Neil Ballment

EVEN THOUGH I FELT GOOD, I WAS AT HIGH RISK OF HEART ATTACK

07.02.2024

Neil Ballment knew he had to do something about his health.

At almost 100kgs and having led a sedentary, often stressful, career as a lawyer, Neil didn’t want to become another heart attack statistic.

“Five years into retirement, you look at your belly and think ‘that’s not good’. I’d been thinking ‘gee whizz’ I need to do something about it,” the 75-year-old said.

“As good as I felt, I’ve seen people come down unexpectedly with a heart attack or stroke and I didn’t want to become one of those.”

It was an ad on TV for the My health for life initiative that finally prompted Neil to act. He took the online health check – he was high risk for chronic disease – and signed up immediately to an in-person group program.

“Seeing in writing that I was at high risk of a heart attack or stroke, really put a burr under my saddle and caused me to register,” he said.

The former opera singer said that while in theory he knew what he needed to do to lose weight, he wanted the tools and accountability from being part of a group.

Neil started the program in March 2023 and by the end of the six sessions, he’d lost 5kgs and had found his motivation to stay on the right track. He’s now down to 87kgs – just 2kgs off his target weight.

One of the biggest changes Neil made was giving up soft drinks.

“My wife had been telling me for years that soft drink wasn’t good for me,” he said. “But there’s nothing like hearing an expert tell you. The amount of sugar in soft drinks was a real eye opener. I drink very little of it now and don’t keep it in the house anymore.”

Neil is grateful that he never smoked and wasn’t a heavy drinker.

Learning to properly read food labels and understanding ‘blockers’ that stop you from exercising or eating healthy foods, were also helpful tools for Neil.

“I am eating less and exercising more now – our fur baby is a good motivation for me to take him for walks.”

Neil walks his dog, Beau, every day now for between 5 and 6kms.

“It used to be only 1 or 2kms, but I’ve built that up to 5 or 6km and I am now going to the gym too to build my strength with resistance training,” he said.

A grandfather of six, Neil is now also making more of an effort to sleep well, and loves monitoring his exercise progress with his smart watch.

The co-founder and president of the Brisbane Roar Supporters Federation praised the My health for life initiative.

“Our coach, Saalihah, was fantastic and the program was excellent” Neil said. “It’s given me a lot of possibilities and the tools to carry on a healthier life.”

Coach Saalihah Seedat said Neil was keen to make a change for himself and his wife.

“It’s been a privilege to support Neil and see the change.” She said. “When someone feels empowered – that’s when the magic happens.”

Neil recommends the program to anyone of any age who wants to change their life for the better.

“I’ve had to pull my belt in a few notches and even ditch one pair of pants. I can see a lot more of my toes than I used to be able to. I’m quite happy,” he said.

If you would like to create healthier habits like Neil, visit www.myhealthforlife.com.au, email info@myhealthforlife.com.au or call 13 74 75.

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