Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Advice for people with diabetes and their families


Food and healthy eating

Enjoying what you eat is one of life’s pleasures, but sometimes it can be tricky if you have diabetes. Here we share stories from people who have learnt how to manage their condition and continue to enjoy food.


Naomi Dindol


Many patients started off quite well at the start of the pandemic as they were motivated to lose weight. But then their lifestyles changed through working at home and gyms being shut.

The change in daily routine has been a struggle for some. They found it not so easy to keep up with blood sugar control or weight loss when their energy levels changed. 

One trend we noticed is that initial availability of foods changed. People weren’t doing their shopping as regularly as before. So we've been helping people decide how to make a balanced meal using things in the freezer and cupboards. 

Recipe competition

One thing I'm excited about is a recipe competition I’ve started. It's for our pregnant ladies coming through the diabetes clinic. And it's to celebrate the diversity we have in the community around our hospitals. 

When advising what to eat, we want to suggest things that different communities want to eat and like to eat. It's good to involve our patients in sharing good practice to help other women who are struggling. 

So we've asked women who have found a meal or snack they're prepared to share that recipe. It needs to have kept their blood sugar levels within a tight range. We want them to tell us what the inspiration is behind it and what culture it belongs to. 

Joy of food

We’re hoping we can build up a lovely collection of different foods and meals for our patients to try that fit in with our healthy eating guidelines.

Food should be an enjoyment - and I quite often say to patients - I want you to enjoy your food. It's important. 

My partner and I have tried a few new recipes during lockdown. It’s having more time. We couldn't get out to our usual places at the weekend or do our hobbies or eat out. At the start I was using more long-lasting vegetables and more tinned products. And trying out different casseroles and curries. 


Things I’m looking forward to

I'm been looking forward to going out to dinner and being able to see family and friends a lot more. 

I was going to say I was looking forward to going to the gym, but I haven’t been since it re-opened. That’s a big change for me. I find I enjoy being outdoors a lot more now.

And I’m excited about running group education again. It’s so nice to talk to more than one patient at a time and get conversation going. Patients enjoy it too. Another patient might ask a question they hadn’t wanted to ask or hadn’t thought of. 

Read Naomi Dindol's complete story
Liz crouches on the floor holding some heavy looking weights

Liz CromwellDiagnosed with gestational diabetes in 2009

Making changes

One day, I shared a photo of myself on a family WhatsApp group. My brother replied with a comment that my smile looked ‘forced’.

I felt like he must have seen that something was wrong with me. It was the final straw.

For the first time in years, I wanted to change how I felt. I threw away all the junk food in the house and signed up to a ‘boot camp’ class.

I’d never done any exercise before. Boot camp was geared towards working to your own personal capacity. So, if I couldn’t do something, I didn’t feel the need to push myself. After my class, I’d come home and eat a big plate of heavy food. So, although I felt a bit fitter, it wasn’t having a huge impact.

Read Liz Cromwell's complete story
Bupe laughing

BupeDiagnosed with type 2 during the Covid-19 pandemic

Changes to food and lifestyle

The good thing was that I had the time to do something about it. The doctor said that it was reversible because I was still at an early stage.  She also prescribed me with medication and was very persistent that I take it. I collected the prescription but I was determined to do it on my own without taking any medication. 

The first thing I did was review my lifestyle. I knew I was spending too much time sitting down and not tracking the amount of exercise I was doing. I also knew that I was eating too late at night and also eating the wrong food. I changed the food I ate and then started to look for local community fit classes, like Zumba, or classes that I could do with my friends because I really liked that social element. 

Whilst I was looking for local classes, I came across this post on Facebook about Diabetes UK’s One Million Step Challenge and thought that this could be the motivation I needed to make sure I logged 10,000 steps a day. I signed up and my husband was very supportive and gifted me a Fitbit to help me track my exercise. 

Read Bupe's complete story
Deborah wearing a beekeeper suit

Deborah Goodman

Changes to my lifestyle

I’m really happy about my journey so far as I think I have come a long way. I have cut down on the snacking and swapped my breakfast so instead of having my regular sugary cereal bar I now have rolled porridge oats. I am now drinking more water (2 litres a day on average) and my alcohol intake has halved. I’m also doing more exercise.

For me it’s always been about making small changes as they’ll eventually add up. I knew this programme was going to benefit me in the long run and making small changes makes me feel confident that I can continue to keep up with these lifestyle changes in the future as they are sustainable. What I’m aiming for is a healthy lifestyle.

Read Deborah Goodman's complete story
Michelle stands on a beach, smiling

Michelle Griffith-Robinson OLY

In the kitchen

The diagnosis properly fired me up. I was really bloody minded about it all. I didn’t want to be on tablets and decided I’d do anything to avoid that. I was offered a place in a class to help with my food and nutrition. I said I appreciated that it’s probably very good and helpful for most people, but I’ve had years of sports nutritionists telling me what to eat. I knew what I had to do – partly eat fewer starchy carbs, but mainly I had to cut down my portion sizes. 

I’ve become very creative in the kitchen. My husband came on board, which made all the difference. When you’re facing something like diabetes, it’s important to have a good support system.

You have to be realistic, too. Life is for living, so I’m a huge advocate of adopting a lifestyle that you can sustain.

Read Michelle Griffith-Robinson OLY's complete story
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