"The benefits to me personally have been so good that I am now involving my wife to help her physical wellbeing too.”
Hi, my name is Ken Stonehall. I am 61 years old. I have recently enrolled on the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme delivered by Living Well Taking Control. This is my experience so far:
During 2016 I was aware that I needed to do something about my weight, so I decided to take action and start setting my own goals. My bloods have always been monitored by my GPs due to my family’s health history and things were going well in keeping my sugar levels in check. However, during 2016 my bloods showed an increase in sugar levels placing me in the pre-diabetic range. I was concerned, having not had an issue before. The Practice Nurse suggested that I considered attending a Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme delivered by Living Well Taking Control. I am aware of the health issues that can arise related to diabetes, so I thought “why not? I've got nothing to lose and I may learn something.”
I was contacted by the course facilitator, the content and commitments of the course were made clear to me and I decided to go ahead.
I found the course to be everything I had expected – and more. Each week in the group session we were given information on different subjects. That broke it into digestible chunks, making the information easy to take on board. On top of that there was monitoring of everyone’s individual state, including blood pressure, sugar levels, weight, etc, so that personal progress could be measured. This was invaluable in reinforcing the good work that the participants were putting in. It was done discreetly, so that no-one was made to feel uncomfortable, and was preceded by a goal setting process that was unique to each person and could be set at a level each person was happy with. The monitoring will take place over a full 12 month period thus allowing people time to adjust to the transition in their personal lifestyle habits.
All of the above would have been worth the time invested in the course. However it was the softer elements of the programme that I readily adapted to. The facilitator was very committed to the programme in an approachable, professional and friendly way that removed the possibility of it being a course where people felt that they were being lectured to. We were given additional information and support that went beyond the basic content. This took the form of an active interest in each member’s personal situation and providing suggestions that suited each individual’s needs - whether it was how to approach physical activity, or dietary concerns. There were discussions on possible food types to try and recipes that could be of use to people. Most importantly I felt was that there was no pressure to perform. It was highlighted that there are no wrongs and rights in dietary content, for instance. The information offered was good guidance on what was suitable and what was not, with great emphasis on proportion size and good eating regimes.
Exercise too was to prove important. The facilitator was able to give advice on warm up regimes and stretching activities. In my own case these proved to be really useful. Discussions on the types of exercise and time restraints helped me to tailor my own regime to great effect.
The result was that my initial goal was to get down to twelve stones by the end of 2016, which I achieved. This proved to me anything was possible and I have now set new goals for 2017.
I lost weight, without pursuing any strange dietary regimes, by making small tweaks to my portion sizes, reducing my intake of sugars and by taking regular exercise in the form of walking. Now I have become adjusted to my new regime I am capable of expanding my exercise. In 2017 I plan to include some additional aerobic exercise and take up swimming again to continue to develop on the themes that the course has given me.
I believe that if all the courses are run in the same supportive manner, the programme has got to be a great success and everyone taking part can only benefit from it.