The fast fix

It’s been a while since I wrote a post where I felt anger was the motivating factor – but as I type I must admit that my baser instincts are in the background.

After a friend recommended I have a look at it I’ve been watching a programme called ‘The fast fix – Diabetes’ – which has been on ITV (if you’re in the UK) this week. (link)

In it a mixture of normal people and celebrity guests have been guinea pigs for a university research project that aimed to prove type two diabetes is not only reversible – but the process can be done without ANY drugs – and within eight weeks.

It sounds good right?

Excellent subject matter!

It is – on both counts.

However the reason that I’m ANGRY is that watching it makes me feel seriously short changed. When I was originally diagnosed my healthcare professionals (probably under pressure – and maybe without the benefit of the latest research to hand) told me the opposite to what I’ve seen in this programme again and again.

From the moment I was handed the news that I was type 2 I was told face to face and within the literature I was given the same lies. These were firstly that whilst I could manage my condition with a better lifestyle the type two that I’d developed would always be a part of my life and secondly that it was inevitable this would eventually turn into insulin dependent type one.

Others outside the medical profession suggested it might have been reversible – and I was battered to death with well meaning link after link after link – but medical science seemed to think otherwise.

not knowing what to do for the best I deferred to the advice of my practice.

Honestly though I have to be truthful. At that point in my life it’s entirely possible (probable even) that no matter what anyone would have said I’d have been the same man with the same behaviours. Back then I had complex emotional and physical issues and I had convinced myself it was impossible to overcome them.

The thing that I’m angry about is that at a time when I felt there was absolutely zero hope the people in charge of my care failed me.

  • My initial results were lost and I went misdiagnosed for quite a while
  • My appointments for blood tests only materialised if I pestered my surgery
  • A diabetes forum at the local hospital remained closed to me after repeated requests for membership over a two year period
  • My condition was monitored only every six months (this isn’t a dig at the practice – this is standard for the NHS).
  • My blood glucose monitor (standard for type 1) was not something normally offered to type 2 patients – and even though I was prescribed the device I had to argue the case for why they should give me further testing strips so that I could monitor my condition at home.

Now – whilst I recognise that diabetes (something that I fully admit my own poor choices in life caused) puts an enormous strain on an already creaking and burdened health service the truth is that I feel I wasn’t really ‘looked after’ in any meaningful sense.

Instead of being shown step by step how I could fix this condition I was left almost completely in the dark with only the internet and forums to help me understand my problems.

My diabetic nurse was nice but 30 mins with her every 6 months was not a lot – and it was only when I took control of my own life that things started to change.

To be clear – I’m not annoyed that no-one took control for me – because I’m a grown up and it was my choice to eat and drink like a moron for years on end.

What I’m annoyed about is that the advice and prognosis was so shockingly bleak and poor and I feel I was given NO hope and NO reason in my mind to try.

My daily pill dispenser was going to be FULL forever and that was just a fact of life. Furthermore they’d given me a card entitling me to free prescriptions forever because this was the best they could do. It seemed like the NHS was rolling out a red carpet of money forever because they didn’t have the time to do anything else.

I’d need drugs – lots of drugs and most likely more illnesses would be on the horizon.

They too would need drugs.

I was now a pharmaceutical company’s wet dream and facing a no expenses spared trip to the bottom of the u-bend.

But I digress.

Back to the programme on my telly box.

Out of all the participants (who were subjected over 8 weeks to brutally restrictive calorie intakes and increased levels of exercise) over half found themselves in a blood sugar range that was no longer considered to be diabetic.

Let me just say that again.

Over half of the participants.

Furthermore in a long term study over the course of a year well over 80% of the people subjected to this regime continued to remain unmedicated and diabetes free.

Let me say that bit again too.

Well over 80% of the participants remained unmedicated and diabetes free.

With figures that convincing it’s hard to understand how the western world has largely sleep walked into a situation where it’s convinced itself diabetes is the new norm and is almost as common as getting the flu.

I’m not normally a conspiracy theorist but given the amount of money spent on advertising unhealthy food I can’t help but come to a sad conclusion.

This is that somewhere along the line people are being paid to look the other way while sugar and refined food pushers (I use this word for good reason given the addictive nature of sugar) go about the business of ruining lives for profit.

The last two coffee shops I’ve been into today, along with pretty much everywhere else in the universe is intent on pushing sugar – and often the first hit is free.

