Former teacher hails weight loss scheme

Sarah HallA former teacher who has struggled with his weight has hailed a pioneering scheme for turning his life around and heading off his need to have a gastric band fitted.Sarah Hall

A former teacher who has struggled with his weight has hailed a pioneering scheme for turning his life around and heading off his need to have a gastric band fitted.

John Clements weighed more than 27 stone when his GP suggested he might want to consider a gastric band, but Mr Clements, from Timothy Close in Thorpe St Andrew, was not sure about the procedure, which is a type of weight loss surgery where the size of people's stomachs are reduced.

The 61-year-old was instead referred to the Broadly Active scheme, set up by Broadland District Council, which tailors programmes to help get people active and which all GP surgeries in the district have signed up to.

He said: 'I have struggled with weight issues most of my life, but the pounds started to go on as I developed sleep apnoea and was only getting one or two hours sleep per night.

'My doctor asked me to consider a gastric bypass operation when my weight reached 176kg, and while waiting for it I became very unsure if it was the right thing for me.

'I was also referred onto the Broadly Active referral scheme, and it has been one of the most helpful programmes that I have been on and I am no longer considering the operation.'

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Married father-of-two Mr Clements was helped by Dan Goodwin, physical activity referral officer at Broadland District Council, who came up with a programme to help him get more exercise.

Mr Clements, said: 'When I started the programme, Dan gave me a pedometer and said I should try to increase my walking steadily to 10,000 steps per day.

'At first I was only able to do around 2,000 steps and the effort nearly killed me. I am now easily able to walk 12,000 steps, my general health has improved and I am now able to sleep four to six hours per night.'

Mr Clements has done two lots of the 12 week programme and has lost three stone. He said: 'I've still got a way to go and want to lose another 50kg, but this scheme gave me the confidence to make a start. When you are overweight it can really harm your confidence, but this has shown me that it is possible.

'I'd say to anyone out there that there is no magic cure. It takes commitment, but the Broadly Active physical activity referral scheme is one of the best ways. I can whole-heartedly recommend the Broadland scheme.'

Mr Clements regularly heads to The Norman Centre, run by Norwich City Council, to use the gym there, joined by his 13-year-old son Timothy.

More than 580 people in Broadland have signed up to the Broadly Active scheme and it is offered to all people who live in the district who are over the age of 16.

For more information on Broadly Active contact Hannah Platten, business support and leisure administrator on 01603 430487 or email

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