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Ken turned his lifestyle around for son Charlie

Ken was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes at a routine health check just before his 50th birthday. 

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I'd known for ages I wasn't right, but because I knew nothing about diabetes, I had no idea the symptoms I had, such as feeling thirsty and tired all the time, were typical of Type 2.

I was prescribed six tablets a day and I didn't feel bothered at all. But, the day I took my first set of tablets, my son Charlie - who was eight at the time - ran out of  the kitchen crying.

Over 3,300 calories a day

The year before, his grandad had cancer and towards the end of his life he was dependent on tablets for pain relief (Charlie saw his grandad die after taking a course of tablets and he was afraid the same was going to happen to me). It was a horrible moment. I was nearly 18 stone and, on average, I'd consume over What's your healthy weight? - more on some days.

 

"I can teach my son to make the right choices, something I wouldn't have been able to do before."

I didn't do any exercise at all. I'd go everywhere in my car, even to the supermarket or Charlie's school, which were both a five-minute walk away. But, seeing Charlie so upset made me take action. I booked an appointment with the nurse that day and asked her how I could get off the medication. She told me I'd need to make a massive change to my lifestyle and losing as much weight as possible would help, but the fact that I was 50 meant the odds were stacked against me.

Charlie stopped me giving up

Losing the weight was so hard - the first pound was a killer. But, the only thing that stopped me giving up was Charlie. Once I'd lost the equivalent of a sack of  spuds, I  knew I  wasn't going to put the weight back on. By then, I'd lost enough weight to have the confidence to exercise. Charlie and I started swimming every day and I began joining my wife, Claire, and Charlie on their bike rides. Initially, I'd turn around and head home when I'd had enough, but, over the weeks, my stamina improved and eventually we were all heading home together.

Zero tablets for me

In December 2016, nine months after my diagnosis, I went for a check-up with the diabetes nurse and she couldn't believe my transformation. I'd lost 5 stone. But, when she said I should stay on one maintenance tablet, I was devastated . Even Charlie said to me, 'Dad , I can live with that!', but it was all about zero tablets for me.

Seven months later, I was given a month's trial of no tablets. That was nearly a year ago now and I'm still off the tablets. Now I cycle at least five miles every day. I look at food as fuel and eat things I'd never have dreamed of before.

People say, look at all of the weight you've lost, but it's what I've gained that's more enjoyable every day. Charlie and I are closer than ever - Ken

We've always had a good relationship , but now we get to have more fun. I know I can teach him to make the right choices about diet and activity - something I wouldn't have been able to do before."

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