Some people with type 2 diabetes are able to achieve healthy blood sugar levels without needing to take any medication. This is sometimes called reversing diabetes. Here we share their stories, as they recall the life-changing moment their diabetes was put into remission.

David smiles towards the camera in the stands of a football pitch in a stadium.

DavidDiagnosed with type 2 diabetes at age 48


The turning point for David came when his friend had a heart attack.

“I was shocked, I thought to myself I was living with diabetes and this could be me.” So David did more research. This is where he came across the ReTUNE trial

After getting in touch with the research team, David was asked to come in for an assessment to check if he met all the criteria for taking part in the study. He did.

With support from his medical team, David stopped taking his metformin and was put on a low-calorie diet programme which consisted of formula meal replacements (shakes and soups) and non-starchy vegetables for 2-4 weeks. This was designed to help him lose internal fat stored in and around the liver and pancreas. This was followed by a 4-6 week weight loss maintenance period which involved the gradual reintroduction of normal foods. At all times, David was supported by a medical team as part of the study.

“When I returned to my diabetes specialist, my HbA1c was 42! I was so happy.” 

A new outlook

“My health declining is what scared me, really, and made me try and see what can be done. I’ve changed that now, I am in remission and I am very happy.

“I exercise now not because I need to but because I enjoy it – running around with a few less kilos is easier. I love playing with my kids and look forward to a happy and healthy future with my family.”


Read David's complete story
A picture of Maureen smiling into the camera

MaureenDiagnosed in 2020

Making lasting changes

I’m definitely more active now, and I’ve managed to lose 75 pounds which I’m really pleased about. The sessions helped me on a journey to believe that I could overcome the fatigue.

With Francesca’s advice and support, I gained the confidence to start making small changes every single day, keeping consistent with it. I stopped having those wild swings where I was walking one day and then doing nothing for the next three or four days. 

I caught the bug of being outside and being a bit more active, and it became something I wanted to do rather than a chore. Moving more is a part of my life now. It’s also helped with my fatigue, as that’s gone now, and I don’t suffer from the same aches and pains in my joints either. Physically I feel better, and mentally I do too. It’s been great for me and I’m really glad I discovered the service. 

After I finished my sessions, I knew I wanted to get onto a programme and keep my activity levels up so I joined a women’s optimal health programme. It’s really helped me on my journey to lose weight and stay active, but it’s also led to my HbA1c levels going down and my diabetes going into remission.

If it wasn’t for the helpline, I don’t think I would have had the belief in myself to get to the point I’m at today. It’s completely changed my lifestyle. 

Read Maureen's complete story
Jan smiling in her One Million Step Challenge t-shirt and medal

Jan MatherDiagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2010

Putting my diabetes into remission

The combination of making changes to my diet and taking up regular exercise meant that I lost a lot of weight quite quickly. My body has changed and I feel so much fitter and stronger. I even go for a little jog occasionally - whereas if you’d have asked me before I’d have said ‘I’ll never run again.’ 

I’m now 83 kilos and have lost more than 40 kilos. I feel so much more confident, because I have committed to something and made it work. It’s an achievement I’ve strived for all my life. And more importantly, my blood sugar levels are right back down. They were in the 80s and they are now 41. I am officially in remission. My doctor was absolutely amazed.

The One Million Step Challenge been a humbling and enriching experience. I’m so grateful for what it has brought into my life.

Read Jan Mather's complete story

PaulDiagnosed in August 2018

Going into remission - and staying there

It felt amazing to be told I was in remission. My family were so pleased for me. The nurse said I just need to go back once a year, but I asked if I could go back in three months. I’ve read on forums people talking about remission and someone said, “Even when you’re in remission, psychologically you’re always diabetic,” and I knew what they meant. I feel like I will always be looking over my shoulder. It doesn’t get me down, as you come to terms with it, but it’s always there. 

To begin with, if I went out for coffee and got the little biscuit on the side, I wanted to eat it but knew it was a slippery slope. I’m absolutely determined not to let things slip and go back to how they were. Now that I’ve sustained my lifestyle and it has become second nature, I have the confidence to not be quite so stringent, and have treats occasionally. 

It’s not exactly been a walk in the park but a lot easier than I ever imagined. I do realise that it’s a change for the rest of my life, so I make sure that all my initiatives are realistically sustainable and not too onerous.

Health benefits

My efforts have paid off far beyond what I could have hoped for. Besides being in remission, I no longer need blood pressure medication, my cholesterol is reduced to optimum levels, my back, knee and hip pain has disappeared. I’ve also recently had it confirmed that I no longer have sleep apnoea (stop-start breathing while asleep), so I don’t need to use a CPAP mask – this is life changing in itself. 


Read Paul's complete story

KieranDiagnosed in 2016 at the age of 36

Life after surgery

Immediately after surgery, my consultant told me to stop taking the metformin medication. I had regular check-ups every six months thereafter with the amazing team at Shrewsbury Hospital. My bariatric dietician has been incredible with the level of support and advice she has offered me. 

Within four months of having the surgery, I had lost a further six stone and now weighed 12 stone. My sleep apnoea had gone and my regular blood tests showed my blood sugar levels (and other factors) had returned to normal, meaning that my diabetes was no longer within the diagnostic levels.

More than two years since the surgery, I am sticking to eating healthy and following the strict guidelines set by the bariatric team. Admittedly, I do have a treat every now and then, but within strict moderation. To my surprise, I am still able to eat many of the foods I enjoyed prior to surgery, though I do avoid junk food and fast food at all costs. Also, I have not had alcohol or fizzy drinks since the operation. 

I recall the reply I gave my consultant at my first post-op check-up when asked how I felt: “Liberated!” I feel so much healthier and I can do so much more than I did before surgery.

Read Kieran's complete story
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