People will only benefit from the Life! program. All they need to bring with them is a positive attitude.”

BenBen joined the Life! program after a GP screening showed that he was pre-diabetic. Being sent for an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test provided him with the motivation he needed to take action.

“Luckily the test came back normal, and I vowed never to have to take one again. I was concerned about the statistics of the number of people who have heart attacks and strokes, plus I have a family history of diabetes. My main reason for participating in the Life! program was to improve my knowledge so that I could keep in good condition and prevent illness. Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease are avoidable, and it seems a shame to get things you can avoid.”

Ben found that his Life! program phone coach’s approach suited him. “The reinforcement aspect was very good, and I found the structure of the sessions straightforward: it was ‘Let’s have an update, tell me how you feel and then let’s set new goals’.”

As soon as Ben started to acquire knowledge from his Life! coach, he acted upon it. “I increased my exercise – in fact I doubled it – and I bought kettlebells to use at home. I changed my diet to one that’s consistent with low sugar, low fat and high fibre.”

Ben hasn’t found making these lifestyle modifications difficult. “I don’t miss eating cakes and biscuits, in fact probably my biggest single learning from Life! has been how ugly the sweetness can be once you are no longer regularly eating a high-sugar diet. These days I’m happier eating fruits, vegetables and legumes. Now I understand how to get the best out of food.

“Increasing my exercise has made me feel better too. I do a desk job, so I make sure that I walk for 45 minutes during my lunch break. It helps me mentally and physically.”

Although Ben didn’t consider himself to be unfit before joining the Life! program, he has seen improvements since participating in it. “My weight has decreased almost incidentally as a result of my lifestyle changes, and I’ve lost 5cm from my waist. When I look in the mirror I see more trimness, and I’m feeling really good about that.

“In fact, I’m feeling really good in general. “I would certainly recommend the Life! program to anyone who’s at high risk of getting type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease. In fact, the program would benefit anyone as it focuses on the values of healthy eating and exercise.”