My name is Stuart, I'm 45 years old, married with two boys, and I work for Transport Scotland. After a routine check-up, one of my blood tests showed high glucose levels. The nurse suggested a diabetes test, and it came back positive for type 2 diabetes. At an appointment with a diabetes dietitian, Counterweight was mentioned, and I went through the process of applying to see if I was a suitable candidate. It turned out I was, and so began the journey!
“My goals were to lose weight and potentially put the diabetes into remission”
I didn't know anything about diabetes, and don't have a history of it in the family. So, it was great to find out that people had successfully put type 2 diabetes into remission. I have always loved to cycle and play golf, but in recent years, with the added weight, even these two favourite hobbies felt like a chore. I was hoping that being on the programme would make it possible to take up golf and cycling again, and especially be able to fit into a cycling jersey.
“The first stage was fairly straightforward”
A lot of people probably think the first stage – total diet replacement – is going to be the biggest struggle, but it was pretty straightforward, because you don’t have to think too much. You know you have to have four sachets a day, so it’s just a matter of choosing a sachet and adding water. I was a bit apprehensive wondering if it would be enough calories for me, but there was no stage where I felt like I was hungry.
“Nothing tempted me to fall off the wagon”
I was very committed, keeping my goals in mind, and there was nothing that tempted me to fall off the wagon. However, at some point during the first phase I was away, and my flight back was unexpectedly delayed by a few hours. I didn’t have another sachet with me, so I had to eat from the airport. I chose a sandwich and checked for calorie count – it was around 230 calories, so just 30 over my sachets. The moment I ate the sandwich I felt guilty, and like I had let myself down. When I spoke to my Counterweight dietitian, she assured me that I had done the right thing, that sometimes you are thrown a curve ball, but it’s how you deal with it that matters.
“I feel so much more energetic and want to get out and about”
There have been many changes, both physical and mental. I have lost four stone and am down four clothing sizes. I am edging my way down to a normal blood pressure, and my HbA1c has come down from 59 to 48. I just feel more energetic and want to get out and about more. Whereas before, I would make any excuse not to cycle, I now find any excuse to get on the bike, even if it’s only for half an hour. I play golf once or twice a week now too. So, I can see the difference in my energy levels, and my clothing, but also through the blood tests.
My knowledge has also improved a lot, and my relationship with food has changed. I'm more educated now. I plan the week, look at calories, saturated fats, protein and carbs. Before, when I was hungry, I would go to the freezer or get take-out. I now know exactly what I am going to eat because I have planned it already. I was nervous about transitioning back to food, and having to plan my own meals, but you are introduced into phase 2 one meal at a time, so you do the planning on a smaller scale before you move on.
It's become a routine now, planning a week in advance so I know when I go to shop which ingredient to get and I cook in batches. It’s something I've actually enjoyed doing as well, so it doesn’t feel like a chore.
"I can’t recommend the programme highly enough”
I can’t recommend the programme highly enough. It really has made a big difference to my life! What helps a lot is knowing you have a dietitian appointment every two weeks. I knew that at the start, but the level of support I received was much more than I thought it would be. It’s scary taking that first step, but the more you put in, the more you get out – you just have to be 100% committed. The way I've looked at it as short-term sacrifices for long-term goals.