Epsom-based Nicole Walker is a mum-of-three and a personal trainer. She is 46 and has Type 1 diabetes.
Nicole is now a personal trainer and specialises in helping people with Type 2 diabetes
“It was 1981 and had just turned ten. I’d been feeling thirsty and losing weight – and then came the diagnosis. I had Type 1 diabetes. It was a huge shock but with the help of my mum, I had a daily rigid regime of carb counting and very precise meal times.
Then I hit university and things started to slide. Less concerned with the long term complications of my diabetes, my daily routine suffered and I lost control of my diabetes.
Having Type 1 means I was obsessing about my weight and I soon suffered from bulimia. My university years were a really rough ride with my diabetes as I only cared about losing weight and didn’t care about my volatile blood sugar levels.
I needed help and found it at the University of Newcastle where I was treated expertly by an eating disorders specialist. There, I got the right help and support at the right time.
My first child came when I was 31 and I’m happy to say my eating patterns normalised. I was one of the lucky ones. Conquering my eating disorder meant I was once again in control of my diabetes but it’s an everyday struggle. Because of my diabetes, I have problems with my eyesight which means I can’t now drive.
Knowing first-hand how important a good relationship with food is, I have developed a passion in diet and exercise which has led me into a career as a personal trainer. At Leatherhead Leisure Centre where I worked for nearly 3 years, I specialised in helping people with Type 2 diabetes, tailoring their diet and exercise to their individual needs. I find helping others with the condition so rewarding.
I’m also volunteering forDiabetes UK’s Surrey-Downs groupin order to help local awareness. If you have diabetes, I'd say get a healthy eating plan, get to the gym or to the park and get active - and finally get out there and start living well."