Shirley Spurgeon, from Southborough in Tunbridge Wells (pictured above), joined the NHS Healthier You Diabetes Prevention Programme run by Xyla Health & Wellbeing in April 2021 after being told that she was prediabetic.
As an avid tennis player with a healthy body mass index (BMI), the 77-year-old was shocked to learn she could develop type 2 diabetes if she failed to make lifestyle changes.
“I had high cholesterol and tried to bring it down with healthy eating but with little success,” she said.
“I have never worried about weight, but the inches had gone on around my waist without realising it.
“I was so surprised when I was told I was prediabetic. I tried to make some changes alone but soon realised I needed help and advice.”
Shirley, who has two children and six grandchildren, received support to help control her carbohydrate intake, make healthy food swaps, and manage stress levels.
“Diet-wise, I felt most challenged during the evenings when I was tired or bored. Having the group sessions to motivate me has helped overcome my evening cravings.
“My blood sugar has dropped, and I am no longer prediabetic. I am now just focusing on maintaining it.
“I’m so impressed with the course; it has really worked for me. I lost four inches around my waist, I’ve got plenty of energy and I’m still playing tennis.
“If you are prediabetic, don’t ignore it as it is one of the few things you can turn around.”
Dr Rebecca Prince, GP Clinical Lead for Diabetes for Kent and Medway, said: “Some of us are more at risk of type 2 diabetes than others and your risk is increased if you have a family history of diabetes, are over 40, are from certain ethnic groups, or are overweight.
“If you think you may be at risk of diabetes, it’s important to speak to your GP practice about having a blood test to see if you have what we call prediabetes or even diabetes itself.
“If you have prediabetes, there is a lot we can do to reduce your risk of developing diabetes. There are evidence-based programmes we can refer you to, and we can put you in touch with other organisations that can help make lifestyle changes to reduce your risk.