I used to see 600 people a year on a GP referral scheme I ran in South Wales. We linked up with many local doctors, hopsitals, physios and surgeries and the GP/Nurse/Physio would refer anyone on to us who they felt they would improve by carrying out a period of exercise.

I did it for over 6 years, so I saw a fair few people, it was a very busy and popular scheme. We used to put people through a 12 week programme of exercise.

Most people were overweight, so they really wanted to drop a few lbs they would often ask me about weight loss and how much I thought they would lose during the 12 weeks.

When I was young-er (and stupid-er) I would actually try to answer the question. I would say 1-2lbs a week which is the standard response. Over the years the trouble was not everyone did drop weight. Loads of people didn’t shift a single pound.

They had multiple health problems, most took multiple medications. The diabetics were all eating a carb heavy diet (as directed by the dieticians). The whys and where fors could be discussed for ever, weight loss is multi-faceted and is different for everyone. Some will lose weight fast wheras for others it takes a lot longer.

Weight loss, in my opinion, can not be guaranteed.

I noticed that there was one thing which I can confidently say every single person who completed the course had achieved. They all FELT BETTER!

Exercise makes you feel better. We used to do it 2-3 times a week for 30 mins or so, nice and gently. There was always time for a cup of tea afterwards.

We ended up with the busiest and the best scheme in Wales. I put a lot of the success down to the cup of tea!

So after delivering the exercises and weighing and measuring thousands of people for years, I would tell them the only guarantee I can give is you will feel a lot better after you complete 12 weeks exercise.

And my opinion is now the same.

Not all my clients get the weight loss they want, because most of the time they can’t stick to the eating plan or stay off the booze for long enough. But all my clients feel better for exercising.

It's the number one antidepressant in the world. Being able to make yourself feel better shouldn’t be underestimated. Lots of people feel “down”. 30–60 minutes of exercise a week can turn that around.

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