Warren's story

My name is Warren Gleeson, I’m 46 and I am a Type 2 Diabetic. I live in Carshalton, Surrey and I am a Licensed London Taxi Driver and have been for the past 10½ years. I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in May 2016. I thought I was possibly suffering from diabetes for a few months as I had read about the symptoms (thirst, excessive drinking, excessive urinating and tiredness). But stupidly I chose to ignore them. I was on a weekend away with a few friends, one of which had a blood glucose testing kit. Everyone was having a go as people do, so I said why not for a laugh. I wasn’t laughing a few minutes later as my friend said ‘If it is 7 or 8 then that is quite high’. Mine was 22, she said I should see my GP. The GP sent me for blood tests and my HbA1c count was 104. I also had raised blood pressure which I did put down slightly to ‘White Coat Syndrome’ as when I checked myself on the ’Self test blood pressure machine’ in the Doctors waiting area it is always fairly normal. I know I was stupid ignoring the symptoms and looking back I did not realise how rough I was feeling but I owe the friend a big thank you for letting me use her testing kit. Otherwise I would probably have tried to ignore the signs I was diabetic. I am currently taking medication for the diabetes. I am on Metformin 2 x 500mg and Ramipril 1 x 2.5mg.

As a kid growing up through the 70’s and 80’s I spent most of my spare time out and about either playing football or generally up to mischief. I would eat for England but I was skinny as a rake. When I left school and started to work I did less exercise but still had the same appetite. I also discovered alcohol which added to the eating and less moving meant my weight went up. This has been the case over the last 25-30 years. I was married in 1998 to the lovely Helene (Ellie to all her friends) and we have two children, Saoirse who is 11 and Connor who is 10. I have always enjoyed my food but I like all stuff, both healthy and unhealthy. As for alcohol I have never been a massive drinker, just the occasional over indulgence. As for exercise, I did a 10k back in 2012 which I trained for which helped me lose weight too. Once I did the run I did not do any other exercise, apart from the obligatory cabbie past time of golf which I love even though I am not very good.

I think one of the big factors in me developing Type 2 diabetes was my diet especially since I became a Taxi Driver. It has always been easier to pick up a pasty or sandwich as opposed to bringing a packed lunch/dinner to work with me. Or getting a McDonalds. I thought I was being good by having sushi but I think along with the rest of my bad diet this did not help. Another couple of bad habits I would get into was a) when I was filling the taxi at the petrol station I would pick up a big bar (duo) of chocolate or a big bag of wine gums and would have eaten them with in a hour or two just through boredom and b) If I stopped for a cup of tea, especially at the Kings Cross café, I would get a big Danish pastry. Not good!

In the past I had done the usual things to try and lose weight. I joined Weightwatchers and I joined a gym. I trained for a 10k and lost weight but once I completed the fun run I went back to the old ways and did very little exercise.  

I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in May but I did not in fact see the first airing of ‘Fixing Dad’; a friend told me about the programme. So then I watched it on iPlayer and I can honestly say it has made a massive and positive change to my life. I was so inspired by Geoff and his sons Anthony and Ian. When I was initially diagnosed in May I was reading so much contradictory information about do’s and don’ts with regards to diet and how to deal with the diabetes. My only regret was not to have started the program as soon as I found out about my T2 diabetes. I feel I wasted 6 weeks. I am 9 weeks into the Ways of Eating program and it has been so easy to follow the plan. Plus having a very supportive wife helps massively too!

As soon as I was diagnosed with T2 I made a conscious decision to tackle it head on! The Ways of Eating has made this so much easier. I stopped any sweets and cakes and went onto a low fat diet initially. Once I found Ways of Eating I changed to a low carb diet, I also got straight back to exercise and rejoined a gym. I have also changed my electric golf trolley to a carry bag. Anything that helps. I do find that I have so much more get up and go now. I would often sleep late as I am a predominantly an evening/night worker. But now even if I work until the early hours I find I wake at 9am ready to go!

The Ways of Eating iPhone app has made the change to the low carb diet very easy. It explains how the diet works. The hardest part was changing the way you think. I always thought that the low fat/diet was best for me. But obviously on the WofE program I can eat full fat foods.

I have found it pretty easy to stick to the WofE plan. Obviously I have had the odd night out when I might have a desert but on the whole it has been very easy. I do find I am a bit of a nerd when it comes to labels. Always checking the carbohydrates and everything. But I like that the plan has hints and tips for me to refer to. I always bring my dinner to work with me and my wife has been a fantastic help too. She always supports me and helps with ideas for what to eat.

Because the Ways of Eating app is so well designed I really have not needed to call on the coach yet! But it is very reassuring to know that if I message the coach they will reply instantly.

It may sound trivial but I have really missed potatoes & sushi. Being from an Irish family I have lived on spuds. Plus sushi was my snack of choice, especially on the way home from work at 2am. I would often stop for a ‘Large Fish Sushi’ from Tesco’s. Saying that, I have found I would rather beat diabetes than have a chip!

The GP set a goal of lowering my HbA1c to 70 for my follow up appointment in December. The GP also referred me to the Desmond Project as a way of helping to understand my diabetes. When I attended the day long class they said I should be testing myself and should at least have another blood test to see how I was getting on. When the result came back I was over the moon to say the least. My HbA1c was 55. I have also lost weight, my weight in May was 100kg, I am now 94kg. I am feeling so well and I am just annoyed it took the diagnosis to kick me up the backside! I am hoping that when I do go back to the GP in December my medication will be reduced. Also my blood pressure is really good, probably as a result of both the weight loss and the exercise.

I am really positive about the future. I really believe that with the changes I have made to my lifestyle I can stop any further damage that may have been caused. The dream would be to follow Geoff Whittington and reverse the diabetes. I definitely would like to do another 10K in early 2017 and possibly take on the Royal Park Half.

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