A study has claimed that Type 2 diabetes can be ‘reversed’ in four months with exercise, medication and diet. More research is needed, but it can be controlled. Mark Chadbourne, 50, from Burton upon Trent, Staffs, weighed 22st when he was diagnosed. But after a low-carb diet, he’s seen incredible results…
Name anything that’s bad for you – fish and chips, cake – and I’d eat it. So it’s no wonder I found myself weighing 22 stone when I stepped on the scales at my GP surgery in 2013.
My doctor had warned me a few years earlier I was borderline diabetic and had been monitoring my blood glucose levels. He told me I needed to lose weight and exercise more but I’d paid no attention.
Now I was classed as morbidly obese and told I had Type 2 diabetes. I was put on Metformin, a drug used for diabetes, and high blood pressure medication.
The diagnosis should have been a wake-up call but my wife Gilly had health problems at the time so I didn’t pay attention. Gilly, 49, has Type 1 diabetes and is on dialysis. After she suffered a stroke around the same time as my diagnosis, I gave up my job as a retail manager to become her full-time carer.
I did try low-fat diets and calorie counting but I was starving and could not stick to them. I tried walking and swimming but did not lose anything. I also gave up alcohol.
It took the birth of my grandson Theo last February for something to switch inside me. Theo’s dad, my son Ashley, who’s 23, is really close to my own father and I’ve seen the positive effect it’s had. I wanted that too.
Around then, I was looking up something online. My hobby is model making and instead of typing ‘card’, I mistyped ‘carb’. One of the first things that popped up was a low-carb program on patient forum. There was a free meal plan and I thought: ‘I could do this.’
I started seeing results within a week. Getting dressed one morning, I noticed I had to take my belt in a notch. And when I got on the scales, I’d lost six pounds.
I couldn’t believe I’d lost almost half a stone and hadn’t once felt hungry. I’d been filling up on steak, bacon and lots of veg and wasn’t missing high-carb foods like pasta and bread. It wasn’t long before my XXXL T-shirts and 44in waist trousers didn’t fit. I was having to buy new trousers every month.
My GP then started reducing my medication.
I was also no longer getting out of breath and could do more around the house.
By last October, I weighed less than 14 stone and at my annual diabetes check-up that same month, the specialist nurse almost didn’t recognise me.
She did a blood test and told me I was no longer classed as diabetic. My blood sugar level was in the normal range, my cholesterol levels had more than halved and I no longer had high blood pressure.
I couldn’t believe I’d reversed my diabetes – and neither could the nurse. They stopped my medication then.
In total, I lost eight stone in six months. I weigh 13 stone 7lb and have a 34in waist. I have more energy and sleep better.
The last time I saw Theo, I was playing on the floor. I wouldn’t have been able to do it before – I couldn’t get back up again.
Gilly has also lost three stone. She used to have to inject insulin four times a day – now she is down to once or not at all.
I hope I’m setting a positive example for Ashley and Theo. I wouldn’t want them to end up like I did.
If you want to live, change the way you eat. If I can do it, other people can.
What is type 2 diabetes?
It’s when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin to function properly, or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin. This means glucose remains in the bloodstream and is not used as fuel for energy.
Ninety per cent of adults with diabetes have Type 2, and it tends to develop later in life. The increasing numbers have been linked to rising levels of obesity.
Over time, it can lead to damage to the blood vessels, nerves and organs and trigger kidney disease and blindness. It also increases the risk of a
heart attack and stroke.
Help ‘reverse’ type 2 diabetes
■ Do two hours 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week or one hour 15 minutes of high intensity exercise.
■ Lose weight gradually to achieve a healthy body mass index.
■ Replace refined carbs with wholegrain foods and increase intake of vegetables and other foods high in dietary fibre.
■ Reduce the amount of saturated fat and salt in your diet.