“I really enjoy coming to the gym, I can use all the equipment now and it makes me feel good. I’ve enjoyed everything about being on the Step Forward Tees Valley programme and thank everyone for helping me make the changes to my eating habits to control my diabetes. I have loved the community heroes’ sessions, they have made me feel like part of a team. Even my family see a difference in me, I’m happier and more positive about life.”

Tracey's Story

Tracey from Middlesbrough had been using the computers at her local community centre to job search when she noticed a Step Forward Tees Valley display. She plucked up the courage and went to speak to a navigator to find out what Step Forward Tees Valley was all about.

Tracey is in her 40s and a single mum of four grown up children. She had always put her children’s needs first and along the way had neglected her own health and wellbeing. Tracey was 21 stone and had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. She was becoming increasingly isolated, suffered with anxiety and lacked confidence and self-esteem.

After Tracey spoke to the navigator in her local community centre she decided that Step Forward Tees Valley was just what she needed.

Tracey met with her navigator Lisa for regular 1:1 sessions where they discussed her weight, confidence and self-esteem difficulties. Lisa suggested an eight week “Healthy Me, Confident Me” course. Tracey was terrified about joining a new group, but with the support and encouragement from her navigator, she went along.

For the first couple of weeks the course was a challenge for Tracey and she was too nervous to join in. But by week three, Tracey found the confidence to join in and began to share her experiences with the rest of the group. Liz who runs the course saw an improvement in Tracey’s confidence and also her aspirations.

During the course Tracey completed sessions on healthy eating. She kept a food diary and started swapping unhealthy foods for home cooked meals with vegetables. She ditched the fizzy drinks for water and started to get weighed each week. Tracey also underwent ear acupuncture to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety.

The improvements Tracey had made to her lifestyle encouraged her to become healthier. She asked about exercise sessions and was referred to the Live Well Centre in Middlesbrough. Step Forward Tees Valley also provided Tracey with suitable clothes and footwear for her first gym session. Tracey had never been to a gym before, she’s now going three times a week, has lost weight and loves it!

Tracey is also enjoying being one of Step Forward Tees Valley’s community heroes – volunteering in the community which is continuing to improve her social skills, confidence and self-esteem.