Costa and Coffee#1 clearly aren’t selling enough refined carbs. Currently they’re just giving them away.

I refuse to indulge.

My health is too important.

Five years ago I was wetting the bed because I couldn’t stop going to the toilet every 30-40 mins to flush out the blood sugars.

I was constantly thirsty, lethargic, and could barely read anything without glasses.

All that’s gone because of the healthy eating plan and exercise I’ve followed whilst with Slimming World – but this programme proves that you can do it without a group at home if you prefer – for free. Where there’s a will to change there is most certainly a way.

If this much can be done in just eight short weeks to improve health outcomes and to reverse life changing conditions like fatty liver disease and diabetes why is it not being done everywhere?!

Anyway.

I’ve said my piece. Rant over internet.

Watch the programme if you can.

Thankfully life is different for me now.

I’m a healthy and happy diabetes free man with everything to live for, and as well as continually walking everywhere I’m in control of my life and condition.

Davey

 

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22 comments

  1. Hi Davey. I am also a Type 2 Diabetes person who has lost weight with SW. For 5 years now my blood sugar levels HBA1C have been below 50. Usually around 48. I am now a diet controlled diabetic no longer on prescribed drugs.

    However I am still constantly told by my GP and practice nurse and other health professionals that I *am* diabetic ….. and I get slightly bored of the continuous requests for blood tests and eye screening (which stupidly the NHS super computer keeps inviting me to 3 times a year).

    The reason those things annoy me is because I know that I am a “good” diabetic with these days very good diet control and constantly almost normal (non diabetic) blood sugar levels.

    But again my GP and health professionals insist that diabetes is *not* reversible and that I am only “in remission”.

    Currently my blood sugar levels are what that TV programme labelled as in the pre-diabetic range ….. and yet I know that with further weight loss I would be able to get those levels lower ……. below 45 to the levels deemed “totally normal”. **

    ** And yet I am almost certain that if I did so my GP and practice nurse would still insist that I am “diabetic” and still need to go for all the tests 3 times or 6 times a year.

    I have been officially listed as diabetic / having Type 2 Diabetes for 10 years now (originally weighing over 23 stone and needing medication — now a much lower weight and BIN below 39 ….. but not yet quite at my goal weight).

    It does seem that it is impossible under the BHS regime to get *undiagnosed* as no longer diabetic. I was told at my surgery that even if I did get my weight down to BMI of 25 and really low HBA1C levels that I would *still* be registered as diabetic (in remission).

    So it angers me on two fronts:

    1. Was the TV programme wrong to pretend that you can “reverse” diabetes….. when actually all those people will still be registered and labelled as diabetic……. and the best you can actually do is to put diabetes “into remission”.

    or

    2. Is the NHS wrong to give so many millions of people zero hope that they can “reverse” diabetes / put it into remission …… and that they give us such negative clinical outlooks?
    And that despite the fact that the GO surgeries *do* say a Bit of waffle about lifestyle changes blah blah …. ehatcthey don’t seem to say in really simple black and white terms is “just lose 50 lbs / 100 lbs and you can turn this around”. **

    *** Wouldn’t that be an encouraging / positive message to be able to give patients who have just received their first Diabetes diagnosis?

    But they don’t do that …… it’s lime they don’t *want* you to know it’s reversible / changeable …… they want to make you think it is an impossible life long condition forever.

    Hmmmmmm.

    Why would that be ….????

    Like

    1. We clearly think alike.

      I’ve managed with my weight loss and exercise to get my HBA1C from 94 to 29 on my last check. It’s TOTALLY do-able and both of us have proved it.

      It saddens me though that the institution that we look to for guidance and help has so little faith in the possibility of a lifestyle ‘cure’ (or maybe it is remission – only time will tell)…

      Big hug from one fellow traveller to another 🤗

      Like

  2. It isn’t just our NHS. My mother in Canada has been diagnosed as Type II for almost 40 years and has managed her diabetes with diet all that time. She still tests daily and modifies her eating if her levels warrant a change. She is 91. Then this year they phased out the test kit she uses and introduced some new kit which she struggles with because the components she has to put in are so small she can’t deal with them with her arthritic hands. No one took the time to work with her to ensure she could manage the new equipment. Te practice of medicine has become factory like, rather than about ‘care’.

    Like

    1. Sounds so familiar 😥

      Is there a kit that you can get privately for her maybe? This must be a problem for the elderly everywhere. How about contacting a local age concern charity closer to her and asking for advice?

