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NHS programme helped Juliet put her type 2 diabetes into remission

juliet herbert

Juliet Herbert, 59, from Birmingham, was encouraged by her children to join the NHS Type 2 Diabetes Path to Remission Programme and has since been able to put her type 2 diabetes into remission.

Juliet was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in March 2020 during a routine annual check with her GP. She had no symptoms although she had been in the prediabetes category for a while and had struggled to lose weight.

There was also a history of type 2 diabetes in the family, with her father being diagnosed in his mid-50s. 

“When I was diagnosed, I was being asked by my doctors to take several tablets which I found very overwhelming and had reservations about. I eventually refused all medication but didn’t know what I was going to do," she said.

"Then I received a telephone call from my doctor's surgery explaining the NHS 'soups and shakes' programme to me which involved a total diet replacement for the first 12 weeks. Motivated by my daughter and son, I agreed to do the programme and started it in June 2022. I lost two and a half stone and went into remission, and I now manage my diabetes with diet and exercise.”

Juliet found that the programme was right for her to receive the encouragement, diabetes education and support needed to manage her condition. She added:

“My diabetes nurse, Wendy, reminds me of how many years I have added to my life and I felt it was an opportunity to 'detox' my body and mind and to reset, putting my health first.

"Certain things weren’t easy, like not joining in on food celebrations, but it was worth it. I’ve learnt so much about food and the fact that diabetes isn’t just about eating sweets and chocolates, it’s about balance and portion sizes.”

'I want to be around for as long as I can'

In July 2023, Juliet took part in the Diabetes UK Birmingham Wellness Walk and persuaded some of her friends from the programme to join.

As an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Project Manager in the NHS, she has been promoting the benefits of the programme and trying to reach more people who could benefit from it. In September 2023, she spoke at a Diabetes UK Midlands and East event in partnership with Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care System in Birmingham.

“I’m a firm believer that your health is your wealth and wanting to be around for as long as I can for my grandchildren is a key motivator as well as wanting to be well enough as an elder to walk and travel. This public journey is outside of my comfort zone, but if I encourage one person, it’s worth it," she said.

The NHS Type 2 Diabetes Path to Remission Programme, previously known as NHS Low-Calorie Diet Programme, is also described as the “soups and shakes” diet.

Endorsed by Diabetes UK, it is based on research showing that a 3-month specially formulated ‘soup and shake’ diet followed by healthy lifestyle support helped people living with type 2 diabetes and obesity or overweight to lose over 10kg in weight. They also improved their blood sugar levels, reduced diabetes-related medication and, in almost half of the participants, put their type 2 diabetes into remission.

Earlier this year, the NHS announced that the programme will be rolled out across the whole of England.

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