Diabetes Qld lucky door prize changes Jan’s life

Jan Ward says winning a six-month gym membership at the Diabetes Queensland EXPOsing Diabetes event on the Gold Coast has changed her and her husband's lives.


"I haven't been the best patient," says Jan, 60, who was diagnosed with type 2 when she was 42. She also had high blood pressure and cholesterol.


"My mum, aunt, grandmother and cousins on Mum's side all had type 2 diabetes so it wasn't a big surprise when I was diagnosed."


Jan loves to cook and entertain, and following a healthy diet was often a bridge too far.


Standing 160cm, Jan weighed 74kg at her heaviest. When she started at the Milon Premium Health Club at Main Beach in December, she weighed about 65kg. About four months later, she now weighs 62kg but says she has completely changed shape.


"I only have to go to the gym two or three times a week to get results," says Jan.


"I was losing my core strength before I started exercising and the increase in my physical strength is really noticeable to me.


"I've always had thin arms and legs, but the padding went on around my stomach.


"Now at this weight and with this level of fitness, I'm much better proportioned and a completely different dress size."


Jan and her husband Phil are just back from a couple of weeks in Japan and plan to tour Europe later this year.


"I'm an early childhood teacher and that's my passion," Jan says. "I want to continue teaching 4-year-olds for as long as I possibly can, and to do that I have to be able to keep up with them. It's physical work sometimes.


"But I also love to travel. To lift suitcases off and on trains and conveyor belts, you have to be strong.


"Everything is better because I'm stronger."


Jan says she has done the wrong thing with exercise in the past and "started at 99 miles per hour, then burned out.


"I've also had experiences with young women trainers in their 20s who were all about the body beautiful and tight leotards," she says.


"The trainer I'm with now, Matt Wrattan, who is the exercise physiologist who presented at the EXPOsing Diabetes event, is delightful. He's so kind and gentle and has inspired my journey.


"I knew from the beginning that I could trust him.


"I'm so pleased I've found him. Good diet and exercise are important for everyone but especially for people with diabetes."


Jan said the day she and Phil spent at Diabetes EXPOsing was "awesome".


"It was a positive and upbeat day, and it gave me the support I needed to think outside the square.


"I've often had holidays from my diabetes, where I'll think about it tomorrow.


"My doctors are shocked at the way I've turned things around.


"I'm actually looking forward to doing more. I see people in their 70s and 80s walking into the gym and it inspires me. They're doing such a great job.


"The whole experience just makes me feel good."

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