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Healthy, Whole & Free – Joanna’s Story

My experience so far on the Healthy, Whole and Free 12 week support, accountability and learning programme from Fitfish

We are currently in Week 6 of this fantastic programme. I brought with me a lot of unhealthy food habits and a BMI of 31.2, putting me in the obese category. This course has given me a fresh start that I have not gained with any other ‘programme’ that I’ve followed – I’ve tried Weight Watchers, My Fitness Pal, planning healthy family meals, accountability groups with friends etc etc, but always found that I slipped off my own ‘wagon’ inevitably at some point. This time I vowed would be different, but I didn’t know how or why, at this point I just hoped (and we all know ‘hope is not a strategy’). Having done the 12 Week Summer Challenge with Fitfish and yet again ‘failed’ and ‘fallen off the wagon’ and, to be fair, not really bothered getting back on I really wasn’t sure whether I should try again and there was a financial outlay too. But Gaynor did an explanatory video and patiently answered questions on the Summer Challenge Group and I really felt there was so much additional material and structure being offered that this could genuinely be ‘different this time’.

Next hurdle for me was the course fee – having decided this course was going to be a good fit for me I needed to find a way to pay for it – not easy for a self-employed music teacher at the end of the Summer Holiday. But this self-employed music teacher has a birthday right at the beginning of September, so I contacted my parents and my sister and brother-in-law and asked if they’d consider my birthday present being a contribution towards the course fee. I was incredibly blessed that they felt this was a really good idea and there was only a portion left to pay for myself. I feel this has been a big factor as they are actively supporting me and it feels like we’re all invested in my future.

I then sought out prayer at church from a trusted couple and shared that I was going to be starting this course – they continue to pray for me and ask me regularly how things are going, specifically what they can pray for and pray over me there and then.

Six weeks in I can honestly say that I feel fantastic! There are so many day-to-day aspects of the course that are supporting me in my individual journey and I genuinely feel that my relationship with food has been transformed. I know it is early days, but I already have so many tools from the course at my disposal that I feel I can tackle most challenges with a very different mindset – I love Gaynor’s analogy of the snakes and ladders board where our journey will have surges and set-backs, but we’ll get there in the end as long as we don’t throw away the board!

I love the Bitesize Bible Verse that we receive daily by email and find it really helpful to highlight it in my Journalling Bible and write it out in my HWF journal in colourful pens. I then do some reading around it and make some notes if I think that would be helpful. I also find the Sunday Song wonderful and am creating a Spotify Playlist with them in, which I listen to around the house, on runs and sometimes in the shower too! Each week we have a Coaching Call when Gaynor outlines the theme for the week and goes through a teaching on it. We can all log into Zoom at the same time and chat either out loud or using text input. This session is so encouraging and a really integral part of my weekly commitment to this journey. Quite near the beginning of the course Gaynor prayerfully buddied us up with another participant. I was buddied with my very good friend Andrea (we are Godparents to each others’ children!) who I didn’t realise was doing the course till her name popped up in the Facebook Accountability Group! This group is so valuable to me as I can pop thoughts, questions, photos etc up on it at any time and get encouraging feedback from other people in the group, similarly I can encourage other people with ‘likes’ and comments on their posts and a really positive cycle ensues. We are also encouraged to complete a ‘Can Do’ chart with up to about 12 headings of our own choosing – things like drinking plenty of water (mine is two bottles), getting to bed in good time (mine is currently 11.30pm), our chosen form of exercise etc. I have also found it useful for one of the headings to be ‘Use a weekly weigh-in to help me on my journey’, as I was previously weighing myself at least once a day. Each week in the portal (only accessible to course members) there is plenty of course material relevant to the week’s theme, which it is useful to print off, read and inwardly digest, making plenty of notes on the sheets, in my journal and in my bible.

As you can probably tell, I genuinely feel this course is life changing and would recommend it to any Christian who is struggling with a negative habit of any sort and would like to be enabled in making healthy choices throughout their life. After 5 weeks I haven’t eaten food in a negative context once and my BMI is down to 29.4 (overweight). I have just started my journey and look forward to the exciting things this will bring as I work towards not only a healthy BMI, but also a closer relationship with God, a healthy relationship with exercise and food and a great bunch of friends (including my lovely buddy) who have all travelled this road together.”

You can find out more about Healthy, Whole & Free here

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