I'm really happy that the Health in Focus project started a group focused on health not only in Joensuu but also in Petrozavodsk. The group at Joensuu is called Renovation Group, the Petrozavodsk group is called Health Group but both are similar in their goals and activities: to encourage people towards healthier way of life.
This is the first time this kind of group is organized in Petrozavodsk and there were over 30 applicants to the group. Only one third of the applicants could be selected to participate. Majority of the applicants were overweight middle-aged women. They considered the group as a lifeboat, their last chance to improve their quality of life.
There are also three men among the applicants. They applied mostly because their wives asked or told them to. At the moment men at the republic of Karelia are not that eager to tell about their health problems in public.
I'm really proud that I'm not just an ordinary member of the group but also one of the leaders of the group. My Finnish colleagues have emphasized that the leader doesn't have to be a model but I'd like to be a role model for the desperate and help them to live a healthier life.
This goal encourages me towards healthier life style. I don't smoke or use alcohol neither do I eat greasy food. However, my BMI is at the moment not as good as it should be. Love for biscuits and buns and for tea with pastries combined with minor exercising has increased my weight and my health has downgraded fast. Since 2008 my blood pressure has been high and I often have headaches.
Doctor order medicine and told that I have to take them till the end of my life. Last December the result of cholesterol test was poor and the digits on the scale were 93. I decided it's time to do something.
Since December I've walked to work. I live in the suburbs and my workplace is located at the central Petrozavodsk, near the Onega Lake - the distance is over 4 kilometres. I don't care about the weather - even when it was minus 28 degrees in January I continued to walk. I believe active exercise is the best way to fight obesity.
In the summer I spent my lunch breaks using the outdoor gym by the Onega Lake. Besides exercising I paid more attention on not eating that much sugar or pastries. My weight went down by 13 kilos. At the moment my goal is to lose 20 kilos. Only then will I be as fit and healthy as I was when I was 25 years old.
One of my everyday hobbies is now nordic walking. I bought the sticks from Joensuu in September when the participants of the Health Group went there for a study tour. I hope to find companions from the group.
My motivation for living healthy is very strong: I have promised for my husband that on his birthday 14th December my weight will be 68 kilos. If I lose I have to buy him a rubber boat for fishing. I'm not used to lose, I want to win and improve my health.
Writer is a reporter at Karjalan Sanomat and a leader of the Health in Focus projects Health Group