Balance cover star, Shivali, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2008 and has now put it into remission. Her family are a huge part of her story, from growing up in a family that loved food to the invaluable support her husband has given her through her diagnosis to remission.
Living with Type 2 diabetes since 2008, now in remission
"Growing up, food was happiness"
With four siblings, there was always a fight over who could get the slice of leftover pizza. If it was someone’s birthday, we’d go out to eat and just gorge ourselves silly. Watching a movie, we’d eat a six-pack of crisps. My parents ran a shop, so we could help ourselves to whatever we wanted. Food was pure joy.
There was also no physical activity. There were no ballet or gymnastics classes. Mum didn’t drive, so we’d go to school and come back. Eating was the highlight of the day.
Looking back, I can’t imagine my daughters living the same life. They do gymnastics, Tae Kwon Do, ballet. But I don’t blame my parents. They were doing what they had to do, and they always did their very best for us all.
"The diabetes became the third person in our relationship."
When I met my husband, we connected over our shared love of food. We cooked together, we ate together. It was pure, gluttonous fun.
When I was diagnosed with diabetes, I only told my immediate family – my husband, sisters, parents and in-laws – about my condition.
Diabetes impacted my marriage too. I completely lost my self-esteem and any feelings of attractiveness. Everything became so medicinal - the injecting, the hypos.
My husband was my carer and it did not feel like a sexual or romantic relationship. The diabetes became the third person in our relationship.
"It means the world to me to have the support of my family"
Now, we have fun as a family. My husband has always been there and it is appreciated. The day I put my diabetes into remission was one of the 'happiest days' of his life. Now we eat better food together.
"We've got a lot of life to live and by her doing this, it's given us that chance. I'm very inspired by what she's done"
Hiren Modha, Shivali's husband
I work with my mother-in-law, we eat together and we live together as a family. It's the time we sit together and we enjoy our food. We still have fun but we spend more time thinking about how we can be more creative with food. It means the world to me to have the support of my family, they have stood by me.
Despite everything my family have always been my go-to people. They have lifted me from the ashes. Now, I have a renewed joy for living, for food. All the things I’d given up slowly.
Read Shivali's full remission story.