My journey started in May 2016 when I had a blood test which confirmed I was a type 2 diabetic. I was devastated and realised that my lifestyle was probably to blame. I was certain that I did not want to take medication and that my health was my responsibility. I needed to make changes, and I was determined to turn my diagnosis around. This is actually possible.
What did you do?
I immediately changed my eating habits and whilst waiting for a blood test at one of the surgeries, I saw a slide about the Eden Project’s walking group for diabetics. I decided that this was going to be good for me, to meet other people who also had diabetes and get some exercise in beautiful surroundings. I made contact with Hayley, the Social Prescribing Navigator for St Austell Healthcare, and she encouraged me to go to Eden the following week and start walking. I have continued every week since then. I have trained to become a walk leader which is another very good incentive to turn up. I really enjoy walking every week with the company of fellow diabetics whom I now class as friends. I feel inspired by being at Eden, it is quite hard to put it into words but it feels like you are almost part of a family – there is a really sense of a community amongst the staff, volunteers and even the visitors. Being in nature also really helps my sense of well-being. You can marvel at what is around you – big or small and have a moment of awe and wonder, it helps to clear my head of any worries. I smelt the Daphne’s whilst on a walk recently, they smelt so good I went home and planted some in my own garden!
The walking, along with other exercises such as short circuit training for over 55s and a healthy low carb diet, has improved my health, weight and general well-being so much. I have lost over two stone in weight. My last HbA1c blood test showed that I have moved out of the diabetic and pre-diabetic range. I was so excited to see what I had achieved. Hayley was as delighted as I was! I am very aware that I cannot become complacent and need to keep the motivation going. During this journey I am volunteering with many organisations and my life is busy as I weave in my various roles, but I am so happy and am enjoying my life very much. I am now ready to support others on their diabetic journey. If you have a diabetic diagnosis, then it is never too late to start making changes just ask for support.
Vanetta started with the Social Prescribing Programme in December 2016.
At her 12 months review:
WEMWBS increased from 56– 62
BMI reduced from 30.8–24.8 (obese to normal weight)
HbA1c reduced from 44–38 mmol/mol
Vanetta has reduced her blood sugar levels from diabetic to normal within 1 year.