      Like

  3. Hi Dave, I seem to have sorted out my login for WordPress with some help from Peter so here I am. You post makes interesting reading as always. I have watched the programme and it is amazing what the people achieved. If they keep at it then their diabetes will have been reversed.

    Did you by any chance watch The Truth About Carbs? I saw it recently on the bbciplayer. It is worth a watch and I will be reviewing a few things having watched it. Interestingly they also changed some people’s diets to improve diabetes in a far less drastic way. They got the people to choose better carbs and all the participants said they could keep it up in the long term. One man who had been a diabetic for 17 years showed huge improvement over a couple of weeks and was told if he continued with the plan he would be medication free with 2-3 months.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I feel VERY strongly about this too, Davey. I don’t have Type Two Diabetes, but it was one of the big reasons why I started on my own weight-loss and healthy-lifestyle adventure. I could see I was ‘getting away with it’ and felt it could only be a matter of time. I have friends with TTD who won’t or can’t get into the dietary approach and it saddens me that their conditions are taken as ‘for life’ when they could be doing something to repair the damage. And as you rightly say though, it has to come from them, in their time.

    One thing bothered me about this programme though… all those protein shakes are so very sweet. They’re designed to appeal to people with full-on sugar addiction. They all have names which suggest sweet treats, puds etc. Having conquered my own sugar addiction, I’m all in favour of encouraging people away from those sweet tastes, away from the sugar substitutes, into a low-sweet lifestyle!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Totally agree. When I did the Cambridge diet (meal replacements) it was all about the sweet shakes. They had soups too though and after a while that was the only thing I had.

      I totally agree though – these shakes and meal replacements are not the way to do it if you want continued success.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I agree about the replacement shakes. All of the people needed to lose weight and quickly in the interests of their health. I believe they were all diabetics and their medications had been stopped while they were on the fast fix and being monitored by the programme doctors. In the credits at the end it did say since the programme they were following a more normal diet. I found the science parts interesting particularly the bit that showed if you were over weight how much the blood glucose spiked. It will be interesting to see what you make of the programme once you have seen it.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Have just noticed in the TV listings “The Fast Fix” is repeated tonight (Tues 19th) and tomorrow (Weds 20th) on ITV late at night.

    Tonight’s episode is at 11.45 pm and Wednesday’s episode is on at 11.05 pm.

    Like Janet above I also found “The Truth About Carbs” extremely interesting. All these recent programmes have offered snippets of bite sized information I could take away and glean extra info from.

    For instance it wasn’t until I saw the “hamster” experiment in episode 2 of “The Fast Fix” that I totally fully 100% understood the connection between *regular* exercise and blood sugar control.

    In the bit I am referring to as the “hamster” experiment the doctors made the participants *walk* for 5 minutes every half an hour….. it was regulated military style with alarms and sirens going off in the house.

    It was after these bouts / days of *regular* short moderate exercise the doctors were able to provide proof of how much the blood sugar levels had improved.

    It was interesting to realise that 90 mins of exercise three times a week is *less* effective than 3 x 10 minute walks per day.

    The programme explained what happens during exercise (even if very moderate 5 minute walks) – in that the body has to go and *find* sugar / release some sugar (energy) to the muscles …… and the more frequently your body has to do this the better your body becomes at regulating its own blood sugar supply.

    ^^^ Excuse me if I sound slightly dumb but I did not previously know the complete correlation between exercise and blood sugar control.

    ================

    It was the trigger factor that made me realise that I need to change my lunch time routine. I work 8++ miles away from where I live so cycling or walking to work is not an option. My job is a very sedentary desk based office job and I generally have lunch in the office. Have been having healthy food for lunch — but not moving / being active for 10 hours until I leave work.

    I have been doing “exercise” (long walks) 3 times a week *after* work or at the weekend…… but nothing during the day.

    This revelation about blood sugar spikes / blood sugar control and the positive effect of moderate *regular* bursts of activity has made me re-think my plans slightly so that I can incorporate *moving about a bit* into my lunch breaks.

    ==================

    It’s probably part of the reason why you (Dave) have lowered your blood sugar to such a significantly low HBA1C level.

    Because your new regime of walking *to* and *from* work and in your lunch breaks is the best thing you could have been doing !! ♧

    ♧ Note to self: look for a job 3 miles away …… or consider moving closer to Birmingham city centre (?) ….. Hmmmm. Well another little thought for me for the back burner project.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad this had an impact. A lot of the stuff. (Just like the regular exercise thing you mentioned) were real light bulb moments for me.

