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Keith's story: how I'm working towards a goal of remission

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Keith Appleyard

Diagnosed in 2004.

I’d like to put my diabetes into remission and if it did happen then that would be great news but if it doesn’t then it’s not a failure.

After living with type 2 diabetes for 15 years, Keith Appleyard has been put been on an intense low-calorie diet via the NHS weight loss scheme to help him better manage his diabetes. It could potentially put his diabetes into remission.

Journey with diabetes

Keith’s journey with diabetes 

  • Was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 12 years ago 
  • GP said that he was overweight and on the max dose of metformin 
  • Enrolled onto an NHS weight loss scheme developed by Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Trust
  • Has lost 6.2 kg in the first four weeks of his weight loss programme
  • Would like to put his diabetes into remission, but has said it’s not a failure if he doesn't 

Food and healthy eating

Following a weight loss plan

I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 15 years ago. Since then, I’ve tried to eat sensibly because my wife is a GP and she wouldn’t let me eat any rubbish. But I wasn’t active. I was the sort of person that wouldn’t walk a kilometre to the shop to get a paper, I’d jump in the car unless it was a sunny day. 

I’ve never been on insulin to manage my diabetes, I’ve just been taking metformin and tried to follow a healthy diet. About a year ago I went to see my GP for a check-up and he said to me that I was looking at being put on insulin if I didn’t change my lifestyle because I was overweight and on the max dose of metformin. He said that he couldn’t up the drugs anymore because they are not having the desired effect and that there was ‘too much of me’ for the drugs to go around my body. My BMI was stubbornly at 33-35.  

 

Diet and nutrition 

The way the diet works is that there is a 12-week cycle where you consume just 800 calories a day then for the next two weeks you step up to 1,000 calories a day. At week 15 you go up to 1,200 calories and then finally at week 17 you have 1,500 a day. The diet is made up of meal replacement shakes which you have four times a day. If you don’t want four shakes you can swap one out for a chocolate bar with nuts and raisins. To compliment the shakes, you can also have 250 grams of salad a day but you can’t eat bread, potato, meat or drink alcohol. I like to pretend that cherry tomatoes are like little chocolates – it’s a great tip for a chocoholic like me. After 12 weeks, you can drop two shakes in order to introduce a normal meal. 

I buy the shakes myself from the supermarket. It’s important to add that diets like this can only be followed with medical supervision so it’s worth speaking with your GP before starting one. 

The diet isn’t specifically designed for people living with diabetes but when I asked the rest of the group at my weekly weigh in session how many people had diabetes, around 50 per cent of people put their hand up and a few said that they had prediabetes.

My body is changing and in the first four weeks of having the shakes I lost 6.2 kilograms and most of us who are on the diet have lost similar amounts. I’m feeling fitter and have lost four inches off my waist – I’ll need a new wardrobe soon! At the end of 12 weeks my GP has already scheduled my HbA1C review. 

 

Support from family and friends

For the first 48 hours of starting this diet it was really hard, but then you get used to it. I have 12 grandchildren and they are all under eight years old so I really need to improve my health in order to be there for them. I’m 66 now and I’d like to be around so I can see them grow up. My family have encouraged me to make the change and have kept me going throughout. My wife eats salads with me now, it’s saved us a lot of money.

    Activity

    Introducing exercise

    Four weeks into the diet, they started to introduce exercise as well and everyone on the scheme was shocked. For a lot of us, it doesn’t come naturally to exercise, so it was a struggle at first. We started using resistance bands and learnt some exercises using them. I bought a set straight away and carried on doing exercises at home.

    I’ve also started walking more, for example, yesterday I walked the length of Piccadilly and then got on the bus. I aim to do 10,000 steps a day as well as doing other exercise like the ironing or the gardening.

     

    Long term goals

    I’d like to put my diabetes into remission and if it did happen then that would be great news but if it doesn’t then it’s not a failure. If I can get my medication down then I am still saving money for the NHS and giving myself a better quality of life. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next year will bring.

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