Health and Fitness case study: Molly, aged 37, wife, mother and part-time marketing executive
Molly loves her job and would like to work full-time but has a husband and two teen-aged children who need her too. Molly works six hours a day (sometimes more) and often travels for work. In the evenings she is busy cooking, chauffeuring the kids to their various activities and looking after the home. Occasionally she goes out to her Book Club with friends. At weekends, she sometimes goes bowling with John, her husband, and they often go out to a restaurant on a Saturday evening. She usually cooks for the week ahead on a Sunday and visits elderly parents and the family will sometimes go for a country walk together.
Molly recently went to see her GP because she couldn’t get rid of a cough. The GP did some tests. Luckily there was nothing seriously wrong, but the GP said Molly has slightly high blood pressure and that if she puts any more weight on she will be classed as “obese”. Molly hadn’t realized before, but she has put on two stone over the past four years, and has stopped going to the gym. She just feels too busy with the pressures from work and family to do any exercise.
John has said he will support Molly in a weight-loss plan and will go to the gym with her. Molly doesn’t know where to start, but she goes along to a weight loss club in the village hall which she has seen advertised and starts on a low-calorie diet.
Four weeks into her diet, Molly is feeling great. She has lost more than half a stone and has been walking after work for half an hour about 3 times a week. Then suddenly one evening she gets a phone call to say that her elderly mother has had a fall and broken a hip, so she needs to go and see her in hospital. The next two weeks are taken up with going to the hospital, visiting her father at home, working out how to care for her mum when she comes out of hospital and doing all the administration. By the time Molly even has time to think about her own health, she has put back all the weight plus an extra pound and has not done a step of exercise. She feels very disillusioned and depressed. How can she ever get fit with all these demands on her time?
Molly’s friend Sue has heard about a health and fitness counsellor. She sounds just the thing that Molly needs. Molly books up a session and tells the counsellor what has been going on and what she would like to do. The counsellor listens, makes lots of notes and asks lots of questions about Molly’s lifestyle and her aims. They work together on a long-term plan, but also set up some short-term goals to encourage Molly to get to grips with a programme that suits her. She suggests that Molly goes back to the weight loss club, because it is easy to get to and Molly likes the type of diet they use. She also decides to sign up for a short-term membership at the gym and books some time slots when she can go there with John, and some time slots when John will be busy looking after the kids, when she will go on her own.
Molly sticks to her plan as much as possible. She tries to adapt her goals as she goes along to make them work for her. The counsellor is on hand to have a regular chat and to discuss ways of incorporating fitness into her normal routine. Molly gets the kids to go swimming with her on a Saturday morning, and starts walking round to her parents’ house twice a week. These are some of the ways Molly starts to adhere to her fitness programme. She knows that if she has a problem and needs some support, she has people she can turn to, including her counsellor. Molly starts to feel better and friends start noticing. The plan is working!
What can you do to make sure you stick to a health and fitness programme? Every one is different and we all need support but we can do it. Ask me – I can help!