Diabetes is the fastest growing health threat of our times and an urgent public health issue. During the last 10 years, the number of people living with diabetes in the UK has more than doubled, to over 4 million.
We have been astounded by the affects of what we eat on our bodies.
It is time to take control.
She had diabetes, didn’t like how it made her feel, so rid herself of it along with her high blood pressure, just through changing her diet.
Pauline is not a doctor or medically trained in any way, but did some reading and changed her habits. We wanted Pauline to share her story with us because, as her very own doctor says, she is inspirational!
Pauline retired a few years ago and now lives in beautiful North Wales, on a mountain with spectacular views. Back in 2005 Pauline was diagnosed with diabetes after a general health check. First of all this was controlled by diet, which worked for a while. When she moved to Wales, she changed GP and had to go onto medication for her diabetes. This was fine but a year and a half in, the side affects and bad stomach issues were intolerable. Pauline trialled stopping the medication for a few days to see if the stomach issues and the pain she had would stop – which it did. When Pauline took the medication again it all came back.
On an annual diabetic check her HBA1C levels were way too high. They should be about 48 and hers were 98. She knew she had issues, so she tried a different diabetes medication but after 4 m it was doing absolutely nothing.
The real crunch came when Pauline needed an operation on my hand. She went to the hospital for the pre op and had a phone call the next day saying that her HBA1C levels were far too high again and they would not operate. She needed the operation, so with her diabetic nurse, decided to go on insulin to get her through.
Pauline went on insulin in February 2016. Being a very petit lady she weighed in at 8.5 stone but a month down the line she was up to 9.5. Pauline couldn’t walk properly as every limb ached, the pain was just incredible – a side affect of the insulin. This was the turning point. Pauline did not like what she saw in the mirror. She chatted to her husband and he looked up loads of things on line and found a book written by Doctor Michael Mosley “The eight week blood sugar diet”. He had actually had diabetes himself.
Pauline and her husband decided that day, that they would do this 800 calorie blood sugar diet.
The diet was really difficult for the first two weeks as you stop everything that is carbohydrate – potatoes, bread, rice, pasta, crackers…. Beware of Carb flu, you may have aching bones, a fuzzy head and just don’t feel right. It can last a couple of weeks as your body swaps to burning fat for energy.
Pauline decrease her insulin each day by 2-3 units and within three weeks she had stopped her insulin completely. Pauline noticed that her body weight started to go down again. So the insulin made her put on weight but after she stopped taking it, things started to progress in a better way.
Pauline took a certain amount of salt every day because she was burning fat and not sugar – and it helped stop the cramps in her legs.
When Pauline and her husband initially went food shopping, they tended to pick up every packed and look to see what was in there. Pauline noticed that packaging may not always label “sugar” but it could also be hidden under the names of glucose, lactose, corn syrup or cornflower. There are lots of different substitutes for sugar. She avoided sweeteners, turning her pallet away from the needing or craving of sugar.
Some people use meal replacement bars but you have to be careful because they can contain sugar too. Essentially now Pauline does not have any processed food. When foods say “diet something…” that’s the worst food that you can have because it still has sugar and carbs in. People don’t realize that starch burns like sugar in your system.
Pauline had to see this, not as a diet but as a new regime and new way of eating.
She used to eat apples everyday, bananas, grapes, potatoes, chips, take away …all the normal things that people eat but that’s a complete “No no” now. That’s purely out of choice – she chose not to have it because her quality of life now is far better than when she was diabetic.
Her diabetic book recording her blood sugar told a story. As she decreased the insulin, and proceeded with the no carb diet, her blood sugars levels got to where they should been.
Pauline had also been taking blood pressure tablets for 9-10 years. Her doctor took her blood pressure every day for two weeks when she was on medication, then for two weeks when I had stopped taking them. Now she does not have to take them and is absolutely medication free – her cholesterol is much better too.
Now a days Pauline is not on the strict 800 calories a day diet but still has no carbs and watches what she eats.
So what is Pauline’s typical day-to-day eating regime?
For breakfast she enjoys 2 rashers of back bacon grilled and one poached egg. Lunch could be lettuce, sliced tomato, a small piece of cucumber, some sliced onion, small square of mature cheese, 1/2 tin of tuna in spring water, maybe a packet of crisps or small amount of Greek yogurt flavoured with cinnamon.
Dinner could be homemade chilli with 4 taco shells or a handful of tortillas or homemade chicken curry made with curry powder and mustard seeds, a handful of sultanas and one onion with 4 poppadoms (as these are made using rice flour). Or roast chicken or pork with carrots, runner beans and peas or perhaps a steak with salad.
Resilience is about taking responsibility and making choices. It’s about having discipline. Saying no because what you want is more important. It’s about asking for help when you need it and getting support from family and friends. It’s very hard not to be inspired by Pauline – so thank you for sharing your story!
Find out more about building your resilience at www.personalresilience.com