why i swapped
We're about to start our next SWAP project so we wanted to catch up with one of our recent SWAP graduates about her experience of the programme. We asked her four simple questions and her answers give a fantastic insight into what it is like to be part of SWAP.
What was it that made you want to take part in SWAP?
I got to learn about the SWAP programme via Southwark Council's website last year and it was right about the time that I had been diagnosed with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and also I was pre-diabetic. I knew I had to do something drastic but I was determined that it would not be via medication. So when I saw the advertisement for the programme I thought – THIS IS IT!
Unfortunately I was not successful after the information day and put down my name should a place become vacant or when and if the programme would be run at a later date. I received an email in February asking if I was still interested and of course I jumped at the chance.
How did you find your experience of SWAP?
Right from the onset of the programme I knew that I had made the right decision. The programme co-ordinators – Sylv and Laura – were brilliant, very approachable and knew what they were talking about. The activities i.e. Zumba, Swing dance, Pilates and various other weekly activities were interesting and there was something in there for everyone. The cook and eat session were interesting (although I was not a great fan of all of the food) and the 3 months free gym was brilliant. Even though I had never been to a gym before I took to it like a duck to water. The only downside is the diary filling but after a while you get use to it. In all it was an enjoyable experience as I got to meet 15 great other ladies who made the experience much more fun.
What impact has taking part in SWAP had on your life?
SWAP has had a great impact on my life in various ways. At my 1st visit (after the 12 week programme) to my GP for the results of a blood test, I was congratulated my GP due to the fact that my blood pressure was normal, my cholesterol level was good and I was no longer pre-diabetic. Her question was “What have you been doing?” and I explained the SWAP programme to her.
My friends and family have also commented on the change. Personally, SWAP has given me a new lease to life – I am more conscious of my eating habits and I exercise a lot more (I signed up to the gym for a year). I feel much better health-wise and I am enjoying the fact that I went from the fattest among by sisters to the slimmest and they can't seem to get over it. In all joining the SWAP programme is one of the best decisions that I have made.
What would you want to tell others considering taking part in SWAP?
IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A QUICK FIX – THE SWAP PROGRAMME IS NOT FOR YOU. You will have to be ready to put in the time, fill in your diaries and attend the weekly classes (it is only once a week). Find a physical activity that you enjoy – remember the gym may not be your thing, but you may love dancing, yoga etc. that can help you keep active.
Don’t worry about not fitting in. I can assure you that by the 2nd class you would have made at least one friend (your SWAP buddy) and by the 3rd class it would have been as if you had all know each other for ages. Be honest to yourself – nobody is going to chastise you if you get it wrong but above ENJOY YOURSELF.