Participant Success

Say hello to Mala, a Life! program participant

I feel more confident cooking healthy meals and feel so much better eating lighter meals. When I get the chance to exercise, I sleep better at night and overall I have more energy.

Busy mother of two Mala Plymin had gestational diabetes during her first pregnancy. Knowing that she had a 50 per cent chance of developing type 2 diabetes, along with the fact that diabetes runs in her family, prompted Mala to join the Life! program with facilitator Ryan Mifsud.  

“I really liked that the program was about making small changes to achieve long term goals, and not just a quick fix. Having Ryan as a Life! facilitator was great too – he motivated us to keep coming back.”  

Mala had several personal goals she wanted to achieve. She felt she had been unfit for a few years and needed motivation to get active again. Improving her eating habits was another goal, as was weight loss and Mala hoped to be able to wear her wedding ring again. 

Mala attended five group sessions that covered topics such as healthy eating and weight control, physical activity, stress management, sleep patterns, goal setting and managing lapses. She found the information useful and the group environment an excellent support.   

Over the course of the program, Mala has lost weight and improved her health with some simple and manageable changes. She started by drinking more water and eating more vegetables. “Our family meals are mostly vegetarian these days and I don’t miss meat.”   

She’s also cut back on drinking wine, “I save it for Friday or Saturday and just have a glass or two then.”   

As a busy accounts assistant with a sporting organisation, Mala finds it hard to get to the gym but hopes to next year when she has more time. In the meantime, she’s increased the amount she walks and now walks her kids to school.    

She’s also taken her learnings from the Life! program and applied them to a recent family holiday. Staying in an apartment meant that they could prepare some healthy home-cooked meals and they walked as often as possible.  

Mala recommends the program to anyone who is looking to make some changes to their health.  

 “I feel more confident cooking healthy meals and feel so much better eating lighter meals. When I get the chance to exercise, I sleep better at night and overall I have more energy.”   

Her family and children are her constant motivation. “I want to be able to keep up with them and to show my children what a healthy lifestyle looks like.”  

The best thing is that Mala is feeling better about herself. “I’m slowly getting my confidence back and people are starting to notice the old Mala again.”  

And Mala is so close to wearing her wedding ring again. Well done Mala!

Say hello to Hitendra, a Life! program participant

The Life! program showed me how to develop and maintain healthy eating habits, how to fit exercise into a busy life and find ways to stay motivated.

Say hello to Soheil, a Life! program participant

The Life! program has completely changed what is in my shopping basket.

When Soheil turned 46 he received a text message that he was eligible for a free medical check-up. The trip to the GP that followed showed that his blood pressure was borderline high and he also had high cholesterol. When he told his GP that his mum lived with type 2 diabetes it didn’t take her long to confirm that Soheil was eligible for the Life! program.   

Already doing regular exercise it was Soheil’s diet that was his biggest problem but doing the Life! program completely changed this.   

“The Life! program has really opened my eyes to the type of food I’m eating and how I look at labels in the supermarket. It has completely changed how I do my shopping.”  

By the end of the program Soheil lost 14kg and his blood readings were perfect. It hasn’t all been about his physical health though, Life! has given him a great mental boost as well.   

“As part of my academic work I have to apply for a lot of grants and deal with many knock backs and disappointments. The Life! program has given me the opportunity to really take charge of my health and achieve in other areas of life. This year I completed two half marathons and a triathlon.”  

It doesn’t stop here as Soheil is now determined to be a positive role model for his family and friends.   

“In my kids’ school there is a lot of emphasis on healthy food and eating habits. What they learn at school and what they see at home is no longer different because of the Life! program. Our whole family is so much happier and healthier now.”

Say hello to Pili, a Life! program participant

The Life! program taught me how to take care of ME! I have dropped 4 dress sizes. My skin is great and I feel amazing with lots of energy! I can now walk, run, jump, skip and lift heavy weights.

Pili Sanz is a 42-year-old mother with two young children and a small business to run – busy is one way to describe her Life!  However, building a successful jewellery business and focussing on her children and family meant that Pili’s own health took second place.  

“I had always enjoyed exercising and was fit, active and slim. But while pregnant with my second son, I had no energy to move and the weight piled on. When I saw a few photos of myself and how I had neglected my health I decided I really needed a change.”  

Pili’s kids and husband were her main inspiration to get healthy. “I wanted to be able to go for bike rides and walks again without being the last one or always out of breath. I wanted them to see their mum eating healthy food and to inspire them to do so too.” 

