Monika Benefits from Lifestyle Medicine

Monika Raikatalau of Lololo Pine Station in the interior of Lautoka has been struggling with her weight for years.

With it came many related risks to her health including joint and back problems, chest pains, asthma, shortness of breath and of course her continuous struggle to keep up with her daily activities because her weight that restricts her movement.

According to the 40 year-old, she started experiencing changes to her health after finally deciding to change her lifestyle. She adopted new lifestyle after the implementation of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA)’s Live More Abundantly (LMA) program.

The 7 weeks program included educational lectures on healthy lifestyle, cooking and demonstration of plant based food, home gardening and physical activities as well as healthy diet through a jump start program.

“I have witnessed great changes in my life through this lifestyle medicine and after 7 weeks of following the program, I have decided to continue with it because of its positive impacts,” Monika said.

The lady from Noco in Rewa is guardian to four children, a responsibility she has taken up after the death of her sister.

“I used to be very big and I have noticed that I have lost weight and I am able to move around freely and have become active also. I couldn’t sit cross legged before but not it has become possible. Taking lunches to school was always a struggle for me climbing up the hill but I don’t have any problem now and I no longer experience shortness of breath,” Monika said.

“I am also an asthmatic person, previously I used to have at least 6-7 inhalers a month which is now reduced to only one. Also in the middle of the night, I used to wake up with severe chest pain and shortness of breath and I am grateful that I have noticed drastic changes now.

“So at the end of the 7 weeks, I have decided to adopt these healthy lifestyle including changing my diet such as having little or no sugar at all, reduced my salt intake and eat more vegetables and fruits or plant based food instead of processes food.”

According to Monika, the program has also changed the taste bud of her children who are now preferring plant based food for lunch than the usual processed food before.

“The good thing about this project is that the fact that it’s implemented in this community – the Lololo Pine Station, so everyone is adopting this healthy lifestyle. I am at ease because my children are not the only one who have done away with processed food but nearly all children from this community.”

Monika has thanked ADRA Fiji for introducing this program in their community.

The LMA program is part of the Fiji Circular Economy for Healthy Lifestyle Project supported by ADRA Australia. The project aims to promote a healthy environment and lifestyle to be able to respond to the risks of non-communicable diseases and other health threats.

With an aim to guide people living in rural areas on healthy lifestyles, one of its key targets is to identify volunteers, facilitators and health professionals and conduct facilitators training on LMA to lead the good health practices at community level.

The project is being implemented in 10 communities in the Western and Central Division.

  • The article is written based on the experience of Monika Raikatalau, a beneficiary of our Program.