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Kathleen's story: I took control of my diabetes and went into remission

Kathleen took part in Diabetes UK DiRECT trial

Kathleen Brough

Diagnosed in 2015.

In life, you get out what you put in. It’s worth the effort to be in remission.

When Kathleen, 66, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, she didn't show any signs of having the condition, but already had high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Her GP suggested taking part in our DiRECT trial. During 12 weeks of the programme she lost 13kg (around 2 stone). She's healthier and fitter than ever and is now in remission.

Journey with diabetes

Kathleen’s type 2 diabetes journey



  • Now 66, Kathleen from Prudhoe, near Newcastle, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2015.
  • When Kathleen was diagnosed she didn’t have any of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes, and knew very little about the condition. Her doctor was concerned, because she already had high blood pressure and high cholesterol. In December 2015, she was offered the opportunity to take part in our DiRECT trial by her doctor. 
  • She received a lot of support from her family and the healthcare team looking after her during the trial. 
  • Over the course of 12 weeks taking part in the weight management programme, Kathleen lost around 13kg (around 2 stone) in weight , and was told her type 2 diabetes was in remission.
  • Having taken part in DiRECT, she now knows more about portion sizes, and has been able to keep her type 2 diabetes in remission for over two years.


My diabetes before the trial

I had type 2 diabetes for over one year before I started DiRECT. I actually didn’t have any symptoms of type 2 diabetes. I assumed that if you had type 2 diabetes you would have a lot of symptoms, and I know a lot of people do, but I didn’t. 

I was bigger than I am now I’ve taken part in DiRECT, but I still thought you had to be really large to have type 2 diabetes, which I’ve learned since then that you don’t have to be. You can have diabetes at any size.

Starting the trial

When I got the letter to start on the trial, I wasn’t quite sure whether I wanted to do it at first. I was trying to lose weight myself because it had been creeping on, but it wasn’t working. My problem was portions - I was cooking big portions. So in the end I decided DiRECT was tailor made for me – I could lose weight, with the help of the doctors and nurses.

I went along, and the nurse was really lovely. They send you for scans, and that was the beginning of it. We see what people look on the outside, but we don’t see ourselves on the inside. And I did. I saw all the fat around my liver and pancreas. I was quite shocked. That was the point that I thought, ‘I’ve got to do something about this, this isn’t healthy’. 

The challenges of DiRECT

The trial is a bit of a shock to the system. Sometimes you feel down and get a bit fed up with being on it, and you might drop out for a couple of days, especially when you’re on the soups and shakes. Those hiccups happen to everyone. Just focus, and a couple of days later, start again. We had charts where they plotted the weight. The odd week where I’d put weight on, it made me more determined to be good the following week.

I cook all the meals for my husband, Dave. It’s always been that way. I still cooked all the meals for him as I really enjoy cooking, I just made sure I’d had my shake before cooking so I didn’t feel hungry. In the end, I was on the soups and shakes for 12 weeks. I started adding more flavours to them to make them more interesting, like herbs and spices or coffee. 

I’m also quite a social person, so it was difficult during the trial because of the lack of meals, but I dealt with it. My friends were actually asking me if I was ok, because I had lost a lot of weight. They thought I must have been ill, but actually I was feeling better than ever!


Support during DiRECT

My husband was very supportive of the trial. Even he lost a lot of weight. My daughter was inspired by the changes in my body, and she also started losing weight. They were both very happy for me. It makes it worthwhile to do it when you can see all the dedication the nurses and the doctors have been putting in to the trial. I did it for myself, but actually for them as well. 

In life, you get out what you put in. And I did put a lot of effort in, but it’s certainly been worth it, and the support I had was tremendous. I’m so pleased to have taken part. Everyone’s been so helpful and I’ve gained a lot of knowledge from doing it. 


Positive news

When I was told I was in remission, it was brilliant. I felt I’d achieved what I set out to do. I thought, it’s all been worth it, going to the hospital, having all the blood taken and doing all the tests. When they showed me the scan of the liver and the difference in fat, I was elated. Ironically, I wasn’t bothered about changes on the outside, but the inside – the fat around the liver and pancreas. 

I’m aware that I’ve got to watch what I eat, but in general, I just eat healthily. We’ve got two allotments, so we eat lots and lots of vegetables. Dave grows them, and I cook them.

Where would I have been now if I hadn’t have done it? I consider myself very fortunate to have been on the DiRECT trial


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