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Cardigan’s innovative weight management service

Be FoodWise for Life
Be FoodWise for Life

DIETITIAN Gaynor Bussell and Dietetic Assistant Practitioner, Sarah Marks have spoken about about the weight management service in Cardigan Hospital and how it helps people in Ceredigion. “Our weight management service is relatively new to Ceredigion and is not just an ordinary weight loss service! We use a form of behaviour change called ‘motivational interviewing’; a patient-centred counselling style aiming to encourage people to change their behaviour by helping them with their motivation and supporting them to consider their own personal reasons to change.

“This specialist service involves weekly one-to-one clinics in Cardigan, Aberystwyth, Aberaeron and Tregaron, with specialist weight management groups soon to follow. These clinics and groups are organised by us and run alongside the ‘Foodwise for Life’ groups. “Typically people are referred to the service if their weight has increased above a healthy level, but also if they have either a musculo-skeletal problem, such as arthritis, or another health issue which is aggravated by carrying the extra pounds. They can be referred by their GPs, practice nurses or from other clinical services in the area. “The great thing is, as the individual’s weight reduces, their symptoms, such as knee pain, improve. In some cases joints can improve so much there is no need for them to go on and have operations.

Gaynor explains: “I have a lot of experience in dietetics and particularly in weight management. I was attracted to this job because of the behaviour change approach which revolutionises the way we work with individuals and groups. Our clients value the service and as a Dietitian it does not feel like we are forcing them to lose weight, but rather standing alongside them as they progress through their weight loss journey.” “Our forward thinking weight management service is part of an initiative run by the Dietetics Department of Hywel Dda University Health Board, with an identical service being delivered in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire.“ ‘ Foodwise for Life’ is an eight week structured programme for groups and is designed for people who would like to reduce their weight. The sessions provide basic nutritional knowledge to enable patients to make informed choices about their eating habits to aid weight loss. ” Sarah added: “Foodwise for Life’ is a very successful programme. Everyone who attends makes positive changes to their diet in a way that suits them. It’s also a great way to be part of a like-minded group of people and to improve our knowledge on healthy eating and dispel some common myths. We usually have fun too, the groups are always really lovely! “