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Paul’s story: My type 2 diagnosis motivated me to make lasting changes and go into remission

Paul Ibberson


Knowing what I know now about diabetes I won’t be going back to where I was before. My lifestyle change is for keeps and I hope in sharing my experience, I can help someone else with their remission journey.



In the summer of 2021, my type 2 diagnosis was confirmed. I was 42 and had started losing weight without trying to. Within a couple of months I had lost up to a stone, so my wife forced me to go to the doctors for a check-up, which I finally did.
They took my bloods, checked my weight and BMI, and gave me a general health check. When my bloods came back the doctor called me to explain the results: I was overweight – with a BMI that classed me as being obese – my liver was not enjoying all the alcohol it received, and my cholesterol was high too. Then he told me I had type 2 diabetes.  
Hearing my diagnosis was a shock; there was no diabetes in the family, and I didn’t realise that my drinking and being overweight could cause the condition. At the time I was about 17 stone with high blood pressure, too.

The doctor explained the implications of my condition and how I needed to address things now, in order to prevent problems in the future. At that stage I wasn’t prescribed any medication, the doctor advised me on what to do and said he would see me again in three months for another blood test, and then we could look at other options if needed. 
One thing that particularly stuck with me was the way in which the doctor told me about my diabetes and talked about the condition. It came across like he had said those exact words a million times over to other people. After that phone call I vowed I would be the exception and would prove to him that I had listened and could change. I had three months to turn things around, and that was my focus.

Food and healthy eating

Making changes 

The realisation was that I needed to sort my life out. To start with, it was important for me to have a good understanding of diabetes. There’s not a lot of information out there and so I did a lot of research and found the Diabetes UK website very helpful. 
I soon realised I needed to make changes to my daily diet. This meant going onto a low-fat diet, cutting out all sugar and caffeine, and stopping drinking. I checked everything I ate for sugar levels, swapping out anything with non-sugar alternatives. I became quite obsessed with reading food labels and if I couldn’t find an alternative, then I would just cut it out. I would have lactose-free milk and made my own bread without sugar.

It was very difficult at the beginning, but I was motivated to keep going. 



Getting active  

I realised I needed to do some form of exercise but wasn’t keen on the gym – it just wasn’t for me.

I took up running, which was not an activity I had done before, but came to enjoy it and would run up to three times a week. I wasn’t particularly sporty, so it was a completely new experience.

I also downloaded the Couch to 5k App, something I would never have even thought about doing. I went from feeling like I would die if I ran 50 yards, to running three miles without stopping. It took a couple of months with the running, but I found my groove and got into a routine. 
I was monitoring my weight and blood pressure, and over time I started to lose weight. With the changes to my diet and incorporating the exercise, my weight went down to 12 stone 6 – and I now hover at around 13 stone 6. My waist reduced from 40 inches to 34 inches, and I started to see and feel the difference. It was a complete lifestyle change and one that I’ve really benefited from. 

Life with diabetes

Seeing results  

My three months were up, and the day arrived for my blood test.

All the work was for this moment, and I was rewarded with the best news that my HbA1c was 39 mmol/mol – my doctor was thrilled. I thanked him, as he had given me the motivation I needed, and I will forever be grateful for that. I’m also grateful to my wife as she forced me to go to the doctor in the first place.

I honestly felt like I was in my 20s again with more energy, sleeping well, and with more confidence. I was addicted to running, even in the rain, and all this in the space of three months. I also eliminated any anxiety I once had and felt balanced and content.  

Journey with diabetes

Keeping on track  

My diagnosis was a real wake-up call for me and one I’ve really benefited from.

I’ve kept the weight off and I’m a lot more careful about what I eat. I’ve really immersed myself in knowing the make-up of my foods, cooking from scratch, and knowing what I’m eating when I’m out and about.

And now, even though I’ve eased off or I have the occasional treat, I’m still very much aware of my nutrition and wellbeing. You can still enjoy food, it’s all about moderation. It wasn’t easy but I don’t want to be taking diabetes medication for the rest of my life.

However, it’s important to say that my regime and approach might not work for everyone – but it’s what’s worked for me. 


Staying positive  

With the right mindset and motivation, it’s possible to turn things around and try and put your type 2 diabetes into remission.

It’s about making that choice and a commitment to keep going on that journey. It’s the hardest thing you will ever do and at times I felt like giving up, but you have to keep looking ahead at the goal and just keep pushing.

Knowing what I know now about diabetes I won’t be going back to where I was before. My lifestyle change is for keeps and I hope in sharing my experience, I can help someone else with their remission journey.  

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