Pili saw a friend’s Facebook post about some fitness classes she was attending, and this lead her to Brendan and Aaron from AB Corporate Fitness. In addition to a training plan, AB Corporate Fitness suggested that Pili join the Life! program. Pili found the program provided the motivation and support she needed to get her life back on track.   

“The Life! program was great! I already had some healthy eating knowledge, but I had forgotten or lost my way. This program reinforced everything, plus had the benefit of the physical activity component. It helped me find that balance I needed and, it improved my health.”  

“Nowadays, I am more active and exercise every day. If I can’t go to the gym, I will go for a long walk, jog or do things around the house. I don’t sit for long periods of time.”  

Pili was born in Spain and raised in Australia. “My upbringing was very Spanish. This meant lots of food! My mum was a great cook and while she did cook healthy food, the portions were always HUGE!! We had to eat everything on our plate. Her favourite word was EAT!!”  

“I am now mindful of what I am feeding my body: I cook with less oil and salt, I don’t have sugar and if I do, very little. I eat more vegetables, and as many different coloured vegetables as I can.”  

Pili’s hard work has paid off and she has lost 15kg and inches from her waist. And with her new-found fitness, Pili was also able to do the challenging Oxfam 100km trail walk. She was able to push through the physical and mental exhaustion of this event when previously she not been able to walk up a steep hill.  

Pili credits AB Corporate Fitness and the Life! program for all their support on her journey to good health.  “The Life program taught me how to take care of ME! I have dropped 4 dress sizes. My skin is great and I feel amazing with lots of energy! I can now walk, run, jump, skip and lift heavy weights.”

Say hello to Hoa, a Life! program participant

I have learned how to cook my favourite meals but in a healthier way. I also changed the way I exercise. I now spend more time running and make sure I strike a balance between light, moderate and stronger exercise.

When asked whether he would recommend Life! to others Hoa’s answer is clear as mud: “Yes absolutely and if you had a rating system, I would give it five stars.” 

When he enrolled in the program Hoa had more than one reason to get started. He was about ten kg’s overweight, often very tired and stressed. Watching his mother struggle to manage her type 2 diabetes he decided it was time to act and start reaching his health goals.  

A vegetarian for more than 20 years Hoa was already eating a lot of fruit and vegetables when he started the program but many of his meals were too high is saturated fat, sodium and sugar and too low in fiber. “I also didn’t spend enough time doing moderate and more vigorous exercise and was often stressed out about work and family”, Hoa says.  

The Life! program changed that.  

By participating in the program Hoa learned that eating healthy doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your food. “I have learned how to cook my favourite meals but in a more healthy way. I also changed the way I exercise. I now spend more time running and make sure I strike a balance between light, moderate and stronger exercise. I have also learned how to better control my worries by sharing my thought and feelings more often with family and friends. 

What I liked most about the program is its holistic approach. I not only learned how to improve my eating habits, physical activity and stress management; the program also taught me how to measure my success and the importance of regularly reviewing my goals and commitment.” 

Hoa has lost 8 kg by participating in the Life! program so far and feels ‘much more confident about what to eat and how to exercise.’ 

“Sometimes I still make the wrong choices, but importantly I now know how to get back on the right track.” 

Say hello to Zoe, a Life! program participant

This program is amazing. It really helped much more than I expected!

Zoë developed gestational diabetes when she was pregnant with her son. Over the next couple of years, she became more and more aware of feeling, as she puts it, “overweight and stressed”. She also had a very busy lifestyle.   

“I was studying for a PhD, working for myself and parenting – all of this meant I wasn’t looking after myself very well. I decided to do the Life! program because I didn’t want to get diabetes and I wanted to stay well and be a healthy mum in the future.”   

Zoë admits that, going into the program, she didn’t have very high hopes. “At the start, I didn’t feel that I would actually lose weight or achieve anything, but the support I received was fantastic. Jessica, my health coach, was understanding and helped me to work out what my goals are were and how to plan to achieve them. Over time, the small changes really did add up and I have learnt so much.”  

Though through her own hard work and with the help of her health coach, Zoë began to turn her health around. During her time on Life! program, Zoë started to take charge of her health, going for regular bike rides and doing body balance classes.   

She also learnt more about eating healthy and nutritious foods.    

“I eat more lentils, wholegrains and less unhealthy fats and sugar. I also try to go to bed a little bit earlier!”  Zoë feels proud of the discipline she’s shown in following through on her goals, and, so far, has lost 4 kilograms.   

“This program is amazing. It really helped much more than I expected!”  

Kick start your healthy living journey with articles and recipes from the Life! Program in our Health Hub

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