      I’ve been doing so many of these things that they recommended – and it wasn’t until I added all of the exercise (combined with weight loss and healthy eating) that I saw my sugar levels change.

      Type 2 CAN be banished!!! 🤗

      Like

  6. Additional comment from me regarding the fact that the participants were put on a VLCD (“very low calorie diet”) of 800 cals a day (more than the usual Oxford/Caymbrige/ Lyter Lyfe “soups and shakes” liquid diets).

    I have also done LL/CD in the past (years ago) and gave up long before I ever reached goal weight …… probably partly out of hunger, boredom and frustration.

    However despite that, I do believe that VLCD’s can work and that people *can* return to real food without “putting it all back on again” ………. but the return to real food has to be staged / structured very carefully and slowly one meal at a time ……. which in this TV programme is what would have happened and been a medically supervised and supported return to real food.

    Thus basically on “week one return to food” the participant replaces *one* shake with one low calorie balanced meal (not too high in carbs) — a small 300 calorie type meal (e.g. possibly *real* porridge with milk and a banana to replace the first shake of the day) …… and for one week consumes 3 x shakes and 1 x ‘proper’ food meal ……. then in “week two return to food” the participants have to replace another shake with another 300 calorie low fat/low carb meal (e.g. lean chicken salad) ……. and thus have 2 x shakes and 2 x low calorie real food meals for all of week two etc etc ……. until all shakes have been replaced with real food (but for a while *very* low calorie / low carb / low fat / high protein food).

    Only after a month or two of the gradual phased ‘re introduction to “real” food can the carbohydrate content be raised / increased back to more normal (healthy) levels of dietary carbohydrates.

    That’s my tuppence worth on VLCDs.

    Of course the problem in “real” life (not the medically supervised and rigidly controlled life for TV) people don’t do that. People give up on low calorie meal replacement diets before they have reached goal (especially those with a lot to lose who would need to be on the VLCD for many months) …… rush to return to real food (“oh carbs how have I missed you”) …… and don’t go through the very structured and regimented “maintenance / return to food” phase of the diet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That ‘return to real life’ scenario was what awaited me after I fell off the wagon on Cambridge 😞

      It took another TEN YEARS for me to try again.

      Personally I’m an advocate of learning how to eat and installing the right behaviours while you lose weight – and although it’s not the only way Slimming World has proved to be a revelation for me.

      Like

  7. Just received in the post today the result of my latest HBA1C diabetes blood test. It has come down from 48 in January to 42 (borderline normal) as at July 2018.

    This is in no small part due to your blog and that darned TV programme.

    It is the extra #walking I’ve been doing for the past few months which has made the difference more than the weight loss

    Now I am hoping that with continued effort I can actually get my HBA1C levels down to 35 by the end of the year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Sharon that’s Wonderful! You simply have no idea how happy that makes me to have been part of that turnaround!

      You keep going girl! Kick that condition’s ass!!!

      I’m punching the flipping air right now!!!

      Like

  8. Thanks so much Davey. Soz I cannot click “like” on your comment as not a WordPress ID from me.

    Have just posted pics of the info thing with my new HBA1C reading on FB and Instagram …… and realised about an hour later that the official letter actually says “41”.

    Not even 42 borderline normal — actually just below into the “real” normal zone.

    I think my brain did not compute it correctly when I first saw it and made some kind of Freudian slip *assumed* I had only reached borderline normal.

    The pic is on Instagram @supershaz1 ….. with long blurb about being 42 and borderline normal. Doh !!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. OMG. Well I’ve just read your new post. I will leave that for a while. Other peeps might have comments.

    Meanwhile I have another thought / comment about diabetes and the generally held medical opinions / advice doled out to peeps with Type 2 Diabetes.

    That letter made me go looking online for what the official Diabetes Org guidance on HBA1C levels is and I was really disappointed to see that they advise diabetics to *aim* for 48 — which is the same medical advice I also received for many years from my GP surgeries — and was told that if my levels were around 48 on each HBA1C test that I was “doing well” …….

    Due to “The Fast Fix” – and your blog and success in reversing diabetes – and now mine – I now know this is nonsense.

    www. diabetes. co. uk / what-is-hba1c . html

    Liked by 1 person

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