Wednesday 14 November is World Diabetes Day – every year we use this day as an opportunity to internationally promote the issues most important in the world of diabetes.
There is strong international evidence which demonstrates how behavioural interventions, which support people to maintain a healthy weight and be more active, can significantly reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
The Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NHS DPP) identifies those at high risk and refers them onto a behaviour change programme.
I started taking part in the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) after speaking with the practice nurse at my GP Surgery as I was concerned about my weight – and I’m glad that I did.
The DPP has had an enormous impact on my life, both physically and mentally. I’ve lost over 15kg, dropped two dress sizes and my blood pressure’s gone down. My knees hurt less and my overall fitness has also improved. I can now swim for much longer than I could previously.
But most importantly, I have more energy now. I spend more time socialising with my friends and less time sitting in front of the TV. I also feel so much better about myself, knowing now that I have the will power and determination to look after my body and myself.
When I joined the programme I received weekly guidance through that meant I could phase small changes into my lifestyle, rather than a huge change all at once. This information helped me understand the impact of good food and exercise choices on my body and enabled me to identify what I needed to change.
My only concern when joining the program was that the changes to my diet would mean I would feel hungry all the time. However, I learned about slow energy releasing foods and thinking about the changes I made as a lifestyle change rather than a diet. So it has become about a new way of living, rather than the sole goal of numbers on the scale.
Though it was lovely getting lots of compliments from my housemates and work colleagues on the changes in my appearance, as it meant all the hard work was now visible to others. I also have so many more options when it comes to shopping for clothes..
The DPP has been truly life changing for me. I had a high Body Mass Index for years and this programme really made the difference and put me back in charge of my health, both physically and mentally.
To anyone considering the program, I say just have a ‘can do’ attitude and give it a go! Look for opportunities and not obstacles. It’s a lot easier to try and find one new small thing every week from the programme that you can incorporate into your daily life - little by little change will happen. If you want to try something but don’t know how ask the staff - they have great suggestions and can adapt things to meet your needs e.g. chair exercises, apps you can download.
Just believe in yourself! You can take charge and make a real difference to your own health.