Venus Success Stories – Madeleine
I am a bit evangelical about Helen’s programmes – I am the fittest, healthiest and slimmest I have been for many, many years and it has set me on a path that I know I can follow for the rest of my life.
Would you mind sharing the reasons (health issues/goals) that you came to see Helen.
I had been part of Helen’s facebook group and had been watching from afar, thinking “I’m not really sure its for me”. Then I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I had started a drug trial, my mobility was greatly reduced and I started to pile on even more weight. Bascially, I was feeling ill and miserable and I decided I needed to take some responsibility for my health. So, I signed up for Helen’s online nutrition programme in January. I went into it feeling very nervous, and truthfully, not mentally ready but I felt if I didn’t give it a go, I never would.
And can you share the approach that Helen took?
It turned out I absolutely loved the online programme! Helen provides recipes that are totally accessible and adaptable. I love the spicy recipes which makes the food so enjoyable, but equally she gives you ways of making them family-friendly. Although I like to think I ate a varied diet, some of the ingredients in the recipes I’d never cooked with – like quinoa and flax seeds – so I was a bit worried. However, I soon found confidence in them and loved the fact they were so quick to prepare. My larder now looks like the inside of a health food shop! Her consultations at the beginning and end of the programme are based on realistic advice. She says “do what you can” to make adjustments, gives some tough talk about how planning is the key and throughout the programme provides gentle nudges to change your habits for the better. You also become part of a facebook group who are all doing the 28 days with you and I found this gave great peer to peer support. There was a lot of humour in the group when we shared our kids reactions to the food we were cooking for them!
What are the main/key things that you learnt?
In addition to general nutritional advice, I got some very specific advice for my rheumatoid arthritis (which is an inflammatory disease) so Helen gave me nutritional advice to reduce inflammation. I also loved the benefit of being able to come home from a busy day at work and put dinner on the table in 20 minutes. The recipes are perfect for a working mum.
Personally, I didn’t trust myself to stay on the straight and narrow after one programme, so I have gone on to participate in 4 online programmes so far and have loved every one of them!
Did anything surprise you?
I have cut sugar out entirely from my diet and I never thought that was possible. At the beginning, natural sugars didn’t taste sweet enough, but 12 months on that has completely altered and I have made a sustainable change. I have lost a lot of weight and dropped several dress sizes and I have also started exercising again.
In January, I literally couldn’t run 200m but, thanks to Helen and the other members of the Online plan, got myself out doing exercise and running in particular and have since run two 10 km races – the last one in under an hour! I never thought I would do this , and I really put a lot of this down to Helen. On the Online course, she shares research and evidence about health, nutrition and exercise and it really gets you thinking about all the reasons (excuses) why you never quite do it. She prompts within the facebook group and asks “have you done any exercise today” and then when others start to post their efforts, it makes you go and do something. This is what I would call “supportive querying” and that really helped me. I have gone from barely being able to walk to saying “Oh, I only ran 6k today”.
What changes to your health have you experienced?
I should say that I have been on a drug trial for my rheumatoid arthritis at the same time, but there is no doubt that there have been significant health improvements for me thanks to the Venus programmes. I have cut out gluten and reduced my dairy intake on Helen’s recommendation, as well as increased anti-inflammatory spices in my cooking. On the trial I’ve had monthly blood counts so I’ve got scientific evidence of the difference this has made – my monthly blood counts show that I am no longer pre-diabetic and my cholesterol levels have fallen. I have lost a massive amount of weight and found a love for exercise (well, when it’s over, not during!)
What did you enjoy the most about the programme?
I really enjoyed the camaraderie of the online group. Knowing that you are not alone and being able to share your experiences with humour made it very different to any dietary group I had previously attended. Helen encourages people to post pictures of their food which really helps to inspire you and get you out of your cooking rut. Someone posted about the banana pancakes they made – I don’t even really like banana but they looked so delicious and now this is one of my favourite recipes. In fact, early on, it was the incentive for me to go for a run as I would reward myself with a banana pancake breakfast!
What would you say to others that are considering a nutrition and lifestyle programme with Helen?
I am a bit evangelical about Helen’s programmes – I am the fittest, healthiest and slimmest I have been for many, many years and it has set me on a path that I know I can follow for the rest of my life. So, if you’re like me this time last year and are not sure, I say just give it a go – at worst, it is only 4 weeks out of your life, but I can honestly say it has literally transformed my life
If you are interested in finding out how nutritional therapy and health coaching can help you reach your health goals book your free 15 minute phone call with Helen by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or text 07740157193
If you want try the online plan, you can book on to my next 28 day online nutrition & lifestyle programme here.