Fiti's story

Our journey started off with Lose coming home from school, saying that she has been nominated to take part in the ‘Steps for Life Challenge’.  My first thoughts were, “okay what is this all about", as she always comes home saying these things and does not stick to them.  I was not involved with the interview process but as she came home after being selected, she was over the moon.  From there, I could see that she was quite serious but I was sceptical about what she was getting herself into.

I got involved because I had to, as I was the one who had a company vehicle and could transport her to and fro, from home to the programme and back.  My wife who is Lose’s older sister told me to and that was all I had to do.

The first Saturday that we all got together at the Highbrook venue was an eye opener as listening to what Monty and the team had to say about the high rate of obesity amongst our young people in New Zealand and the health issue that it is connected with; Mostly Type 2 Diabetes.  From there I started to think about the amount of sugar, salt and the high amount of fat that is in the food we eat every day. 

We are a typical Island family who eat a typical Island meal which includes a large amount of meat with fat; which is regarded as the best part of the meat, a large amount of taro and bananas (cooked in coconut cream) and potatoes/kumara.  Not to mention the extra amount of salt that is added to it as well for extra taste.  I even started to get more involved in the programme with Lose, to the point that I even decided to challenge myself to lose weight.  What was also encouraging to see, are the other supporting family members, getting in behind their kids and also challenging themselves to lose weight as well. 

As the journey continued for Lose and me over the next few weeks we started to change what we ate and what we drank. 

The best part of the programme is the fact that the Steps for Life team tells the participants and their supporting family members, the real facts about the importance of the steps that we have learnt to get us through life.  The Steps for Life team really care about what we do.  You can actually see it as they encourage each family to be accountable and that is measured by the loss of weight due to exercise or eating or both.  What really sticks in my mind is that, to lose weight, it is 20% exercise and 80% what you eat.

So by changing the types of food we buy and knowing the portion size of each food group that we should eat, it’s probably; sorry it is definitely why we are a lot healthier and now have more energy to do things.  What is also required, is the support that the kids need from the supporting family members involved and from the wider family.  Without that support it makes it harder on the kids in the programme.  So family support is really important for the kids to succeed in this programme.

For myself personally, and by eating right and not doing much exercise I have lost about 10 kgs in 10 weeks.  I could have lost more if I did more exercise, but what I wanted to show Lose; that it is by eating right you can lose weight as well.  So in our cupboards and fridge/freezer, we now stock the right food.  Also shopping is more enjoyable when you are comparing labels (even though it takes a little bit longer).

Steps for Life, have given us the steps to make sure that we can make better decisions in life.  This is the best programme I have been introduced to and would tell anyone who is involved to grab it with both hands and to take on board, the skills that Steps for Life have to offer.  It is not a diet or weight loss challenge but a life style change.   Steps for Life = Healthier Life.

Fiti Potusa - Lose's Brother in Law