Like many of us Denise leads a very busy life. With two children under five, the demands of work and everyday responsibilities, heading to gym each week and eating healthier can often seem like a pipedream. After experiencing gestational diabetes, a form of high blood sugar affecting pregnant women, Denise was at serious risk of developing type 2 diabetes and knew she had to act.

“I have previously joined a local gym, but it didn’t last. On top of that I wasn’t eating well and my weight and health suffered,” Denise explains.

Late last year Denise sought support and advice from her local doctor about losing weight and reducing her risk of developing diabetes. She was referred to healthAbility’s Dietitian Brodie, who recommended Denise sign up for the Healthy Eating Active Lifestyle (HEAL™) program. HEAL™ is specifically designed for people who are overweight, living with a chronic disease or at risk of developing a chronic disease, such as type 2 diabetes.

The HEAL™ program aims to develop lifelong healthy lifestyle habits. Each week participants undertake one hour of supervised group-based low to moderate intensity physical activity followed by a one hour group-based healthy lifestyle education class.

“The program helps participants to identify ways they can improve their current eating or activity habits. It then provides them with the structure and support to make these changes when they are ready to do so,” Brodie explains.

“The balance of learning about healthy eating and exercise in the one program really appealed to me. Everything was very easy to understand and although I thought I knew certain things about foods, I learnt so much more,” Denise says.

The program offers a supportive environment, smart, practical tips and is delivered by trained health professionals.

“I am much healthier now,” Denise says. “All the tips I discovered are easy, small things that add up across each day. Like eating mindfully and savouring each bite, rather than eating mindlessly and consuming more. Or doing simple stand-up/sit-down exercises during the ad breaks when watching TV.”

“There are many tips that participants pick up from the program, not only from the health professionals, but also from the other participants,” Brodie says.

HEAL™ provides a great setting for participants to share their experiences over the course of the program. They can then continue with their new found healthy habits and share their knowledge with family and friends.

“There has been a good roll on effect,” Denise explains. “My children are eating healthier and understand the concept of ‘sometimes’ foods. I found myself passing on advice and tips to my friends and family, which I had learnt during the program. I have a greater understanding of what a healthy lifestyle really looks like and how making these simple changes can really make a difference.”

Best of all, Denise has greatly decreased her risk of developing type 2 diabetes and has taken control of her own health and wellbeing.

Go to the HEAL™ page for further program information.