Since beginning her journey to a healthier and happier life on the NHS Type 2 Diabetes Path to Remission programme, Bev has more energy to play with her great-granddaughter.
Before I joined the programme, I was overweight. Every decade it seemed I was putting more and more weight on. My clothes were increasingly tighter and I was having to buy bigger sizes. My health was bad, I was on medication for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes, and I wasn’t happy with myself inside.
I had tried the NHS diabetes workshops just before COVID-19, and although it was interesting to speak to other people with Type 2 diabetes, when they transferred to telephone meetings I dropped out.
It was a big wake up call for me. To think I was potentially living with a time bomb really helped me focus.
I’m very lucky that I have an amazing diabetes nurse at my surgery and she recommended this low calorie diet programme, but stressed to me that I needed to be committed to the first 12 weeks of total diet replacement as it would be hard, and wouldn’t work if I didn’t follow it properly. I agreed that I would commit to the programme. They were willing to invest in me, so I felt it was right that I do the same.
Although it was hard work to start with, I was really focused on it. My nurse told me, ‘If you’re not committed to it, you’re wasting the place of someone else who would be.’ That really stuck with me, so I kept that at the back of my mind.
Beginning the low calorie diet
I have tried meal replacement programmes in the past and I know they work, but getting used to meal replacements was difficult during the first few weeks.
I ordered the starter pack of meal replacements and soon found a routine with products that I enjoyed. The soup wasn’t for me, but I found sticking to this routine helped considerably.
I had a coffee that looked and tasted like a latte for breakfast. I took two bars to work and ate them during the day; I would cut one into smaller squares and have it on my desk to have with tea or coffee. The other I would have for lunch. In the evening I would have hot chocolate. Getting into this routine was an important step for me to get through the 12 weeks.
I was pleased that on this programme you could drink flavoured water (sugar free), tea with limited skimmed milk, and black coffee. This helped me enormously to get through that first week. I drank fluids every time I felt hungry, and by having a flavoured drink, it was so much easier to stick to the plan.
Life on a low calorie diet
I loved the app, I preferred using it to face-to-face meetings. All the training was on there, and I could go back and retake any training that I wanted to. My coaching team were all so helpful. I could leave questions for them and know the date they would contact me. The online support was absolutely amazing, I couldn’t fault it. It helped me see it through. And when you start losing weight it helps motivate you to continue.
If I was out for the day I would always have a couple of bars with me in case I needed lunch. I’d still meet friends for coffee, so I didn’t feel like I was missing out on those social activities. It was just a change in mindset for how I would cope during the first 12 weeks. I would treat myself to a black coffee, or mint tea and join in with everyone else, just eating my bar rather than a sandwich.
People understood what I was doing, they were very impressed as they could see the change in my weight.
Watching the weight go down kept me motivated, the scales provided by the programme were amazing with weekly results sent by bluetooth to my phone.
8 months in, it was like a switch went off and I realised I’m no longer on a diet. This is not a chore, this is just what I eat and how I live. It was amazing.
After completing 12 weeks of meal replacements I moved on to food introduction. I looked for meals that my husband would enjoy as well as me, so that I wasn’t making two meals. The online advice on Oviva Learn was amazing and I loved the recipes in the food reintroduction lessons. I used these regularly to create tasty meals that I still use now. I was never a big meat eater, so I swap any meat in the recipes for beans or pulses instead.
It was much easier to reintroduce food than I first thought. I didn’t slip back into old ways. I had a different coach during food reintroduction, and she was so supportive. If I was having a bad day I would leave her a note on the app and she would reply with lovely comments.
A new mindset
I have now completed the programme and can safely say that my eating habits have completely changed. This programme wasn’t just about losing weight, it was about taking notice of my old eating habits and finding suggestions for a way forward that would maintain the weight I have now achieved.
I’ve realised I can have a bad day, but I don’t need to let that affect my week. Even if I went off track, I just remembered it’s only one bad day and I got back to it. And that’s my mindset now.
I remember the first time I bought a new pair of jeans, I was with my husband and I picked up size 14, he said ‘I think you need a smaller size’ but I thought he was being kind. I don’t like to try clothes on in shops so I took two pairs home.
As soon as I tried them on I realised my husband was right, we had to go back to the shop and exchange both pairs for a size 12. I felt amazing.
This is a programme for life for me, having reached my ideal weight I am now going to maintain it.
This programme has been life changing for me. I have attended several diabetes workshops in the past and was shocked at the risk to my health because I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes. I hadn’t realised how easy a heart attack or stroke could have occurred if I had blindly carried on with my eating habits.
I am still using the Oviva app to record my weight, blood pressure and blood glucose. I don’t want to go back to medication, so this is another focus for me to keep the weight off.
I am now delighted that I have reversed my diabetes and have stopped taking high blood pressure tablets. I lost 15.8 kg on the programme and am focused on maintaining this weight for the rest of my life.
I feel so much better, I’m so much fitter. I have a great-granddaughter now and I love that I’m able to spend time with her and take her to the park, things I wouldn’t have been able to do a year ago.
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