Pat's story

My name is Pat. I'm 56 and married with a 15 year old child. We live in a farmhouse in a rural part of the Midlands of Ireland, but I work in Dublin. This involves 3 hours a day commuting. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 12 years ago. (I've been suffering from hypertension for nearly 20.) For the first 8 years I managed the condition with diet, exercise and some tablets. But increasingly my numbers and general wellbeing have deteriorated. I was feeling tired and chronically hungry. My numbers were stubbornly high, but I was afraid of hypos, especially during the commute. I was hungry between meals and needed to snack regularly. That was not good for my weight. My doctor upped my medication, but the impacts were only temporary. Initially I'd tried living on salad and exercising every minute I could but this wasn't sustainable. I was still tired. Last year I went vegan for 3 months. The numbers improved but I had very little energy. It just didn't work for me.

The BBC 2 programme Fixing Dad was an eye opener for me. Here was an approach that worked on someone like me, in defiance of medical convention. So I signed up just after the programme. I didn't know what I was signing up to, but I was definitely going to give it a go. I was busy on the first week and took a while to find my way around the site. I began logging my daily food. I thought I was eating pretty well: loads of low fat, high fibre food as prescribed by previous dieticians. But my coach patiently explained that the diet was fine for other people, but not for someone with type 2 diabetes.

The programme was simple: avoid carbs. The next problem was how to plan a diet without carbs. This is where the menus came in. There were a few items that hit the spot. They used ingredients that were readily available. My wife came on board and that meant that new items tasted good, which is important to keep you going with the programme. The change came quickly once I changed diet. Bloods came back in line (from 9 to between 4 and 5 on less medication). Blood pressure dropped dramatically (from 160/90 to 130/70 on half the number of tablets). But the biggest impact was that I began to feel great. I had more energy for work and exercise. I stopped being hungry. I didn't need to snack during the day. As a result after the 3 months following the programme I lost 16 pounds and 3 inches off my waist. My HBA1C went from 55 to 39 in the first 6 weeks. I've had more energy for my family, done more DIY and work around the house than I did in years. I just feel great and am sleeping better.

My only problem has been finding appropriate food away from home. If I go away on a trip it can be difficult to find something that is carb- and sugar-free. Once we got going, it was fairly easy to keep with the programme. Feeling good is great motivation. People telling you how good you look keeps you going. When I get tired of the routine, we check the menus and find something new to eat. I went off menu a couple of times at family events. But it was easy to get back on the horse again.

I've been attending GPs, dieticians and consultants for years. None of them told me to avoid carbs.

Yet this has had the biggest impact on my conditions.

This is a potentially life saving programme and I highly recommend it.

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