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Why Helen is fit for a health check

It’s been pointed out that I’m not exactly the best face to front a health campaign. I’m obese and have type 2 diabetes, I’ve also had my issues with anxiety in the past, writes Helen Blaby.

I would argue that I am entirely the right person to be on the poster for Helen’s Big Health Check, which starts on Monday. Let me explain!

Helen Blaby
Helen Blaby

My producer, Sarah-Jane, is well used to getting emails from me now when I’m straight out of the bath. It’s the time I have my best ideas, and if I don’t let them know about them immediately then by the time I see her the next day I’ve probably forgotten all about it!

Anyway, about 18 months ago I was pondering how on earth I was going to make the lifestyle changes to get my blood sugar under control, and I knew that I needed a push to get a bit fitter. I play lawn bowls during the summer, and routinely lose a dress size by the end of the season, but then when the autumn and winter come along, I tend to hibernate on my settee with a glass or two of red, and a bag of crisps. I was determined not to do that again a year or so ago.

However, past experience told me that it was something I really couldn’t do on my own. I lack the willpower (does willpower even exist? if so, I don’t think I’ve ever owned any!) to do these things on my own. I’ve tried, and failed, on a number of occasions. I’ve been a member of pretty much every gym in our fair town. I’ve actually been a few times to some of them as well!

So, what better way of getting some support, than involving the people I speak to on a daily basis? Could we do this together? Was there a way for us all to make small changes to our lifestyle and help each other along the way? I thought there was, and so Helen’s Big Healthcheck was born.

The idea is to get as many health and wellbeing professionals in to a room as possible, and give you the opportunity to try new forms of activity. We held three events last year, in Towcester, Northampton and Corby and my goodness did people embrace the idea. We had hundreds of visitors to the various events, six of whom were referred to the hospital for investigations into possible skin cancer.

…and for me, it worked. I kept that dress size off, and I’ve lost another since then too. I’ve spoken to other people who came along as well, and they say they either got information about giving up smoking, tried out an activity they loved and have kept it up or just thought a bit more about what they were eating.

So this year, we decided to go bigger and better. Five events, 5 towns and one of those in the evening so that people who work can rock up too. They are a lot of fun to take part in. Last year I tried walking football, went back to my netball roots, played table tennis against a machine, had a go at boccia and new age curling. I even played badminton live on air!

The nordic walking sessions have proved particularly popular, and you can really feel it working as you stride out with your poles!

So you know, I am the face of these events. They really did give me the kick up the posterior I needed to do something about how I live my life. I’m looking forward to this year’s giving me some new ideas, and having a go at some new exercises and sports. I’m looking forward to meeting lots of like-minded people too! I hope to see you at one of the events…

Helen's Health Check


I'm the editor and owner of The NeneQuirer.

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