So where to go next? The doctor had kind of left me up in the air, upset and feeling like I had failed in some way. Well, I had in a way, as it was my unhealthy lifestyle that had got me to where I was. I was determined that I would do my damnedest to prove him wrong and show him that I could and would lose weight and that I would manage this diabetes my own way. He had referred me to an education programme, but that could take a few weeks and he said he would get the diabetes nurse in the practice to call me and arrange to see me. Again, that would probably take a few weeks. So, I was faced with not really knowing what to do first. What would I do in the meantime?
In all the reading we had done over the weekend after my diagnosis, one thing kept coming up over and over again. Diabetes remission or reversal. One of the main advocates of this was Prof. Roy Taylor (not Roy Walker, as I often mistakenly call him!) of Newcastle University, who had helped the Hairy Bikers to lose weight when they became the Hairy Dieters and achieved fantastic results. He had been looking at results of a study where weight loss surgery was carried out on obese patients with Type 2 diabetes. Within days of the surgery, their blood sugar levels had returned to normal. Many were even able to come off their medication. This fitted a theory he had that too much fat in the liver and pancreas was interfering with insulin production. It wasn’t necessarily down to the surgery, but by restricting what they ate, they could reverse diabetes. Prof. Taylor is currently running a study, funded by Diabetes UK, which will run until 2018 (the DiRect study) and is looking at people losing a substantial amount of weight in just 8 weeks and return their blood sugar to normal. So, this was my plan. I wouldn’t start right at that moment, with Christmas coming up, but I would watch what I ate until the new year, allowing myself treats on Christmas and New Years Days. I had been 14 stone 13 lbs (209lbs) when I was weighed in the surgery on 15th December, so if I aimed to lose 10% of my body weight, I had to lose 21lbs, a stone and a half in that 8 weeks. Do-able? Well, it had to be, didn’t it?
I set a date of 3rd January to start, which was the Sunday after New Year. I am not one to start New Year’s resolutions, as I think you are only setting yourself up to fail. I also don’t like jumping on bandwagons and doing what everyone else is doing. If I feel like changing something, then I would do it no matter if it was January or June. It just so happened that the diagnosis happened when it did, so this was as good a time to start as any. My husband had also bought me a blood glucose meter, as he felt it was important to monitor it to make sure things were moving in the right direction blood sugar-wise. My doctor had not mentioned monitoring my blood myself and I didn’t quite understand why, but generally it is only required if you are on blood glucose lowering medication as you need to make sure it does not fall too low. I took all my measurements, weight, body fat and percentage of water in the body. 14 stone 6lbs. So, I had already managed to lose 7lbs over the Christmas period! Half a bloomin’ stone! Just shows what can be done when you put your mind to it! My blood glucose was 7.0 that day too, so it was already down from 10.7 in mid-December. Normal blood glucose should be between 4 and 7 so I was happy with that.
We went out and bought “The 8-week blood sugar diet” by Dr. Michael Moseley. “How to prevent and reverse Type 2 Diabetes (and stay off medication)” was the bold claim on the cover. He advocated a strict diet of 800 calories per day. Yes, really, 800 calories! This consisted of liquid diet drinks (about 200 cals each) and non-starchy vegetables. In a study, the participants each lost an average of 8lbs in the first week. Their livers and pancreas, which had been clogged up with fat, showed signs of the fat clearing within a few days. At the end of the 8 weeks, they lost an average of 33lbs, 5 inches off their waist, and their blood sugar was back to within normal non-diabetic range. So it seems that so-called Diabetes Remission or Diabetes Reversal is a possibility. The results would be amazing but it would not be without some effort!
Next: The 8-week blood sugar diet