I started the DiRECT trial after talking to my district nurse and Professor Roy Taylor. Around 16 weeks later, I was told my diabetes was in remission. Three years on, my diabetes is still in remission and I don’t take any medication for it.
I felt shocked and numb when I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I was struggling with a few health issues at the time and felt like this was another thing to get my head around. I quickly came to terms with the fact that I had diabetes and found out what it was. I don’t have any family history of diabetes so I didn’t know a lot about it.
Starting the DiRECT trial
On the DiRECT trial, I was doing the low-calorie, meal replacement programme for around 16 weeks. The first seven weeks were horrendous. I felt really low on energy and didn’t feel great. I really struggled to do it.
We were told that if we struggled in the first few weeks that we could have something to eat, but knowing my personality, I had to do it cold turkey – so I just had water and the shakes from day one. It took my body a lot of time to get used to it, especially as I was working at the same time. I work in the food industry so it made it really hard, especially as seven weeks in I went on a two-day conference where there was lots of food.
For me, the hardest part was the first 14 weeks on the diet, but once you see the benefits of what it will do, then it almost becomes a no-brainer. You need to have the mindset that this will benefit me in the end.
It’s completely changed the way I think and eat
After the diet, I had an MRI scan and was told that I’d put my Type 2 diabetes into remission. Before the trial, my weight fluctuated between 15 and 16 stone, but after the diet I went down to less than 13 stone. Now I’m about 13.4 stone.
My eating habits have changed a lot – I used to live on fizzy drinks and doughnuts. But since day one of starting the trial, I now only drink water and plain tea. I taste sugar in everything now, so try not to have as much of it. I obviously don’t deny myself, but it’s completely changed the way I think and eat. As a family, we now eat much smaller portions than we used to.
My family, including my two children, were incredibly supportive throughout. I talked about it all with them at the start, so they were completely aware of what it was like.
Three years on, I’m not on any medication for my diabetes and it feels like such an achievement to have put my diabetes into remission. I don’t want it to come back so I have to be careful with my weight. I recently went above 14 stone because I was working different hours and eating rubbish foods. The trial has taught me to listen to my body, so when I’m feeling lethargic I stop and make an effort to be healthy again.
People are taking part in DiRECT for two years, but everyone was recruited at different times. This means some people are still on the trial, and some have finished. Everyone has completed one year, which is why the researchers can announce those results. Kieran has now finished the trial and can share his story.
Find out more about our DiRECT research into a low-calorie diet and remission.
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