New EASO Patient Council Member: Lenka Vymlatilova
Please tell us who you are and a bit about yourself:
My name is Lenka and I have two nice daughters, 6 and 8 years old and a very kind husband. I also have my dream job. I have been working for STOB society (Stop to Obesity) since 2009 and we help many people with healthy weight reduction not only by changing nutrition and movement habits but we also teach them how to change their thinking patterns. The psychological aspect of weight reduction is specific for STOB.
Tell us a bit about your country and where you live:
I live in the Czech Republic, in “the heart of Europe”. Our capital is Prague – the city is of hundered spires but I live near to the second largest city Brno. The most visited sights in Brno are Špilberk castle or the functionalist Villa Tugendhat which has been included on the UNESCO list. Annually in June, Brno holds the biggest festival Ignis Brunensis which is the international fireworks competition. One of the most famous natural sights nearby is the Moravian Karst.
Share some of your favourite things (activities, hobbies, interests)
I spend my leisure time especially with my husband and daughters. We love nature and movement so we go cycling, walking, swimming etc. I like visiting my friends and theirs children and we spent time together just by talking or playing some ethnic instruments. My work is also my big hobby. Constantly I read articles and books about nutrition and healthy life.
What your experience of obesity has been:
I was always overweight child and teenager. I struggled with my higher weight and I was on diet from my 15 to 25 years of age. The result was that I had 10 kilos more and I suffered from the big psychological problems. For long 10 years I alternated time of different crazy diets and time when I suffered from overeating. Because of my problems with weight I chose to study the Chemistry of food at University to understand better my personal problems and help myself. But I was not successful.
When I was about 25 years old I heard about STOB´s weight reduction courses. Thanks to them, I started to change my eating habits and to think about my body and health in different way.
Today I am 38 years old and the same weight as when I was 15. I am happy because my weight is stable in spite of life changes that are commonly connected with weight growing (change of job, two pregnancies, maternity leave etc.)
STOB society changed my personal life and also my work life because I decided to spread their thoughts about healthy weight reduction. In 2009 I graduated their training program for lectures in cognitive behavioral approach to overweight and obesity therapy and I started to work as a lector. Till now I have helped to 350 clients to reduce more than 1250kilos.
Because people spend more and more time on internet and social medias we started to realize internet project for public to help people with weight reduction and healthy lifestyle. In 2017 we made the HEATLHY YEAR project and this year (2018) we realize project called CHALLENGE 52. The project offers easy and achievable tasks via short information videos every Monday. Each video is complemented with one expert article, one blog, and one recipe. You can see our teamwork on the website: https://vimeo.com/262980615
How you currently advocate for patients and hope to advocate for patients in the future:
My role as a patient representative is a new one, I have joined the Patient Council this year (2018). There is a lot to learn, at first to get to know everybody, to talk with everybody and to try to find ways how to help people.
I am convinced that our STOB organization has lots of experience and does many really interesting projects so we can inspire other colleagues. And I am prepared to get experience and inspiration from others what to do in a new and better way in our country. I think that we should use internet and social media and try to communicate with public by using attractive and funny programs that must be also in a professional level. I think that´s a good way how to effectively influence many, many people. It doesn´t matter what we think about the fact if it is right or not to spend lots of time on the Internet. The Important thing is that millions of people consume it and we can use it for good things.
I am looking forward to meeting everyone in Vienna!