Life! Program through Portland District Health

Richard Voss (Photo kindly supplied by Portland Observer)
Monday, 2 September 2013
Two years ago Richard Voss struggled to walk around the Fawthrop Lagoon in Portland.

Now the secondary school teacher is not only able to run around the lagoon faster than many of his students, he’s also able to complete 14.5km fun runs without stopping.

Mr Voss, 43, attributes his dramatic lifestyle turnaround to participation in the Life! Program through Portland District Health.

The program along with lap band surgery helped him to shed nearly 50kg, reducing his weight to less than 90kg.

Before he started the program Mr Voss was diagnosed as pre-diabetic due to his high blood sugar count, high cholesterol and body weight and was considered a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

“The warning signs were all there and I was lucky I did something about it,” he said.

The program changed his attitude to food and fitness.

“I’ve basically given away junk food, just a bit of chocolate every now and then, and I run two or three times a week and also walk to school,” he said.

The program included goal setting, advice on making healthy food choices, physio sessions and other support to help participants to become more active.

When challenged to participate in the school cross country around the lagoon earlier this year, Mr Voss took up the dare and finished eighth from a field of more than 120.

He went on to complete the Lighthouse to Lighthouse 14.5km run without stopping. “I finished mid field and was very happy with that,” he said.

“I couldn’t have done that two years ago with the equivalent weight of two extra car tyres hanging around my stomach,” he said.

Mr Voss says the program taught him how to set achievable goals.

“I think it is important to have realistic and achievable goals and to make small challenges for yourself along the way,” he said.

Mr Voss would still like to shed a few more kilos but realises he no longer needs to panic about his condition while he continues to monitor his goals.

“I’d like to take off another three or four but can do that over the next 12 months.”

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