"I even close my restaurant to ensure I can attend. It's that important."
Kuldeep has the recipe for success
With a new-born daughter and two businesses to look after, 39-year-old chef, Kuldeep Raj from Bexhill, understandably had a lot on his plate. When he began to feel unwell he had a blood test which revealed he had high cholesterol and a high risk of diabetes.
"As a busy father and business owner I was eating anything really, especially things like rice and bread, but it was still a shock to get such a diagnosis," he said.
Kuldeep's GP offered him a place on the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme and he jumped at the chance.
"My mum has diabetes so there's a predisposition in the family."
Delivered by Ingeus, the programme aims to support those at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes so they can reduce that risk, delay it, or even avoid getting diabetes altogether.
"I like the group setting. It really helps to share our progress and ideas, plus the educator, Jo is great. She made it all really easy to understand and apply. As a chef I know how to make tasty meals but I can't say I was educated on the effects each food group has on our bodies. I learned how much we need of each category and the importance of portion sizes. Jo didn't suggest crash dieting; instead, she suggested we start slowly to let healthier eating become a normal part of life. It's more of a lifestyle change.
"Because stress was a big influence on my diet, it was so helpful to get some insight into that. Jo made a good point that while stress can lead us to eat and drink more, we usually still feel stressed afterwards. She made some great suggestions on alternative ways to cope."
Kuldeep has reduced his portions, increased his veg consumption and is now more mindful about stress-eating. He's lost 13kg in three months and his blood sugar has returned to a safe level.
"I'm so pleased. I feel very healthy and very happy. Even better, when I visited my family in India they were so inspired by my results that now they are following my example!
"I would tell anyone who's had a diagnosis like mine; if you don't join you will lose out. I definitely recommend the programme. I'm so dedicated that I even close my restaurant to ensure I can attend. It's that important. I'm looking forward to enjoying my children as long as I can."
Ingeus educator, Jo Redfearn added: "Kuldeep has been so committed to learn all he can to improve his health and his achievements are testament to that. He demonstrates how the NDPP can support our participants to make lifestyle changes that pay off - not only for the individual but for their families too. Behaviour change in one person can have an amazing ripple effect. "