Fit by Phone: Innovative weight management courses
Empowering individuals and community groups to take control of their eating habits and become fitter and healthier.
The DTA "Fit by Phone" project gives beneficiaries an opportunity to take part in a specialist, peer supported, nutrition and weight management groups. The group connects over telephone and can take place between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday at time convenient to them. All is required is one hour a week for 6-weeks over the telephone.
The course starts and completes with an in-person one to one interview with a qualified advisor who talks participants through the course and gathers pre- and post- involvement information for monitoring and evaluation purposes. Individuals are then assigned into a group based on their preferences and are given resource materials for the course.
Individuals then connect together using the latest teleconferencing technology with a DTA C.I.C. Advisor who leads the structured course. The course then looks at eating habits and how best to manage a person’s health with numerous barriers including fear, anxiety, and ever-changing lifestyles.
Participant case study
Seema : Eating in moderation
At the last minute, Seema nearly didn’t take Don’t Tone Alone’s phone-based weight management course – but she is really glad she did.
Seema’s life is pretty full – a part-time carer for her mother, she also has a job and children aged 11 and 20 – so that finding time to take on something new was a challenge in itself.
“I cared for both my Mum and my Dad. My Dad passed away, so I now care for my Mum who’s had a stroke and has mental health problems, and is battling with dementia. Looking after her can be quite challenging and difficult, but it can be quite rewarding and fun as well.
“As a family, we share the responsibility. I go in two days a week and some of my other siblings go in a couple of days here and there.
“Life is really busy. I tend to be running from here to there. I’ve not managed to go to the gym, or for a swim or sauna for about four months now!”
Taking on the sessions, Seema quickly saw how useful they were. “Because there was the pack as well, I could have my laptop open with it all in front of me as Chris, who led the course, was going through it. I could follow it and really take it in. I can now refer to it at any time.”
For Seema, the most useful advice was to stop dieting, see all food as good, but to eat in moderation. “I thought that approach was amazing, because all the way through my life I’ve always been told, ‘Don’t eat this, because it’s not good for you’ – and it confuses you. Sometimes, when you’re told ‘don’t’, you want to. You have more of a craving for that particular food.”
Applying the advice – for example, finding ways to cook that avoid oil and butter – she says the big thing has been understanding why some things are better.
Seema’s course had just one other participant, which she liked. “It gave us more space to talk. We got a lot of advice from each other. Things that had worked for me, I suggested might work for the other lady. We had children of similar ages, so we could give each other advice on how to involve our children. We exchanged numbers and we might meet for coffee or to do some kind of exercise together.”
Seema has already recommended the course to other carers at a recent event. When she saw it included in a leaflet for dementia carers, she was able to tell them she had done it already and it was really good.
“Everyone should take advantage of this,” she says. “Chris was very good, very understanding and never once made you feel like you were wrong. He was respectful to our individual needs and always gave us time to think, and reflect and answer questions.”