Aged 57 years
First diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2000
Currently taking 1000mg Metformin x2 and 80mg Gliclazide x1
Removed medication : Canagliflozin 300mg x1 and Pioglitazone 30mg x1
Has lost 3 stone (that's 42 lbs or 19kg) to date, and still losing 🎉
Favourite food is salmon and steamed vegetables 🥦
Likes swimming 🏊in his spare time
* a stock photo has been used to preserve his identity
In Conversation with Avtar
Did you try to lose weight previously?
Yes, I tried Slimming World but constantly felt hungry and didn't lose any weight.
What was the biggest obstacle for losing weight?
I felt hungry all the time. I thought this was just 'part of me' and I couldn't change that.
What was your diet like before?
Breakfast was milky tea and Weetabix. 10am was a sandwich. Lunch was 3 chapati and curry. 2pm was a banana and crisps. I would snack on salty almonds and peanuts throughout the day before dinner. Dinner was 3 chapatis and curry. If I was hungry later I would have ice-cream and milk
What is the one food that you felt you couldn't live without?
Chapati. Turns out I can live happily without it! If I want a chapati, I just eat low carb naan and LivLife bread, instead.
Did you have hesitations about starting the diet?
I didn't think I'd stick with it. I thought I'd get hungry like I usually did, and new habits would fizzle out.
What's the most surprising thing you've discovered though your health journey?
I was able to control my hunger. I always thought that carbohydrates were filling, so giving them up seemed counter intuitive.
The impossible has been made possible. I truly believed I was always going to feel hungry, and that was that. I now realise that it was diabetes and hormones that caused my perpetual hunger. It wasn't 'me'.
Food is less important now and it's no longer at the forefront of my mind 24/7. My thoughts and energy are focused on more meaningful things.
3 stone weight loss is an incredible achievement. Has this improved other areas of life?
It has hugely helped with leg pain. I used to rely on massage oil and ice packs after work to find relief. The pain hasn't completely gone, but it has greatly improved. I even find myself playing football with my grandkids. When I lose another stone I will be able to go for surgery to resolve the problem.
Being able to move without pain means that I've been able to do more of the things I love — I've taken a number really enjoyable holidays this past year. I guess you could say that my body is capable of more than I thought possible.
How did you achieve this?
I gradually introduced low carb changes to my diet. As hunger was a big thing for me, it was reassuring to know that I didn't have to eat less — I could still eat the same number of meals, just different food.
I began with breakfast, swapping my usual Weetabix for high fat yoghurt and berries. When I felt comfortable with this, I moved on to making adjustments to the next meal. So on and so forth, I gradually changed all my meals to low carb. Before I knew it, my hunger had evaporated and I was no longer eating chapati!
On a typical day, what do you normally eat?
I begin the day with a milky tea and some sort of egg. At 10am I snack on berries. For lunch I have curry with LivLife bread and salad. For dinner I have a piece of fish or meat with steamed vegetables. Every two weeks I might have a normal naan bread, but I check my blood glucose to keep track of how I respond.
What would be your advise for anyone starting out?
Trust the process. You might feel worried that eating fat will make you fat, and it might take time to see results, but believe in yourself and the support.
Also, get into the habit of testing your blood glucose. I didn't see the point of this before, but now I use my meter to get instant feedback on how diet and lifestyle changes are getting me to where I want to be. I've gained control.
Stay tuned for next week's article, where I'll be taking a deeper dive into Avtar's health journey, with his family.
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Take care 👋