We're very fortunate here in the UK to have a free universal healthcare system - the National Health Service. Although the NHS is under terrible financial and political pressure at the moment, it provides terrific help and resources for millions of people every year and most of the advice they provide can be trusted.
While Alicia had some issues with her initial care and diagnosis of Wegener's Disease, once she had the right team in place she was looked after well, and now has a great relationship with her consultants. Alicia has been in remission for many years now and we have a two year old daughter, Audrey, who is happy and healthy, in part because we have world class maternity ward on our doorstep - the Royal Victoria Infirmary.
I had back surgery on the NHS last year which was successful, and in the past few months I have been gradually increasing my exercise regime to get back to full fitness. I was never a great runner but I started getting into it before my operation and I was keen to return to it once I was fit enough. One of the resources I found really useful was The NHS Couch to 5k website. It gave me a structured training plan that I knew would steadily build up my strength and endurance without injuring myself.
I am now regularly running 5k and I am now looking to improve my times and distance.
While many people who suffer from Wegener's Disease simply aren't capable of running 5k, although some people can climb Mount Everest, looking after your health is vital for everybody. That's why I thought it would be useful to my readers to link to the NHS 12 week weight loss plan.
The plan is designed to help you lose weight at a safe rate of 0.5kg to 1kg (1lb to 2lb) each week by sticking to a daily calorie allowance. The guide is delivered through 12 weekly information packs full of diet, healthy eating and physical activity advice, including weekly challenges.
The plan was developed together with the Association of UK Dieticians.
This is a great resource with lots of supporting material such as calorie checkers, meal plans, and exercise regimes. Of course, you should only undertake exercise after following advice from your own physician, especially if you have an underlying medical condition such as GPA. And we all know what heavy doses of steroids can do to our bodies!
However, the NHS 12 week weight loss plan is underpinned by a solid, evidence based medical background, so if you would like to move more and eat less, why not check it out?
Photograph from Whologwhy, published under Creative Commons.