"I’ve lost 8 stone and reversed my diabetes. I used to take 6 diabetes pills a day and now I don’t take any!"
Helen Rogers, 56, from Birmingham reversed her type 2 diabetes and has ditched her diabetes medication after changing her habits around food
Helen’s story backs up research* showing that people with type 2 diabetes can improve their diabetes control by making healthy lifestyle changes and losing weight following Slimming World’s programme. Of those who had been Slimming World members for six months or more and lost at least 10% of their body weight, more than half (54%) said they had reversed their type 2 diabetes. Three quarters also saw improvements in their blood glucose management and two thirds were able to reduce or stop taking medication. An incredible 84% reported an improved quality of life and 75% of members with type 2 diabetes said they found it easy to fit dietary recommendations from their healthcare team into Slimming World’s Food Optimising eating plan.
“Back in 2018 I had uncontrolled diabetes and was under threat of having to take insulin. I was taking nine tablets a day; six were to manage the diabetes, two were for my blood pressure and one statin,” says Helen.
“Losing 8st has changed my life. I had blood tests this month and the results are already back. It looks like my latest diabetes blood results are ‘41’ which means my diabetes is now in remission. I’m super chuffed and I feel fantastic. My cholesterol looks good too. I still take one tablet for my blood pressure and another for my cholesterol but I’m off all my diabetes medication and have dropped from taking nine tablets a day to just two.”
According to the NHS National Diabetes Prevention Programme there are currently 3.4 million people with type 2 diabetes in England with around 200,000 new diagnoses every year.
Type 2 diabetes, largely preventable through lifestyle changes, is a major contributor to kidney failure, heart attack and stroke. Treatment for type 2 diabetes accounts for just under nine per cent of the annual NHS budget - around £8.8 billion a year.
As well as those who have already developed type 2 diabetes, there are currently five million people in England at high risk of developing the condition. If these trends persist, one in three people will be living with obesity by 2034 and one in 10 will develop Type 2 diabetes.
Losing weight by making changes to our lifestyle that are sustainable, as Helen has done, is one of the most effective ways to protect our health.
Helen adds: “I joined Slimming World in March 2018 weighing 20st 8.5lbs. I’ve dieted on and off for my entire adult life but it always crept back on over the years as I slipped back into bad habits. This time, I’m confident I’ll be able to maintain the loss as being a Slimming World member and going to group each week has helped change the way I think about food.
“I worked from home for 25 years and sometimes I didn’t leave my house for days on end. Before joining Slimming World, I wouldn’t think about what I was eating at all. As I was always jumping on calls, I usually just grabbed quick food like toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch (with crisps) and then I’d have a cooked meal for tea. If I did ever have salad or chips, I’d have more bread with it too and although I didn’t ever eat fried food or takeaways or sweet foods or chocolate, I enjoyed many savoury snacks like crisps, nuts, crumpets and crackers.
“Soon after joining Slimming World, I lost 2 stone. Having retired aged 53 in March 2019 (after 35 years working for BT) I was going out socialising and eating at restaurants all the time. I used to think that was why I was so slow at losing the next stone. Then in March 2020, Covid hit and it stopped me from going out as much. After a few not very good weeks at the start of lockdown, I had a ‘light bulb’ moment when I realised that it was now down to me. I could no longer blame my social life.
“Being single and living alone, it’s been easy to plan my meals and I never feel hungry. I love the flexibility of the plan and I’m cooking everything fresh from scratch now. When I do eat out now I try and plan ahead to see what I can have and I also typically stick to just a main course rather than having a starter too. Also, if I know I’m going to be out for lunchtime, I will often take something with me (like a filled pitta) and just buy a drink somewhere and eat my own meal.
“I never miss going to group each week as the support is just fantastic, it helps to keep me motivated. The friendliness, camaraderie and support of the other members has been what’s kept me on track. I know previously I would have given up but the encouragement I get every week has made all the difference. It’s so good to hear other people talk as it makes you realise you're not alone in this situation. I also like that it helps you focus on what the week ahead has in store and how best to factor in any potential ‘danger’ meals or events.
