About the Program


Small Steps for Big Changes is a lifestyle counselling program that can help people make lasting dietary and exercise changes in order to lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.  The primary purpose of Small Steps for Big Changes is to help individuals make changes to their exercise and diet and to stick to these changes long-term.

Small Steps for Big Changes is a personalized, one-on-one, 3-week training and counselling program.  Individuals will engage in exercise and one-on-one counselling sessions and practice making changes at home throughout these three weeks. Individuals will participate in various types of aerobic exercise, including exercise at a steady pace for 20-30 minutes, and interval exercise that involves alternating between bouts of up to 1 minute of brisk activity and 1 minute of light activity for 12-15 minutes.


Program length

Small Steps for Big Changes consists of fifteen sessions. Six of the fifteen sessions will be performed at the YMCA (downtown location: #1011 – 505 Doyle Ave, Kelowna BC) and the remaining nine sessions will be completed independently (non-supervised). A complementary 1-month gym pass to use at any local YMCA will be provided. Any exercise sessions to be performed on their own time may be completed within the YMCA, or at home if preferred. The non-supervised sessions allow individuals to practice exercising on their own. After the program has been completed, our team will follow-up at 1-month, 6-months, and 12-months to see how the lifestyle changes are going. Our team of trainers will also be supporting participants throughout the 12 months through an interactive mobile app that will be provided free of charge.

The total time commitment for this program is approximately 10 hours over the course of 13 months. The majority of the visits are at the YMCA and most of the time commitment takes place over the first 3 weeks during the supervised counselling and exercise training period.

The program is ongoing with monthly intake.


Does this program work?

The Small Steps for Big Changes program has been examined in our laboratory at the University of British Columbia (http://hepl.ok.ubc.ca/) with over 140 people at risk for type 2 diabetes. We examined whether individuals who are not exercising regularly enjoyed Small Steps for Big Changes, and if the program helps individuals to stick to exercise in the long run. We found that adults who are not exercising regularly and who are at risk for type 2 diabetes enjoyed the Small Steps for Big Changes exercise training. When we followed up, we also found that majority of individuals continued to be physically active months after the program ended.  Those who participated in the Small Steps for Big Changes program also improved their fitness levels, showed evidence of reduced inflammation, decreased their waist circumference and experienced weight loss.


Who can participate in Small Steps for Big Changes?

Patients must be between the ages of 18 and 65 and at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. They must also be able to read and comprehend English, and have a BMI between 25 and 40 kg/m2.


Who should not participate?

The program might not be appropriate for all individuals. Patients will not be eligible to participate in the Small Steps for Big Changes program if they:

  1. have a heart condition and have been advised by you to limit physical activity.
  2. have chest pain when performing any physical activity.
  3. lose their balance or consciousness because of dizziness.
  4. have bone or joint problem (for example, back, knee, or hip) that could be made worse by a change in physical activity.
  5. hypertension that is not controlled by medication (systolic blood pressure (BP) >160 mmHg and/or diastolic BP >99 mmHg).
  6. have type 2 diabetes.
  7. have had a change in medications (e.g., statins, acarbose, anti-depressants) in the previous 3 months.
  8. have prior history of cardio- or cerebrovascular disease, myocardial infarction, or stroke.
  9. are pregnant or planning to become pregnant in the next 12 months.
  10. have uncontrolled major depressive episodes.

Have questions about eligibility? Please Contact Us