Diabetes was the best thing that ever happened to me
"In August 2010, I was diagnosed type 2 diabetic. I was immediately put on metformin x 2 every day and was told it was very likely I would go on to insulin at some point in the future, as for many it was unavoidable"
I’m married with 2 teenage boys and in August 2010 was diagnosed type 2 diabetic. No doubt I had had it for at least a couple of years by then as I’d started getting symptoms in 2008 which were a tingly dead area on my foot, loss of energy, and thrush which kept coming back. When diagnosed it was a huge shock and I was told my fasting blood sugar was in excess of 10. I remember not knowing quite what to do or what to eat as it’s daunting when you’re told. Fortunately I had a lovely diabetic nurse to help and she was wonderful in being someone to talk to. My wife Heather came along to the first meeting and the nurse took time to explain what I should be eating and what I should avoid.
I was immediately put on metformin x 2 every day and was told it was very likely I would go on to insulin at some point in the future, as for many it was unavoidable.
I was over 16 stone but managed to shed a lot of it through cutting out baguettes, pizza and McDonald’s. Being 6’3 I carried the weight well but as the years followed, my weight had drifted back towards the overweight range despite all the running I do and my blood sugar levels were on the rise again, with the growing threat of more medication. It was only what they promised would happen after all.
"The nurse said it couldn’t be done and even if I managed it, it was only temporary as the illness would catch up with me again when I returned to eating normally. It felt depressing to hear this"
In 2014, at a diabetic review, I asked my nurse about the work I’d read about in Newcastle involving Professor Roy Taylor. He had said T2DM was reversable and didn’t need to be a life sentence after all. His patients were trialled on an 800-calorie diet which sounded extreme but they were getting great results. In truth, I would have jumped through a ring of fire to get rid of my illness so I couldn’t care less what I had to do, just show me and I’ll give it a go. What could I lose? The nurse said it couldn’t be done and even if I managed it, it was only temporary as the illness would catch up with me again when I returned to eating normally. It felt depressing to hear this.
A couple of years later I heard Dr Michael Mosley on the Jeremy Vine show on Radio 2 explaining that the condition was indeed reversible and that many patients were reducing or coming off their medications. He had followed Professor Roy Taylor’s work at Newcastle University and instead of using shakes, had demonstrated it could be done with a real food approach by avoiding pasta, rice, grains, potatoes, sugar and processed foods.
"I truly thought my meals would consist of 3 peas and a beansprout but it couldn’t have been further from the truth, the meals were delicious and so satisfying. I didn’t feel I was even on a diet".
This was all the encouragement I needed and my wife and I bought his book. We planned the meals and to be honest I was fully prepared to eat cardboard if it meant I could take control of my condition. I truly thought my meals would consist of 3 peas and a beansprout but it couldn’t have been further from the truth, the meals were delicious and so satisfying. I didn’t feel I was even on a diet. The weekly food bill was about the same because of all the things I wasn’t eating anymore such as cereals, rice, pasta, potatoes and pretty much anything that comes in a packet or jar. An added bonus was I always wanted to be able to cook but found that many recipe books made an assumption of a degree of experience and the list of ingredients and instructions went on and on. The low carb recipes were really simple to follow and suddenly I could prepare meals from scratch!! Even if I was busy during the week I had time to prepare the meals and freeze them at the weekends. I even discovered a love for foods like Cauliflower Rice of all things.
I monitored my weight and blood sugar levels and within a week I’d lost 9lbs and my readings were between 4-5, even falling to 3.8 at one point. This prompted a call to my new diabetic nurse and she agreed I should come off metformin. As you can imagine, this was a wonderful moment after 6 years of taking them. Meds all gone in a week! I continued to follow my readings and they settled down between 5 and 5.5 in the mornings and were in the normal range 2 hours after a meal. Along with this I had a huge rush of energy and felt better than I had in years.
Over 8 weeks I lost 1.5 stone and after, I just continued to follow this way of eating and continued to learn so much from reading and listening to others.
I’ve contacted so many in similar positions as I who have really improved their health following this way of eating. There are so many staggering stories of people who’ve turned their health around and lost weight. Not only diabetes but a whole range of conditions have improved just by cutting down on carbs, sugar and processed food.
"I truly believe one day that diabetes will be a disease of the past, but until then, I’ll do my very best to help others achieve the same goals. I’m excited to be health coach for the wonderful work spearheaded by Dr Donal Collins".
When you find your own way back to health you just want to help others and I’m so happy to be part of many initiatives where I can help influence a movement of diabetes remission across the UK and beyond. I truly believe one day that diabetes will be a disease of the past, but until then, I’ll do my very best to help others achieve the same goals. I’m excited to be health coach for the wonderful work spearheaded by Dr Donal Collins, I’m an ambassador for the Public Health Collaboration, and recently I accepted a position of Health and Wellbeing Coach for the NHS. If you’ve have asked me if I’d have been doing any of these things 10 years ago I would have laughed and thought you were mad but it’s strange how things turn out.
Diabetes was the best thing that ever happened to me.
M's Response curve
Here is M’ curve, which he wanted to do as he could not get his HBA1C under 42. His highest HBA1C was 50 at diagnosis.
What is interesting here is the poor insulin response to his high glucose readings after 75g glucose load.
It appears he has beta cell hypofunction.
He will ask his practice for GAD antibodies- is he in fact a LADA?
This currently is proving difficult as they don’t understand why he needs it. (The paradigm).
I have written an email to add evidence to his request.
While here, we did his lipids fasting via a finger prick test on a lipidometer-
Total Cholesterol 5.79
TG/HDL ratio shows his lipids are in great shape. His metabolic is kept in good control by his very low carb diet.
This curve told him something he did not know, he thought he might still be hyperinsulinaemic.
This in fact has shown the reverse.
He knows his low carb lifestyle is critical to maintaining his health.