Katharine Wykes - Lytham St Annes

Date posted: 24th May 2022 Katharine Wykes - Lytham St Annes thumbnail image

Speaking on the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, participant Katharine Wykes said:

“Don’t give up. The process can take time but now I’m in control and I feel grateful for being diagnosed early enough to change this.”

Katharine, from Lytham St Annes, never believed she was in serious danger of becoming a Type 2 diabetic, stating:


“I had always thought I could be at risk due to being overweight and having a very sweet tooth but had never been told there were any issues, so I thought I’m getting away with it but obviously not!”


After a routine blood test identified that she had an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, Katharine was shocked and confused.


“I didn’t understand what it all meant and thought I was going to become diabetic. My mind was in overdrive! How on earth have I managed to let this happen to myself? I felt angry.”


On learning about her risk of diabetes, Katharine was initially informed of the Healthier You programme by her GP but initially panicked and turned down the offer of support.


 “My initial plan was to try and fix this on my own but, after spending some time looking into it, I found myself getting confused with all the information online and conflicting advice.”


Still unsure what being at risk meant or how to prevent diabetes, Katherine decided to ask for help.


“I went back to my GP who suggested help was available and that’s how I found out about the programme. I was referred directly and contacted straight away.”


Before her first session, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown struck. This meant that group sessions had to be conducted remotely which was a benefit to Katharine.


 “I was fine to do it online and the ease of doing it this way from my own home was a big plus.”


Katharine, who has a Masters in Charity Management, found the pace of the programme also added to its’ impact.


“I really liked that the programme became a consistent part of my life with a session every 3 weeks and kept my health at the front of my mind. I found this drip feed of information much easier to take onboard and learned at a pace that suited me.”


Katharine, now a semi-retired charity consultant, found the information provided by her educator Mike was not overwhelming and said:


“The information was pitched at the right level to make it easy to understand, but also challenged me with new information.”


Dog-lover Katharine who lives alone has also enjoyed being a part of the group environment and has enjoyed learning about ways to increase activity at home.

“I picked up some great tips from the group members sharing our successes and challenges. One tip I now use is to only use the bathroom upstairs, so simple but so effective”


In the past, Katharine has had many ups and downs when trying to lose weight and live healthily, explaining:


“My dieting past has always led to a yo-yo effect and I really didn’t want this to happen with diabetes. I have now managed to control my sweet tooth and the amazing thing is, I don’t crave sugar as much!”


Over the course of the programme, Katharine has manged to reduce her HBA1C from 42 to 40 and has lost two stone since June 2020.


“I feel one of the most important changes from attending the programme has come from my improved awareness of how to maintain my health.” 


Now that Katharine has completed the course, she knows what she needs to do to stay on track and has started to take responsibility by setting daily goals and targets.


“I did have apprehensions about the programme coming to an end. My intention is to maintain all the positive changes I have made by sticking to the basic principles that the programme has taught me.”


Monitoring her progress has also become a habitual part of her life to stay on track as she explains:


 “I now weigh myself regularly and I also use my Fitbit to monitor my steps and compete against friends as extra motivation to achieve my personal goals. Having this type of data keeps me on my toes…and who doesn’t like some friendly competition!”


On reflection of her time on the programme and since being diagnosed as pre diabetic, Katharine had this to say to those who might be hesitant:


“Looking back, I didn’t need to be scared about being pre diabetic but the potential seriousness gave me the kick to start the process and look for help.  I have now realised that, with the right help and support from a programme like this, risk of diabetes can be reversed.”


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