A GROUP of Grays’ residents have praised the support and advice they have received on their weight management programme during the Covid-19 pandemic, after successfully losing over eight-stone between them during the lockdown.
MoreLife, which delivers free and accessible 12-month weight management groups to over 360 people across Thurrock, Basildon, Brentwood, Southend, Castlepoint and Rochford, has replaced monthly face-to-face group sessions with regular zoom calls to ensure service users can continue their weight management journey.
Traditionally, patients would take part in weekly face-to-face group sessions, delivered by MoreLife’s expert team of nutritionists, psychologists and sport and exercise specialists – but now most of the service takes place online.
Emily Costelloe, Contract Manager of MoreLife in South and West Essex, said; “We had a responsibility not only to ensure that all our new and existing service users were abiding to the lockdown rules and keeping safe, but also to make sure they were continuing to look after their health and keep their weight loss programme on track.
“By adapting our services, we have been able to continue the sessions with minimal disruption and in some cases improve our engagement and patient outcomes.
“We are very proud of all these patients who have continued to inspire us through their dedication to losing weight and to living happier and healthier lives despite the many challenges they have faced in their lives during the Covid-19 lockdown.
“With the government announcing a new strategy and campaign to tackle obesity, we hope this will inspire more residents to join our life-changing programmes.”
During the pandemic MoreLife encouraged the use of WhatsApp groups for peer-to-peer engagement and created a suite of online resources for those concerned about the impact of Covid-19.
Resources included a series of podcasts and videos around mindfulness, motivation and eating healthily, whilst information sheets were created around managing emotions and looking after wellbeing while self-isolating.
Jacqui Brenchley, aged 54 from Thurrock, was four weeks into her weight management programme before the lockdown began and the service changes were introduced.
She said, “I was apprehensive as we entered the lockdown period as I knew it would be challenging to keep up my healthy eating routine and I feared that I would lose touch with the group.
“The reality could not have been any different, it has been fantastic to see everyone on the zoom calls as this has made everyone feel that they are still part of a team. We have also formed a WhatsApp group for extra support, so we can talk to each other whenever we need advice or just a chat.”
“I can’t thank the MoreLife team enough for the support they have provided and continue to give me.”
The free MoreLife programmes, which are commissioned by local clinical commissioning groups, are available for adults living in South and West Essex who have a BMI of 40+ alone or BMI 35+ with any weight related health condition.