Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I live with my wife, my twin daughters and my parents-in-law. I recently lost my father-in-law to COVID-19 which has been tough over the last few months. My family and I all got tested for COVID-19 antibodies which came back positive, indicating that we all had the virus but didn’t even know it. I strongly believe that the fact that I was in better shape and that I had improved my health through the Counterweight-Plus programme helped to protect me from COVID, so I’m very thankful for that.
What results have you achieved with Counterweight-Plus?
During Total Diet Replacement I was able to lose 18kg and I have managed to keep most of it off, something that hasn’t been possible in the past with other diets that I have tried. Most importantly I was able to achieve type 2 diabetes remission and I didn't have to start taking diabetes medication. When I went to my GP, he said I had two choices, either lose weight or start taking medication. I was on the tipping point and Counterweight-Plus brought me back, I can’t really describe how good that feels. Being in remission and reducing my medication, it’s just priceless.
What motivated you to start the programme?
I have a strong family history of type 2 diabetes. My father was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes when he was 40 and went on to have medical complications all his life. The last 10-12 years were very difficult for him because he had numerous operations and heart attacks all to do with complications as a result of diabetes, I lost him last August. My grandmother and grandfather also have type 2 diabetes, they had to amputate my grandfather's leg due to his diabetes and he ended up passing away from complications. I realised that I didn’t want my children to go through the pain of losing a parent as I have, so I needed to take better care of myself and prioritise my health.
What were your expectations, hesitations, or fears going into the programme?
To be honest, when I first came across the programme, I was willing to try it but I didn’t think that it would work. I had tried so many different diets in the past with no success so I was certainly sceptical. I was also concerned about the Total Diet Replacement stage, I didn’t think I would be able to only have a liquid diet for 12 weeks and manage only 800 calories a day. Once I got started on the programme it was easier than I expected. The dietitians take lots of time to mentally prepare you for the programme so that you unlock your true motivations and feel like you are in the right headspace to be successful. I also had endless support, encouragement and praise from my amazing wife, which made all the difference. I thought it was impossible but it turns out it was possible!
What are some of the main positives you’ve experienced?
The best thing about joining the programme was that I didn’t feel alone. It helped me to know that I wasn’t the only person that this was happening to. Having the support of the dietitians and the other medical staff was so important and I felt like the care I received was very comprehensive. In my past experience, my GP has just told me that I need to lose weight and given me a brochure, which was always bound to fail. This programme doesn’t just tell you what to do, it provides you with information, strategies, and provides consistency with monitoring and support, which helps you to stay motivated and be successful.
What are the main things you have learnt while being on the programme?
We have a lot of misconceptions around food, for example the amount of salt and fat in foods and what we believe is an appropriate portion size. I had a complete re-education about food and the way it interacts with my body. The dietitians spend so much time teaching you about not just food but your relationship with eating and how to implement a healthy diet. I love eating and I still eat a considerable amount of food, but I’ve learnt how to choose healthier options so that I can maintain my weight and keep myself healthy. I’ve also noticed that my family has been eating healthier too. My mother in law has type 2 diabetes and since I started the programme, I have been helping her to make better choices. She recently had a check-up and her type 2 diabetes has also improved, which is an added bonus.
How do you see your life in the future having completed the programme?
My whole outlook on life is better, I’m more positive, I have more energy, I’m less stressed and I can do more with my family. The programme has also helped my self-esteem and self-confidence and I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment that I will be around to support my family. Especially given the current pandemic, it was such a relief to have been in good health so that I was able to care for my family through this tough time.
What would you say to someone who is considering starting the programme?
Just get started! I thought losing weight and achieving diabetes remission was impossible, but the Counterweight programme made it possible. It may sound tough but it can be done. This programme can help you prolong your life and avoid medical complications and you can’t put a price on that. The more people that this programme is able to reach, the better.