“From being someone who used to avoid doing any exercise at all, I now walk 10-14K steps a day and go out of my way to walk to places I used to always drive to. I have so much more energy, I’ve even joined a gym! I’m able to get up and down the stairs a lot easier and as I’m now a size 14/16 (compared to a size 26/28 previously), it’s also far easier to buy clothes.
“I’m delighted that I’m healthier having lost weight and I’m especially glad I managed to reverse the diabetes. I’ve recently successfully applied for a new part-time job as an exam invigilator at my old senior school; previously I did not have had the enthusiasm or motivation to even look for a new role so I’m definitely looking forward to starting this new chapter of my life in the New Year.”
The improvements Helen has made to her health are incredible. Our research has shown that a fifth (22%) of members participating in the study with type 2 diabetes were able to stop taking medication completely and 85% said they were more active.
Dr Jacquie Lavin says: “Members following Slimming World’s healthy eating plan enjoy a diet of filling and satisfying everyday foods – including fruit, vegetables, eggs, poultry, lean meat, fish, beans, pulses, pasta, rice and potatoes -- which can be tailored to suit individual needs, tastes and budget. Sharing ideas about preparing meals and cooking from scratch and swapping recipe tips is a key part of the group experience. Members also inspire each other to become more active as their confidence and sense of wellbeing improves. As part of a supportive weight loss group, members motivate each other to make and stick with changes that they can live with. It both helps those with type 2 diabetes to improve their health and reduce medication and helps prevent those who are at risk from developing the condition.”
Angie Griffin runs the Water Orton Slimming World group and is Helen’s Slimming World Consultant. She says: “Helen is a real inspiration. I think the reality of Helen’s achievements is now starting to sink in for her. It’s incredible she has lost 8 stone, reversed her type 2 diabetes and reduced all her medication! To see Helen 'really' smiling is wonderful. She is funny, caring, encouraging and so much more – I’m so proud of her!”
*Study results are from 222 members with type 2 diabetes surveyed in May 2020.
Group: Helen attends the Water Orton Slimming World group which is run by Consultant Angie Griffin. For more information or to find your nearest group, visit slimmingworld.co.uk.
Starting weight: 20st 8.5lbs
Weight lost: 8st 1lb
Current weight: 12st 7.5lb
Breakfast: Toast spread thickly with butter
Lunch: Ham, cheese or tuna sandwich (granary bread spread with butter) & crisps
Dinner: Cooked roast dinner with gravy or chicken & frozen chips, sliced bread and butter
Snacks: anything really – Crisps, salted nuts, crackers
Breakfast: Fruit and yoghurt or eggs
Lunch: Pitta or bagel thin with low fat sausages or meat and salad with bulgar wheat mix
Dinner: Slimming World sweet chilli chicken with lots of vegetables, spinach and/or salad
Snacks: Corn cakes, low fat crisps, high fibre bar, fish sticks, boiled eggs, ham, fruit or a Babybel light
Slimming World was founded by Margaret Miles-Bramwell OBE in Derbyshire in 1969 and has become the UK and Ireland’s leading weight loss organisation with more people choosing to attend a Slimming World group each week than any other weight loss programme. We support hundreds of thousands of people, both in our groups and online, to lose weight and to adopt new habits to stay slim for life.
Over the years our founding principles haven’t changed:
- Our unique programme is based on a powerfully motivating support system called IMAGE (Individual Motivation and Group Experience) Therapy. Underpinned by a deep understanding of the psychology of overweight people, and incorporating the most effective sustainable behaviour change techniques, IMAGE Therapy is designed to inspire and motivate slimmers to make positive changes and to develop new, healthier habits around food and activity.
- Food Optimising is our healthy eating plan, based on the liberating concept of Free Food. We encourage our members to fill up on those foods that are naturally lower in energy density (calories per gram) and also highly satisfying while limiting foods that are highest in fat and sugar and are less satisfying, so they lose weight without ever feeling hungry or deprived and without having to weigh, measure or count everything they eat.
- Our activity programme, Body Magic, encourages members to become more active, more often in ways that they enjoy, until regular physical activity becomes an intrinsic part of daily routine.
Above all, at the heart of everything we do, lies our passion for treating every member with genuine care, empathy and respect.
We’re proud to work with the NHS, Public Health England, The Royal College of Midwives and others to help shape the future of weight management in the UK.
For further information please contact the Slimming World press office on email email@example.com