John's journey to beat type 2 diabetes

John has attended the NHS Diabetes Prevention programme with Xyla Health & Wellbeing in Canterbury and has seen some amazing changes since starting his journey. He has been happy to share with us some of his experiences and results. 


What did you find useful about the group sessions? What stood out for you in your sessions?

I found it quite interesting. I read through the booklets briefly beforehand but what I found most encouraging was listening to the other group members’ experiences. They all had different perspectives from mine, especially those who were quite overweight. For instance, when we spoke about ways to incorporate exercise, one man wanted to do an extra 15 minutes walking per day. They found this just challenging enough, whereas for me this would be too little of a change. It was great to see everyone try in their own way and to have a sense of community.

What changes did you make to your lifestyle, e.g. exercise routine, dietary, habits…?

I already got plenty of exercise as I work on large land, doing tree maintenance. So, I varied in weight very little, as I did a lot of exercise already. I realised diet was the way forward. My wife and I sat down and discussed the changes we could make with food. It was helpful to have her supporting me. Regarding changes, I went from white to brown bread, changed to no added sugar jam and no added sugar orange squash. After a few months I got used to everything and noticed it worked. So from the getgo we had a solid plan of making small changes that I could stick to. Again, it was such an advantage having my wife as social support, I would really recommend for others to get their partners involved. 


What was your favourite part of the programme, why?

I enjoyed the stress management component; I was not aware of how stress affected diabetes. I also learnt a lot about the diet side and how to reduce sugar intake. I recognised I had to be more careful with this. Talking about diet and making SMART changes made a big difference. It was very good coaching over the phone; the coaches did well. They used the mute button as a tool to select who answers the questions and got people to join in more. It was really well managed. 

What changes have you seen in any measurements that have been taken? E.g. HBa1c, waist measurement, weight, clothes size etc…

I saw a lot of success. On June 2019 my HBA1c was 40. On October 2019 it went up to 42 and I was put on the programme. I got tested this year in June and September 2021. My score was back down to 40 both times.