When my GP told me I had type 2 diabetes, it was a real wake-up call. At 25st 4lbs, my weight was already causing me health problems, and I’d been told I needed to lose weight for a knee replacement. My blood pressure and cholesterol were high, and walking was so painful I had a Blue Badge so I could park nearer to wherever I was going.
I told my GP I’d like to try to lose weight to help improve my health. I was doubtful I could manage it, though, as I’d tried various diets before but never had any success. I remember thinking, ‘If I don’t do this today, I’m never going to do it’. I went straight home and googled weight loss services and Slimming World came up.
Hilary wanted to lose weight to improve her health, but had always struggled with restrictive diets in the past
One week – 13lbs lost!
As I walked through the doors of my local group that evening, I was fighting the urge to run away! I wasn’t a people person at all back then and I had no self-confidence, but everyone was so welcoming. When I heard the Consultant, Hayley, deliver the new member talk, I honestly didn’t believe it. I remember thinking, ‘You can’t eat spaghetti and lose weight… You can’t eat cheese and lose weight!’ I was determined to prove Hayley wrong and be able to say, ‘I told you so’. That first week, I lost nearly a stone – the plan had proved me wrong, which I was delighted about!
I realised then that Food Optimising actually worked, and I soon discovered why. I found it easy to tailor the plan to my needs for my diabetes, following the advice from my healthcare team, while still enjoying my food. Cheeseburgers, pasta bakes and spaghetti bolognese were all on the menu, as long as they were cooked healthily using lean beef mince and low-calorie cooking spray. I’d finally found a flexible way to lose weight, where I was in control.
I started to cook from scratch again, and I always felt full! I no longer wanted the ready meals and takeaways I used to rely on. I loved the huge range of food I could eat without even thinking about counting calories. The other members were always sharing meal ideas in group, and I enjoyed taking along new recipes I’d found and chatting about how I could adapt them to fit the plan – I’d never had so many exciting options to cook! I was losing weight, loving food and never feeling hungry.
Two months – 2st lost!
I’d joined group in December 2019, and within two months I’d lost 2st! When I went to my follow-up appointment with my GP, he was visibly stunned by how much weight I’d lost.
I carried on Food Optimising throughout lockdown — with the ongoing support of my Slimming World group — and continued losing weight. Then, in October 2021, I had an appointment to see my GP again. As I sat down, he was practically speechless and he couldn’t believe it was me — I felt so proud! By following the Slimming World plan and being more active, I’d drastically improved my health. I’d even managed to reverse my diabetes.
22 months – 12st 12lbs lost!
There have been other benefits to my weight loss, too. I’ve dropped eight dress sizes, from a size 34 to a 16, and buying clothes is far easier. I did need a bit of help adjusting at first, and it was great to have my friend Angelica with me on shopping trips. With her careful guidance, I went into high street stores I’d never have dared visit before. She steered me away from the baggy options that were far too big for me and helped me to consider beautifully cut trousers and shapely, colourful dresses for the first time!
At 12st 6lbs, I’ve got so much more energy. I used to struggle just to walk from my car to the supermarket entrance, now I easily manage 15,000 steps a day. I’ve gone from driving the two minutes to the corner shop to choosing to walk wherever I can, in all weathers. I’ve even taken on an allotment, and I enjoy a lot of the produce I grow – like asparagus, broad beans and strawberries – in my Slimming World meals.
I’ve stopped taking most of my medication now, and I’ve given back my Blue Badge because I don’t need it any more. I’m much more outgoing and I have a new zest for life. After spending the past seven years single and too self-conscious to do anything about it, I’m now ready to start looking for love. Losing weight has boosted my confidence and I’ve got a much brighter future ahead of me now.
Heading down to the allotment means Hilary can squeeze in some Body Magic activity and take home lots of super-fresh Free Food for her Food Optimising meals!
Hilaryʼs one of many Slimming World members whoʼve improved their diabetes management by making healthy lifestyle changes and losing weight through Food Optimising. You can read about our research into the benefits of weight loss for people with diabetes here.
Hilary’s daily menu
Nothing, or two chocolate pastries.
Bacon medallions, mushrooms cooked in low-calorie cooking spray, tomatoes and baked beans.
A shop-bought prawn mayonnaise baguette and soup, or a large mac ’n’ cheese ready meal.
Slimming World minestrone soup or a huge salad using produce from my allotment.
Ready meal lasagne or a large takeaway pizza with dips and garlic bread.
Ice cream, biscuits, crisps and chocolate.
Fruit and fat-free natural Greek yogurt, grapes, low-fat crisps and high-fibre snack bars.
Weight loss will vary according to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.