Virgin Care in Bath and North East Somerset is offering a number of free places on a diabetes self-management course starting on Monday 7th January.
The six week ‘X-PERT’ diabetes course helps people with type 2 diabetes learn more about the condition and how to manage it better themselves.
The next session takes place from 6pm to 8.30pm at Bath Central United Reformed Church and is run by Virgin Care’s Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES) Community Health and Care Services.
You can join the X-PERT course via the Virgin Care Healthy Lifestyle Service Hub by telephoning 0300 247043 or emailing BATHNES.firstname.lastname@example.org
If you can’t make the first X-PERT course on 7th January, some 20 more courses will be available during the year on different days and times of the week in various venues around B&NES.
One of the successful participants on a previous X-PERT diabetes course in B&NES is Irlene Cooper, who has significantly improved her own health.
She explained: “With a BMI of 22.5 I didn’t believe I was overweight or obese. My GP did a general over 65s check-up and I found out I had type 2 diabetes.
“I was surprised as I didn’t have any symptoms. I was put on medication by the GP. My local nurse recommended some diabetes courses and I chose X-PERT.
“I learned about the approach to food. I thought the Mediterranean diet would suit me. I know I was doing stupid things on portion size. I now have smaller plate. The fish I would buy with batter on at the fish and chip shop but I now eat lots of fresh fish and vegetables.
“Instead of potatoes I have butternut squash or celeriac. I found roast celeriac was a great alternative to roast potato that won’t spike your blood sugar. They also taught us how to read food labels.
“I learned that fats aren’t necessarily bad for you, so I was told I can have fats like olive oil and butter in moderation. I have a sweet tooth and like sweets and I’m addicted to chocolate.
“I don’t deprive myself of everything so I still eat chocolate – but with 85% cocoa. I don’t drink a lot of alcohol just the odd glass of wine on a weekend. ”
Irlene found it helpful to tackle her type 2 diabetes with the help of the course leader and other people in the group.
She said: “A GP can only give you a short consultation. This course ran for 2.5 hours for six weeks with the opportunity to go back and ask questions the following week.
“The encouragement from the course leader and fellow students really helped with motivation. The experience of other people who were on the course was inspirational because some of them had had a lot of experience of diabetes before. I have kept in touch with other people on the course.
Irlene is inspirational herself. In addition to addressing her eating habits she also took up jogging on a regular basis.
“I have lost around 10 kilos. When I started the course my HBA1C score was 65. My score has now gone down to 46. My cholesterol has improved and my blood pressure is also better. I am quite chuffed.
“Other people have complimented me and said that I look good. I feel good about myself and feel that I have achieved something. I am motivated to keep going to keep my score down.”