Edward has been retired for just over five years. He was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes at the age of 55 when he was working for an oil company. His father was diagnosed with Type 2 at the age of 70. After four and a half years of living with Type 2, his GP asked him if he’d like to go on the DiRECT trial. Edward saw this as the ideal opportunity to change his lifestyle for the better. He was also motivated by the fact that he was about to become a grandfather for the first time. Edward has now been in remission for just over three years.
Lived with Type 2 diabetes for six years, in remission for over three years
“DiRECT was the right opportunity for me to set things in motion – to become more active and to change my lifestyle for the better.”
Edward's journey with diabetes
Diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2010 at the age of 55.
- His own father was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes at the age of 70, so he knew that this was a condition that he could develop in the future.
- At diagnosis, he was immediately put on metformin, as well as cholesterol – and blood pressure-lowering medication.
- Edward got his weight down and played golf, but knew that wasn’t enough.
- Invited by his GP to go on DiRECT the year after he retired.
- As soon as he went on the trial, Edward stopped all medication and hasn't had to go back on it since.
- Starting at a weight of 17st 7lb, Edward has maintained the weight loss he achieved on the trial, and now walks 100 miles a week.
- He has been in remission for just over three years
My GP diagnosed me with Type 2 diabetes nine years ago – just before my 55th birthday. I was put on metformin almost straight away, as well as medication for blood pressure and cholesterol. I was on medication for four and half years.
At the time, I thought it was a medical problem I’d have for the rest of my life.
My doctor gave me some ideas about diet and how that could perhaps help me cut down on some of the medication. But I was well aware that a lot of the problem was as a result of the job I had – it was quite a stressful one, and I was having to fly a lot to Europe.
I didn’t know a great deal about Type 2 diabetes at the time, although my father was diagnosed with the condition in his early 70s. When that happened, I did think that maybe it’s something I would have to deal with in the future. And my doctor had told me that this could put me at higher risk of developing the condition – because of the family link, as well as my lifestyle at the time.
Going on the trial
After four and half years, my doctor told me about a trial for Type 2 diabetes and asked if I’d be willing to take part in DiRECT. My life had changed around that time – I’d been retired for just over a year. And I thought I really needed to do something different. I realised that taking part in this trial could lay the foundations for the lifestyle change I needed. My doctor was very helpful and encouraged me to go on it.
I knew that I had the self-motivation to make change happen, but going on the trial gave me that kickstart I needed. I was also going to become a grandfather for the first time and that was also a big motivation.
At the time, I was still managing my diabetes with medication, and I also played golf. That had helped, but not to a great extent – my weight was 17st 7lb.
I’d got my weight down to a better level, but golf wasn’t enough. DiRECT was the right opportunity for me to set things in motion – to become more active and to change my lifestyle for the better.
I started on the trial nine months later in August 2015. When I started it, the DiRECT team leader, along with my doctor, stopped all of my medication. And I’ve never had any since then. That was the biggest goal for me – to see if I could control my Type 2 diabetes with diet.
The difficult part of being on the trial for me was during the diet replacement, having just shakes and soups, when some parts of my body were changing very fast. In November 2015, I’d lost just over 2st 5lb (about 15Kg). and I looked a bit ill, so I checked with the team leader that everything was OK.
It all turned out fine – I was doing well. It was just that my body had started to lose weight very rapidly. But I knew this part of the programme was still healthy for me, even though to look at me, it didn’t seem that way. But I didn’t for one minute think that I needed to stop. I had total trust in the trial.
Support and inspiration
When I was on DiRECT, I received a lot of support from the trial team – really a lot. My practice nurse was lovely, as well as the leader of the trial team. My wife, daughter and son, as well as my golf colleagues, gave me lots of support, too.
In fact, I received a great deal of support all round, and that support became stronger when everyone started seeing a change in my body weight, which – in turn – started making them look at themselves and say, ‘If he could do it, we could do it’.
Going on the trial inspired a lot of people to then also change their lives. My wife also went on a low-calorie diet and over the course of a year, she lost 1st 7lb.
A lot of my friends were saying that I’d lose the weight, but then would put it all back on, plus more. But they now look at me and they can’t remember what I was like then – at the start of the trial. They now see that this definitely works – weight wise and medication wise.
For me, the biggest goal was to come off medication. And I’m now the same weight as I was in my 20s or early 30s. I’ll never forget the people who gave me the opportunity to do it.
Diet wise, my lifestyle has changed dramatically. And I now walk about 100 miles a week which includes three games of golf. I use a Fitbit app on my phone to record distance and activity. I tried running, but my knees couldn’t take the pressure.
My weight last year remained at 13st 2lb. One of the lessons I’ve learnt from the trial team was to measure and weigh myself frequently, and celebrate if it’s good and do something about it if it’s bad.
I keep a daily diary and log my weight and activity. It keeps me accountable and focused.
Taking part in the trial has been a big part of my life and I struggle to think what would have happened had I not taken this opportunity. I don’t think I would have been in the condition I’m now in – so, for me, it’s been life-changing. I’d recommend it to everyone.
When the trial team told me I had put my Type 2 into remission, I felt fantastic and it gave me that drive to make sure I maintained it.
My HbA1c was 49mmol/mol, with diabetes medication, when I went on DiRECT. Since then, over the past three years, my HbA1c is either 34mmol/mol or 36mmol/mol.
I found that my lifestyle changed when the DiRECT trial started. After dieting, things I used to eat in the past, I no longer ate. Everything now is cooked from scratch and I follow some of the philosophy behind the programme – looking at the amount of carbohydrates and fats I should be having. I’m checking that more and more now, and it’s something that I plan to continue doing. My weight has now stayed stable helped by the amount of walking I do.
Bringing my blood pressure down through the trial means that I now have more energy – I no longer feel exhausted and I can do more, too.
I used to be keen on motorcycles and I’ve got back into that now. I love how good I feel overall.
Being involved with Diabetes UK through the trial has definitely improved how I feel about my diabetes – I can see that more and more now. People tell me that they’ve seen Diabetes UK in newspapers and on TV talking about the programme I was on. I feel that promoting the work the charity does on Type 2 diabetes has got to be the way forward.