To be honest, I’ve been aware of the dangers of type 2 diabetes for ages – my mum was diagnosed with the condition in 2005 and has to take medication. I can’t pretend I didn’t know that being overweight put me at risk as well… I just chose not to think about it.
As a teenager I was a little overweight, then the pounds really started to creep on in my 20s, after I started working abroad for a travel company. My diet consisted of junk food and sugary snacks. At the time, I was rushing around so much I burned a lot of it off – then I moved back home and took a desk job. I’d sit in the office eating biscuits all day, then head to the chip shop for lunch.
My health soon began to suffer; I had so many aches and pains! My back and joints were that sore I couldn’t even go shopping without doubling up in agony. I was repeatedly asking my GP for strong painkillers, my blood pressure was through the roof... and then, the bombshell: my doctor told me I had to get my weight down, or I was almost certain to develop diabetes, like my mum.
At first, I was torn between joining a friend in trying a supplement-based diet that was going to cost loads of money, or choosing Slimming World. Mum persuaded me that the long-term solution made more sense, and as I’d heard really good things about our local Consultant, Christine, I thought, ‘Why not?’. I was petrified when I first walked in – I’d been avoiding the scales for so long! Christine was everything I’d expected and more, though, and I soon felt at home with my friendly group.
Once I’d learned how to cook healthy meals from scratch, I found I couldn’t stand the thought of eating junk food. Even the smell of the chip shop makes me feel ill nowadays.
I’ve also developed a love of exercise! A couple of months after beginning to lose weight, I set foot in a gym for the first time. Now I work out four or five times a week.
When I last had a routine check-up, the practice nurse couldn’t believe it was me! She said my blood sugar levels and blood pressure were textbook perfect, which means if I keep this up, there’s no reason I should develop diabetes. Mum has joined my group now, too, and the pounds are coming off. If I’d chosen to do that supplement diet, I’d probably have given up within weeks – instead, I’ve found a way of living I can sustain forever.
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.