A STUDENT has managed to “reverse” her type 2 diabetes by shedding a third of her body weight.
Katie McMillan, 28, was just 18 when she was diagnosed with the potentially deadly condition, after spotting that her blood sugar was sky-high during an unrelated op to correct an underdeveloped jaw.
PA Real Life Katy McMillan was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at just 18
PA Real Life But after shedding 4st, she’s managed to put the condition into remission
She was forced to inject insulin four times a day and by that point, weighed in at 12st 12lbs.
After losing 4st, however, Katie no longer needs the injections.
Standing at just 5ft tall, Katy was a size 16 and had a BMI of 35.2 – obese by NHS standards. A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9.
“I was so self-conscious, and embarrassed to have type 2 diabetes so young and to have to inject in front of people,” she said.
“I’ve gone from that to walking out of hospital in total disbelief that my blood sugar levels were healthy and normal.
“I feel so much better in myself and no longer feel like everyone is staring at me.”
Looking back, I’d had signs, like constant thirst, tiredness, and needing to go to urinate all the time, but I’d been too scared to go and have it all confirmed.Katy McMillan
Katie had tried to shift some weight a few years earlier, joining her local slimming club at 15, but the pounds soon piled back on.
When she was 18, she decided to have surgery to correct her jaw and it was during the prep for that that she was told she had type 2 diabetes.
“I was all geared up for the surgery,” she said.
“I’d been so self-conscious about both my weight and my jaw. I just wanted to get it sorted.”
“But, as the doctors were prepping me, they realised my blood sugar levels were sky high. The surgery was postponed as they ran tests, which showed I had type 2 diabetes.
“Looking back, I’d had signs, like constant thirst, tiredness, and needing to go to urinate all the time, but I’d been too scared to go and have it all confirmed.
“The diagnosis itself was devastating. I remember being shown how to inject myself, trying to do it and just sobbing, saying I couldn’t.
“I then had to deal with going back to school and adjusting to this new life. I didn’t want anyone to see me injecting, and felt so embarrassed.
“At that age, you just want to be like everyone else. It was hell.”
Over the next few years, she struggled to control her condition and comfort eating to deal with the stress.
Stress eating to cope
“I would eat rubbish – big plates of chips for lunch, then takeaways in the evening.
“I did very little exercise too. I’d not long passed my driving test, so drove absolutely everywhere – including to the McDonald’s drive-thru most evenings.”
It was only after seeing upsetting photos of herself that a Facebook post about Weight Watchers, now known as WW, prompted her to change her ways.
At that age, you just want to be like everyone else. It was hell.Katy McMillan
She added: “I saw these amazing before and after pictures and thought, ‘That’s what I want.’ I knew if I didn’t do it then, I never would, so I contacted my WW leader Morag and went down to a meeting.
“They explained how to use their SmartPoints system, which tracks food and drink to nudge users towards a more nutritious diet.
“It made complete sense to me and I especially loved the app, enabling you to scan food in the supermarket and find out how many points it’s worth.Being on WW didn’t feel like dieting
“I’d tried other regimes in the past and hadn’t stuck to them, as they were so impractical.
“You can’t exactly go out to a restaurant and eat weight loss shakes or supplements. But I liked WW as it didn’t bring attention to the fact I was trying to slim down.
“I could still eat the foods I liked, but it taught me about moderation and to stop pushing myself to eat when I was full.”
Before long, Katy had hit her current weight of 8st 12lbs, and she no longer needs to inject insulin.
Instead, she just takes two Metformin tablets a day – a drug that’s used to control type 2 diabetes.
While Diabetes UK advises against using the term “reversal” for talking about diabetes, the charity does say that you can put the life-long condition into remission if you’re overweight by losing at least 2st.
Can you really reverse type 2 diabetes?
Diabetes UK says that the term “reversal” is a bit misleading because it makes it sound like you can get rid of the condition forever.
There’s no guarantee that type 2 diabetes won’t come back.
However, it is possible to put the condition into remission.
That means that your blood sugar levels fall below the diabetes range and you don’t need to take diabetes medication anymore.
“The strongest evidence for reaching type 2 diabetes remission points towards weight loss in people who are overweight or obese,” the charity says.
“Our scientists believe that storing too much fat in the liver and pancreas affects how type 2 diabetes develops and losing this fat can help put your diabetes into remission.”
Research has found that losing around 15kg significantly increases your chances of remission.
“We also know diabetes remission is most likely nearer to your diagnosis. So it’s important to start your remission journey as early as possible.”
Source: Diabetes UK
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Now, having ditched the junk food and takeaways, Katy lives on fresh, home-cooked meals, prepared from scratch and hits the gym three times a week, where she does cardio and lifts weights.
Speaking as the NHS has selected WW to help address the growing type 2 diabetes epidemic, as an official Diabetes Prevention Programme provider, she said: “My advice to anyone else out there feeling how I once did is just to take those first steps, go to that first meeting.
“It doesn’t take long for change to happen. You can still go out, have fun and socialise too. You don’t need to stop your life in order to feel different.”
PA Real Life After her diagnosis, she struggled to control it and started comfort eating to cope with the stress
It was only after seeing an ad for WW on Facebook that she decided to make a change
PA Real Life Today, she no longer needs to inject insulin
PA Real Life She simply takes two Metformin tablets a day
PA Real Life Diabetes UK says that it’s possible to put the condition into remission via a 15kg weight loss
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