Nadia’s journey on becoming a type 2 diabetes Peer Mentor

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Nadia, one of our amazing Peer Mentors, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2018. Read her story on how she overcame her challenges of managing the condition through Covid and how she took back control of her health.

‘When I was diagnosed, I felt helpless, worried and worried about falling into trouble if I eat delicious food.

I understood the symptoms and effects eating more carbs, generally eating unhealthily and not exercising had on my body, so after I was diagnosed I started swimming and going to the gym regularly. I loved going to the gym near to my workplace – it helped to bring my blood sugar levels down, but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit they had to close. I tried another gym, but the space was too big so I swam instead. It was working really well until everything closed for the lockdown. It felt as though things went downhill from there.

Then gradually, I bought home exercise equipment to set up my own gym at home. I particularly like using dumb bells and a cross trainer. As well as exercising at home, I used self-composed hypnotic guidance audio exercises. In terms of food, I try to balance the amount of carbs I eat.

When I was first diagnosed, my diabetic nurse explained the condition to me and gave me dietary advice and guidance. They also provided me with advice around exercise and weight loss. It has been difficult at times to stick to my weight loss and exercise plans because of other health conditions that I have, family commitments and Covid restrictions, but I’m keen to get back to swimming and in the gym as soon as my GP gives me the go ahead!

The three things I find are key to managing my diabetes condition long term are:

  • Being mindful of my daily carb intake
  • Not being too hard on myself if I end up having more carbs on certain days. Tomorrow is a new day and you can always try again!
  • Never giving up on improving and increasing the exercise I do.

I wanted to become a mentor because I think that it opens your mind to healthier choices and ways to improve your health – both for you and your mentee. I feel that it also improves inclusion in workplaces when it comes to individuals with health conditions, so no one is left behind. Much of what I do as a mentor feeds into my professional life, and I like to incorporate it in the Human Resource work I do.

With my first mentee, I found someone like me! It was great supporting someone who was going through similar daily struggles. We manage our diabetes in our own ways, but I was able to help her manage daily exercising and making healthy food choices, taking into account life’s stresses. Even though I was their mentor, I learnt a few new tips from them. I realised mentoring keeps you more aware of your own and your mentees choices. It may prevent future complications. It gives me confidence and a sense of a social network with my fellow mentors.

For anyone who has been recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or is struggling with it, I would tell them to never give up. It is a journey of achieving different levels of goals; sometimes you fail a lot too in constantly eating healthily and exercising daily/weekly. However, it is about picking yourself up, speaking up for yourself and getting the self-belief and motivation to exercise and eat healthy regularly as much as you can. Gain ideas from others too, if possible, by becoming a mentor!’

Inspired by Nadia’s story and would like to help others? Join our amazing team of type 2 diabetes Peer Mentors and apply today!

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