I was told back in January that I had a diagnosis of pre-diabetes and was referred to the NHS diabetes prevention programme. Due to the pandemic, they have obviously moved to a not face-to-face model, and I’ve been waiting for a course that didn’t clash with work.
I’ve been using the pandemic as an excuse to be lazy and eat poorly, and to be honest the timing could not be better. Not that I would anyway, but I couldn’t tell you what I weigh, as I haven’t weighed in for ages. I most definitely need a kick and to pull my finger out, so the fact that my first session has come around is perfect.
The course is a 9 month programme, with the first 6 sessions being held fortnightly. After that the sessions go monthly. The fortnightly sessions are to cover the basics of diabetes and nutrition and healthy lifestyle advice. You also have a 1:1 prior to the programme starting, and after it ends in order to review your progresss.
The first session was a chance for everyone to say what has got everyone to the point where they are on the programme. The other participants shared some really great motivations for taking part in the programme. Going around and hearing the major health concerns of diabetes was definitely a good and timely reminder. I think it’s easy to forget how serious the condition can be and the impact it can have on your health and in fact life.
Session one really covered what diabes is and about how the programme is going to help us to reverse our risk. My biggest take away from the first session was that the course leader/facilitator said she didn’t expect us to be perfect straight away. In fact, we are more likely to have more and longer lasting success if we change things slowly. For example cutting down from 3 slices of bread to two, or cutting down sugar in hot drinks by half a teaspoon. Going cold turkey on the good things will make things harder, and we may even struggle with cravings. I’m definitely feeling more positive having heard that this is the approach she is happy with. There are lots of small changes I can make (admittedly I may not make them all straight away) and it definitely feels more manageable and achievable to take a holistic approach to everything.
She also advised that our targets need to be SMART, which means:
So for example, saying I will exercise more is no good, but saying I will start exercising twice a week for half an hour is a good target as it is measurable and specific.
As well as setting targets for the whole course (for example a total weight loss or a change in your level of HbA1c), she also recommended setting a target for the next two weeks. I really like the idea of reviewing it from session to session, and again, making it more manageable by breaking it down into these bitesized (pun intended) chunks of time!
Here are the targets I am setting myself to do or achieve by the next session:
- Drink 2 bottles of water a day
- Cut down to 2 cans of Diet Coke a day
- Eat vegetables at least once a day
- Weigh in weekly (hiding my head in the sand will achieve nothing)
- Research some recipes and update my shopping list for my next delivery of groceries
I will let you know how I get on, and I hope that by writing down my progress I will be more accountable and have more success!