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 you make changes to your 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.  You will engage in exercise and one-on-one counselling sessions during these three weeks, and practice making changes at home throughout the 3 weeks. You will participate in various types of aerobic exercise, including exercise at a steady pace for 25-50 minutes, and interval exercise that involves alternating between 1 minute of brisk activity and 1 minute of light activity for 15-25 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 you will complete on your own (non-supervised). You will receive a complementary 1-month gym pass to use at any local YMCA. Any exercise sessions to be performed on your own time may be completed within the YMCA, or at your home if you would prefer. The non-supervised sessions will allow you to practice exercising on your own. After you have completed the program our team will follow-up with you at 1-month, 6-months, and 12-months to see how your lifestyle changes are going. Our team of trainers will also be supporting you throughout the 12 months through an interactive mobile app that you will receive free of charge when you join this program.

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?

You may be able to participate in this study if you are between the ages of 18 and 65, and are at risk for type 2 diabetes. You must also be able to read and comprehend English, and have a BMI between 25 and 40 kg/m2.


Who should not participate?

You will not be eligible to participate in this study if:

  1. your doctor has informed you that you have a heart condition and should only do physical activity recommended by a doctor.
  2. you feel pain in your chest when you perform any physical activity.
  3. in the past the month you have had chest pain when you were not doing any physical activity.
  4. you lose your balance or consciousness because of dizziness.
  5. you have bone or joint problem (for example, back, knee, or hip) that could be made worse by a change in your physical activity which your doctor has not cleared you for to exercise.
  6. you have hypertension that is not controlled by medication (systolic blood pressure (BP) >160 mmHg and/or diastolic BP >99 mmHg).
  7. you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
  8. You have had a change in medications (e.g., statins, acarbose, anti-depressants) in the previous 3 months.
  9. You have prior history of cardio- or cerebrovascular disease, myocardial infarction, or stroke.
  10. you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant in the next 12 months.
  11. you have an uncontrolled major depressive episode.

Want to assess your diabetes risk? Take the test. Take the type 2 diabetes risk assessment

Think you are eligible and want to join the program? Please Contact Us