Lorraine Muller started the New Year motivated to lose weight. She could feel her clothes getting tighter and couldn’t stand the ‘tummy bulge’ when she sat down.
“I was putting on too much weight and not feeling very fit,” the grandmother of 10 said. “I got sick of myself.”
A third-generation farmer from the North Burnett region, Lorraine knew it was time to change.
‘My daughter is a dietitian and she had suggested a program called My health for life to a friend’s husband, who was quite unwell,” Lorraine said. “And then I started to think about the health initiative for myself.”
My health for life is designed to help individuals discover ways to change their day-to-day behaviour – that they can live with. The initiative is funded by the Queensland Government through Health and Wellbeing Queensland.
Lorraine did the online health check, which confirmed she was at high risk of developing a chronic condition, and signed up for one-on-one coaching—a series of six, one hour phone sessions with a health qualified coach.
“At the end of the day, I knew what I had to eat and that I needed to exercise to have a better lifestyle, but My health for life reinforced it,” she said. “And the sessions kept me on track and accountable. Once I signed up, I was quite determined to stick it out.”
Five months after her first coaching session, Lorraine has lost close to 9kgs, and dropped a dress size. She’s so thrilled, she’s telling everyone in her rural hometown of Monto—2.5 hours from Bundaberg—about the initiative.
“I think living in a rural community, people aren’t aware of what’s out there as far as helping yourself health wise,” she said. “That’s why I wanted to let a few people know about it.
“We have a huge turnover of doctors in rural areas, so I thought this initiative was a way of helping people if we don’t have consistency with doctors.”
Despite a busy lifestyle on the farm and working full-time at the local Catholic school—where her four children went and now three of her grandchildren attend—Lorraine knew she wasn’t getting enough exercise or eating the right foods.
“Before starting My health for life, my walks were just around the farm, nothing at all like the hour-long walks I do now,” she said. “I’d been eating more than I should, plus I used to like my red wine. I was shocked to learn how many calories are in a 120ml glass of wine and how much walking you have to do to walk that off.”
With the help of her telephone coach who is a qualified dietitian, Lorraine is now having smaller portion sizes, eating more vegetables, fibre, and leafy greens. She’s cut back on the wine and increased her water intake to two litres a day. “If I feel hungry, I have a drink of water and if I go to reach for the chips, I tell myself ‘no’.”
Along with losing weight, Lorraine is feeling other benefits.
“I feel better mentally, and I do feel as though I am more energetic, like I want to get in and do more,” Lorraine said. “I’m determined to keep going to reach my goal weight and, hopefully reduce my blood pressure so I can remain active on the farm, in my garden and with my grandkids.
“If you make up your mind that you’re going to do it, it’s really not that hard. Just stay focused.”