My name is Donna, I am 63 years old, married with 2 adult sons and a retired registered nurse. I am Bermudian but a UK citizen and have spent many years living in both countries. I have lots of hobbies that keep me very busy. My husband and I love to travel, which we were doing a lot of until 2020. I also love to read…mainly contemporary fiction. I love to walk and do so on most days and do a weekly yoga class and weekly Pilates. I have also been teaching myself to play piano since I retired and started learning French this year.
"My weight gain became a constant problem"
My problems with weight gain began following aggressive treatment for breast cancer at the age of 37, which knocked me into menopause (or chemopause as they like to call it). My weight became a constant problem from them, despite lots of exercise and gym membership. Unfortunately, I also loved to eat and drink good red wine and didn’t realise how little control I had over this, so the pounds kept piling on.
Just after my 40th birthday I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and within a year had to go on Metformin as I could not control my eating. As the years went on, Alogliptin was added. Eventually I was not only dealing with abdominal obesity and diabetes, but also high triglycerides, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and a fatty liver.
When I moved back to the UK, I joined a Diabetes Support Group and from them found out about Balance magazine which is where I saw the advertisement for Counterweight. After discussion with my husband we decided it was worth the financial outlay to give the programme a try. To be honest I really did not think I would be able to stick to it, but thankfully I have a very supportive husband.
"I managed to reach my goal weight of 9 stone in 8 weeks"
I found the first week a real struggle, especially the first 3 days, but refused to give in to temptation. After that first week I was totally committed and had no intention of cheating especially when the weight started coming off and my blood sugars started coming down. I had to contact the dietitian a couple of times for small problems initially, but never really had any major issues and I also joined the private Facebook group which was very helpful and supportive.
I managed to reach my goal weight of 9 stone in 8 weeks and then started the gradual food replacement, which for me is the most difficult part. Over the summer I did gain 7lbs back, but I did a week of Total Diet Replacement to get back in control. I continue to keep a food diary and keep an eye on my weight.
"I was able to achieve type 2 diabetes remission"
My biggest achievement has been getting my diabetes into remission, which was not expected as I have had diabetes for over 20 years. After 7 months I am still off all my medication for diabetes. My medication for high triglycerides and elevated pulse rate have both been stopped and my medication for high blood pressure has been reduced by 50%. I have also reduced my alcohol consumption significantly. My Hba1c is now 40. I look and feel better and have a lot more energy and it has increased my self esteem tremendously.
"I learnt to have a healthy relationship with food"
The main thing it has taught me is that I did not have a healthy relationship with food or alcohol. I am now much more aware of what I consume, and also very aware that I need to remain vigilant. It is so easy to slip back into bad habits. I give myself a bit of a buffer zone and if I start going over a certain weight, I know I have to rein it in and pay more attention. I do allow myself treats….just not as frequently as I used to and generally eat a much healthier diet now. I have also learnt a lot about portion control.
My main advice to anyone starting this programme is to go for it and try not to get discouraged, especially if you slip up. Just believe in yourself and more importantly believe that you are worth it. Take one day at a time and make use of the resources that are available to you such as the dietitians who are a great source of information and support and the private Facebook group.