About the Program


Small Steps for Big Changes is an evidence-based lifestyle program designed to help you make lasting lifestyle changes to lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Learn how to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine, and to make sustainable dietary changes.


How does the program work?

The free program is offered monthly at the Kelowna Downtown YMCA and the Kelowna Family YMCA.

Program Intake 

  • Contact us to determine your eligibility for this program!
  • 1 initial program intake appointment

Training Phase

  • 6 sessions of 1-on-1 exercise and dietary change counselling with a trained coach over 3 weeks
  • 2-4 exercise sessions on your own each week
  • Track your diet and exercise with a health app and fitness watch
  • Receive a complimentary 1-month YMCA gym membership
  • Includes 2 types of exercise training:
    • Continuous exercise at a steady pace for 20-30 minutes
    • Interval exercise that involves alternating between a brief bout of higher-intensity activity followed by a bout of lower-intensity activity for 12-15 minutes


  • 1-month: Check-in with coach
  • 6- and 12-months: Follow-up


Does this program work?

The Small Steps for Big Changes program has been examined in our laboratory at the University of British Columbia (Diabetes Prevention Research Group) 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 70, 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 45 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