess she needs. She can stop when she isn’t hungry anymore, rather than when she is really full. I am also better myself now at stopping eating when I’ve had enough, and I am more aware of appropriate portion sizes.
The facilitators running the HENRY course were great because it’s not like school; they don’t talk down to you or try to tell you what to do. They just give you ideas and information, and help you come up with your own ideas of what will work for you. I was able to just take what I wanted and needed out of the course. I tell everyone about HENRY now!
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