Despite the fact I’d known the diagnosis was coming, it was still a shock to hear the words out loud: ‘I’m afraid you have type 2 diabetes.’ I’d been referred for tests by my GP because I felt constantly drained and exhausted. Now I knew for sure, I went home to tell my wife, Elissa. I was worried about possible future complications, so I did my best to cut down on things like bread and sweet treats.
A year later, in November 2018, though, I’d only lost just over a stone. So when a flyer for Slimming World dropped onto my doormat, I thought, ‘This is it, I’ll join!’ I was about to turn 50, which was a huge factor for me. I got out of breath easily, I had high cholesterol and high blood pressure and I suffered from severe back pain.
I knew that if I wanted to be healthier in my 50s, I needed help.
I went along to my local group the following January, and weighed in at 23st 4½lbs. I quickly realised that I was in the right place. My Consultant, Claire, was so helpful and I got off to a good start straight away.
Before joining Slimming World, my main meals were always fast food. I never felt like I had the time to prepare food, so we’d just get something quick like pizza or pie and chips. I wouldn’t think about what I was eating at all. Now, I plan my meals and I never feel hungry. I’m cooking everything fresh from scratch and, OK, maybe it takes a wee bit longer, but not always and it’s so much healthier. My favourite quick dinner is crustless quiche and I also love my Food Optimised chicken curry – it’s absolutely delicious!
In IMAGE therapy, we talked about our personal challenges and I realised that biscuits were a trigger food for me – if I started a packet, it would be gone before the evening was out! Claire suggested finding other ways to satisfy my sweet tooth, such as having fresh fruit with low-fat yogurt. It worked brilliantly and, spurred on by the other members’ support in group, I started getting some great losses.
Within a couple of months, Elissa and our sons, Iain and Ewan, could see the change in me – now, rather than dozing on the couch, I was always on the go. And Food Optimising worked like a dream. In February 2020, just over a year after joining, I achieved my target weight – and the very same week, I was told my diabetes was in remission and I could come off the medication!
We’d talked about Body Magic in group, and I began following the Couch to 5K programme. I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed my first proper exercise in years, and it was great to get outside every day. I now run two or three times a week and I completed the Edinburgh Marathon Festival 10K two years running. When I crossed the finish line and shared a post on Facebook, the support I got from my Slimming World group was phenomenal.
I’ve been off all my medication for over a year now and I feel fantastic. My blood pressure is normal, my cholesterol is no longer high and I don’t suffer from the back pain I had before either.
I’m also a Diamond Member these days, as I’ve been at target for a year and a half, and I’ve even retrained as a Slimming World Consultant!
The real crowning glory came recently, though, when I was about to go to a friend’s wedding. ‘I wonder if I can still get into the kilt I wore when we got married?’ I joked to Elissa and began searching for it.
Unbelievably, it fitted beautifully – a whole 30 years after I’d first worn it! That tartan kilt symbolises the changes I’ve made to my health and, when I’ve got it on, I couldn’t feel prouder.
John’s day on a plate
Any sugary cereal.
A big Slimming World cooked breakfast, with scrambled or boiled eggs, lean grilled bacon, a low-Syn sausage, grilled tomatoes and beans.
A burger and chips from the food van at work.
A Food Optimising vegetable chilli with plain boiled rice.
Pie and chips from the chippy.
A healthy chicken curry served with lots of Speed veg.
Chocolate, biscuits, crisps, salted nuts...
Fresh fruit and a bag of popcorn, using my Syns.
Our research into type 2 diabetes remission
John’s inspirational story backs up research,* which shows that people with type 2 diabetes can improve their management of the condition by losing weight. The study of Slimming World members with type 2 diabetes found that, of those who had lost at least 10% of their body weight, more than half (54%) had reversed their condition.
Some 77% saw improvements in their blood glucose management and 60% were able to reduce or stop taking medication. An amazing 84% reported an improved quality of life and 75% of members with type 2 diabetes said they found it easy to fit their healthcare team’s dietary recommendations into Slimming World’s Food Optimising eating plan.
*The study polled 222 members with type 2 diabetes in May 2020. Data where blood glucose and weight change is reported refers to members with type 2 diabetes who were Slimming World members for six months or more.
*Weight loss will vary according to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.