Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started with Counterweight.
My name is Sharon, I’m 53 years old and I live in Anglesey, Wales with my husband and son. I’m usually a library assistant but during COVID I’ve been reassigned to assist on a data collection project. My big passion is photography and I can often be found out walking my dog around the beautiful Welsh coastline.
Around Christmas time 2019 I remember sitting with my husband one night, eating a shortbread and just thinking to myself, “I can’t go on like this". Medically, everything was going wrong for me. I had a number of recent hospitalisations with stomach adhesions, my blood pressure was sky high and my type 2 diabetes was so out of control that I was facing a future on insulin. I really had hit rock bottom, but that is what gave me the motivation to make a change.
I made a plan to speak with my GP about what I could do, and by chance I received a letter the following day about Counterweight-Plus and the pilot project being run in Wales. I was ecstatic, I wanted it so badly!
How did you find the programme?
Honestly I sailed through, it was easy from the word go. I think it really came down to my mindset, I wanted to change my health so badly that there was nothing that would have stopped me. I’m a creature of habit so I didn’t struggle with the repetition of having the soups and the shakes, plus we only had access to 6 flavours as part of the pilot project! There’s so many things that you can do to enjoy the shakes, I love warming mine up as a comforting drink to have before I head off to bed. The biggest surprise was the hunger- I really didn’t experience
much hunger at all!
What are some of the main positives you’ve experienced?
I can’t even put this into words, my entire lifestyle has changed. I’m just so happy all the time! I inherited osteoarthritis from my dad and I used to be in constant pain when walking around. Having lost so much weight, my mobility and pain has improved so much and now I’m out walking my dog 3 ½ miles every day. I’m also full of energy! I used to lie in, but now I’m up early in the morning raring to get out for my morning walk. I started noticing all of these changes in my mental health, my pain and my mobility from about week 6 of the programme, so this was really motivating as well.
How did it feel when you achieved diabetes remission?
I was just ecstatic! When my dietitian called and told me that my HbA1c had dropped from 77 to 42 and that I was in remission, it just felt so amazing. The results really do speak for themselves. I was able to lose 27kg, came off all my diabetes medication and reduced my blood pressure medication to just 1 tablet.
What has the programme taught you?
The programme makes you think about food in a totally different way. What you put into your body is important, and you’ve got to think about the types and quality of food that you’re eating. I’m eating far less processed food than I used to, which has had a positive effect for my family as well. When you reintroduce food, it’s not a diet it’s a lifestyle. I don’t have to deny myself the odd treat and I still have my takeaway on a Saturday night (who doesn’t love a chicken kebab!)
but I’ve learnt to achieve moderation. I’ve also found a routine of self monitoring that works for me, I feel completely confident in my ability to keep the weight off, which is a big difference from another programme that I have tried in the past.
What would you say to someone who is considering starting the programme?
Don’t hesitate because this programme will change your life. It’s so much more than just losing weight, this programme has transformed my health and honestly saved my life. There is nothing to be scared of, there is plenty of support and after working together for so long, my dietitian and I get on like a house on fire. I should have done it ages ago, but I had to hit rock bottom to really give me the motivation I needed to succeed. All I want to do is help other people to achieve the results that I have, I really can’t stop gushing about this programme. It’s a complete change of lifestyle and the benefits far outweigh any difficulties. It’s for the better, you won’t regret it!