Tuesday, 2 December 2008

You're never too old to learn

I walked to the SWAN Centre building and from the outside it looked dismal and sad, just how I felt, deep inside. I had heard about the SWAN Women's Centre from many women who had all found help there. I needed help and knew that if I didn't get it soon I would go under.

I walked in the door and the receptionist asked for my name and made me a cup of tea and I sat in the seating area waiting to speak to the counsellor. After a while another lady came in and sat down by me. The receptionist said that the team wouldn't be long and the lady turned to me and said "Hello, are you new? It's a fine place here, you can come in any time you're passing to chat or visit as there's usually someone here to chat to." A door opened and a lady came out, saying my name. We went into a smaller room and sat down. The lady introduced herself as Anne and asked me about myself. I told her I lost my husband last year and was now finding I needed help as I was not coping very well at all and I was worrying about my daughter and son. We sat and talked for a while and I was offered a list of courses to take to get me out of the house and to make new friends. I took all the leaflets and walked home.

Later that night I was at the computer and started to look up diets on the web as I was determined to lose the weight and try to get some mobility back as I was so oput of condition. I found a site called www.Sparkpeople.com.

They offer you a free diet, a nutrition sheet plus exercise tracker and Spark teams where you can join a team of people with the same illness, hobbies and ilk as you.

I am so glad I found this site. I am a member of 6 teams and we help and support everyone we can as we all know we are in the same rocky boat trying to lose weight and get a healthy lifestyle for ourselves. We have fun and laughter all the way and when you fall someone picks you up, dusts you down, and supports you on your way again. There are challenges, games to play, plus a great deal of time and friendship for each other.

I have lost weight and now eat the right foods, drink 13 glasses of water and walk as much as I can, sometimes 5 miles a day and I am living again. I know if I need help all I have to do is ask.

The following Monday I joined two groups in the SWAN, one on a Monday doing Watercolour Painting for two hours. It's so relaxing and we have fun. Wednesday morning I am doing Creative Writing, and then, after lunch with the girls, we attend the Reading Group where we read poetry, discussing it as we go along, then we read a book together.

Now, 6 months on I have more confidence in myself and I have lost weight and I am more able to cope with life once again, made new friends from all over the world and it's a much better and bigger place to be in thanks to the SWAN Centre and Spark's people. I am on a very enjoyable journey of adventure and I don't wish to get off.

Lynn Gregory

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