“I’ve lost over 8 stone and done away with my diabetes. I can now get into the kilt I wore for my wedding 30 years ago!”
John Dick, 51, from Falkirk reversed his type 2 diabetes and came off his medication after kicking his fast food habit
“In just over 12 months I lost over 8 stone and my health has improved dramatically. My diabetes is in remission, I’ve been off all my medication now for over a year and I feel fantastic. My blood pressure is normal, my cholesterol is no longer high, and I don’t suffer from the back pain I had before either. I have so much more energy, I’ve taken up running and did the Couch to 5K. I run 2-3 times per week and completed the Edinburgh marathon 10K, two years running. When I crossed the finishing line and shared a post on Facebook, the support I got from my Slimming World group was phenomenal.
“I’m so proud of what I’ve achieved. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t lost weight before lockdown. Now restrictions are easing, I’m seeing people I’ve not seen for a while and they can’t believe the difference in me. I’m a Scout Leader locally and when one of the parents I knew well didn’t recognise me at all, that really made me realise the changes I’ve made. I know I’ve inspired others to join too.”
John’s inspirational 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. The study polled Slimming World members with type 2 diabetes. 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 condition.
Some 77% saw improvements in their blood glucose management and 60% of people 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.
The findings of the study are especially important as NHS research reports that people with diabetes face significantly higher risks after contracting coronavirus.
John says, “I joined Slimming World in January 2019 weighing 23st 4.5lbs. I was about to turn 50 which was a huge factor me although the main reason was being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at the end of 2017. To be honest it wasn’t a surprise. I knew I was overweight, I was always tired and out of breath, had high cholesterol, high blood pressure and severe back pain. After being diagnosed, I had to take two tablets a day for my diabetes. I’d begun to ask myself what am I going to do about this? I tried in 2018 to lose weight by myself by just cutting back and watching what I was eating, but it was slow progress and I only lost about a stone. I knew if I wanted to be healthier in my 50’s I needed help.
“When a flyer for Slimming World dropped onto my doormat, I thought this is it, I’ll join! I’m so glad I did. I really wanted to do it and for the first few weeks I sat at the back and listened carefully. The advice from the Consultant Claire was so helpful that from the offset it helped me tremendously."
I started to see the weight come off fairly quickly, purely through changing my habits around food and with no exercise at this stage. When I went back in to see my healthcare team, a nurse I’d seen at the start was amazed at my progress and said she wished I could come back in and speak to all her patients.
“If I think about what I used to eat before joining Slimming World, it was always fast food. We have two grown up children Iain, 27, and Ewan, 23. Thinking back to when the boys were small, I realise now we picked up some bad habits. I never thought I had time to prepare food, so we’d just get something quick like pizza or pie and chips. I wouldn’t think about what I was eating at all. Now I plan my meals and I never feel hungry. I’m cooking everything fresh from scratch and OK, maybe it takes a wee bit longer, but not always and yet it’s so much healthier. My favourite Slimming World meal is crustless quiche and I also love the chicken curry, it’s delicious.
“I never miss a group as the support I get there is just fantastic, it keeps me motivated. I know I would struggle some weeks without the encouragement I get every Thursday night. All the members are so friendly, we support each other sharing recipes and ideas. I enjoy being there and I’ve talked so much about how great it is, my wife Elissa comes along too now. I joined the virtual groups during lockdown and now we’re able to be back face to face, it’s lovely seeing everyone again."
The lifestyle changes John has made and the benefits he reports are incredible. Our research has shown that people with type 2 diabetes can manage their weight and diabetes control by making simple changes in diet and activity and there is absolutely no need to follow very low-calorie or restrictive diets to transform their health. More than half (54%) of those who had been Slimming World members for six months or more and lost at least 10% of their body weight, even reported they had managed to reverse their condition.
Dr Jacquie Lavin, Head of Research and Scientific Affairs at Slimming World, says:
“Members following our healthy eating plan enjoy a diet of filling and satisfying Free 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. In the study, 75% of Slimming World members with type 2 diabetes said they found it easy to fit dietary advice received from their health care professional into our flexible healthy eating plan, called Food Optimising.”
*Study polled 222 members with type 2 diabetes in May 2020. Data where blood glucose and weight change is reported refers to members with type 2 diabetes who were members for six months or more.
Group: John attends the Carron and Carronshore Slimming World group which is run by Consultant Claire Aitkenhead.
Starting weight: 23st 4.5lbs
Weight lost: 8st 4.5lbs
Current weight: 15st
Breakfast: any cereal
Lunch: burger and chips from the burger van at work
Dinner: pie and chips
Snacks: anything really – chocolate, biscuits, crisps, salted nuts
Breakfast: Slimming World cooked breakfast - scrambled or boiled eggs or lean grilled bacon, grilled low-fat sausage, grilled tomatoes and beans
Lunch: vegetable chilli with rice
Dinner: chicken curry
Snacks: popcorn, banana and apples
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 more information about Slimming World’s approach visit slimmingworld.co.uk. Follow Slimming World on Twitter at www.twitter.com/slimmingworld or become a Slimming World fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/slimmingworld