Fashionably fit and well

How a Kiwi designer is at the fore­front of a health cru­sade. By Aaron Lea­man.

Sunday News - - FRONT PAGE -

FOR the first time, Lot­tie Siaosi loves the wo­man star­ing back at her in the mir­ror.

‘‘I’m ab­so­lutely gor­geous. I’m 53 years of age and I’ve never said that be­fore.’’

Siaosi went through the Kia Pua¯wai well­ness pro­gramme, an ini­tia­tive which helps par­tic­i­pants change their lives.

The Kia Pua¯wai ap­proach is based on three core prin­ci­ples – nutri­tion, move­ment and mind man­age­ment – and is the brain­child of fash­ion designer An­nah Stret­ton.

The pro­gramme was sucess­fully pi­loted by Waikato Women’s Refuge – where all par­tic­i­pants had im­prove­ments in lab re­sults mea­sur­ing choles­terol levels, liver func­tion and av­er­age blood glu­cose. Sixty per cent of them lost be­tween 10 and 25 per cent of their ini­tial body weight.

Stret­ton said the Kia Pua¯wai ap­proach aimed to make life­style ‘‘ed­its’’ with a 13-week pro­gramme fo­cus­ing on men­tal health and mind man­age­ment.

‘‘I truly think fat has be­come a fem­i­nist is­sue and so many of us aren’t happy with our bod­ies and how we look,’’ Stret­ton said.

‘‘The yard­stick of our suc­cess has been whether we’re heavy or light and I want to throw that out the win­dow. In­stead, we ask par­tic­i­pants to do well by their body 80 per cent of the time. They can still eat fried chicken and cake, but we en­cour­age them to keep it at that 20 per cent level.’’

Since her in­volve­ment with the pro­gramme, Siaosi has made fewer trips to the doc­tor and has her di­a­betes un­der con­trol. She’d also picked up new cook­ing skills. ‘‘In my home, my fam­ily loves pizza and burg­ers. But An­nah has taught us how to make home-made piz­zas and burg­ers and has given us con­fi­dence to ex­per­i­ment with healthy food.’’

An­other valu­able les­son has been learn­ing to love her­self, Siaosi said. ‘‘We should love the fact that ev­ery day we get up, we breathe, we can walk and do what we need to do and it’s all be­cause of this body.’’

Stret­ton said the Kia Pua¯wai pro­gramme was aimed at an en­tire de­mo­graphic who had been left be­hind.

‘‘Un­less you’re white and ad­van­taged and can af­ford the gym . . . and the lat­est sup­ple­ments and shakes, you’re not ac­tu­ally go­ing to be ac­ti­vated in that space.’’

Stret­ton worked with one young wo­man who was spend­ing $100 a week on en­ergy drinks. Stret­ton be­gan by en­cour­ag­ing her to re­duce her in­take by one can a day. ‘‘If you can get peo­ple to make a men­tal shift, then you will get some great out­comes.’’

Cathy Khouri, a reg­is­tered di­eti­tian and nu­tri­tion­ist, said the key to mak­ing long-term changes to a per­son’s well­ness and life­style was un­der­stand­ing their story.

‘‘An­nah’s un­der­ly­ing prin­ci­ple is gain health, not weight, and that’s an ex­cel­lent ap­proach to take, in my view. It seems to me the fo­cus is off the scales and off a set of food rules that you must stick to, and more on mind­ful eat­ing.’’

‘ We should love that ev­ery day we get up, we breathe, we can walk... and it’s all be­cause of this body.’ LOT­TIE SIAOSI

DOMINICO ZA­P­ATA/STUFF

Lot­tie Siaosi, left, has ben­e­fited from the Kia Pua¯wai pro­gramme cre­ated by An­nah Stret­ton.

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