Paul Reverses His Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis

May 12, 2017

Paul Cooper’s story is one of hope – and it is also one pertinent to many people in the UK (and around the world) who are diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Getting a Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis is not necessarily a permanent thing – and it is usually something which many people can reverse through an achievable lifestyle change.

Paul is an ElliptiGO customer based in Oxted, South of London. He’s shared his positive story with us, explaining how the changes he had to make to reverse his Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis (in a period of just 6 months) were both practical and achievable. He also explains why the ElliptiGO has been so useful for him during this process of transformation. He has to exercise for the longterm – and the best way to do that was to find an exercise he really enjoyed doing and could see himself doing as part of his new lifestyle.

Here’s his story in his own words…
As usual over Christmas and New Year (2016/2017) I took a decision to ‘lose weight and get a bit fitter’ during 2017. That sentiment had been the same for many years – and yet I remained at 105kg, which at 173cm in height meant my BMI (body mass index) was in the “Morbidly Obese” category. In the past I had always felt that although I had good intentions it probably wouldn’t last – and I convinced myself that I should be happy with my size and my lifestyle.

This year felt different somehow. It was difficult to explain, but at 47 years old I just ‘kind of felt’ that now really was the time to make a change for the better.

My health insurer had occasionally sent me emails in the past trying to convince me to sign up to their health and fitness programme, which may help to reduce my premiums. These emails had always been instantly discarded. In January 2017 I received a similar email from the health insurer, but this time I decided to read on and find out a little more (my thought process being that if I really was going to do something, no matter how small, then if I could save some money at the same time – why not)?

Well, like many people, I like a gadget  -and the current offer from my health insurer was simple:

Pay £49 up-front for a fitness watch and if you complete regular weekly exercise of even just walking you’d not pay a penny more for the watch. I was straight online to create an account and order my watch!

Whilst creating my account my health insurer also offered me a free Health Check at my local pharmacy (and I’d receive extra bonus points for going to this as well). This got booked as well, for 25th January 2017. The booking confirmation advised not eating for a few hours before the appointment, to ensure the blood tests were as accurate as possible. Therefore, as my appointment was at 11:00, I did not eat since my evening meal the previous day.

Everything was as I expected. Too short for my weight, my blood pressure was on the high side of just about acceptable, but the shock was my blood test for Blood Sugar. The result suggested I’d just eaten king-size chocolate bar and when I explained I’d not eaten for circa 17 hours the response was “You must go and see your GP immediately – no excuses!”

My result was 9.3mmol (apparently anything at 6.0 or higher is Diabetic). I booked the first available appointment with the GP – 31st January 2017. They ran a more accurate and detailed set of blood tests that got sent away – and I had an appointment booked to see the Diabetic specialist on the 9th February 2017, to discuss the results and implications and to undergo a full Diabetic Health Check.

In the interim I had started to research Diabetes, what causes it, what effects it has, how to control it, can it be managed, etc. As part of this research I purchased a book called the Blood Sugar Diet by Dr Michael Mosley. I found this book fascinating, as it explained things in a simple way that I could understand – and gave me the confidence that it is possible to reverse Type II Diabetes by combining 3 principal requirements:
1. Weight loss (if required, which most of time it is)
2. Change of diet – what you eat
3. Regular exercise – This is not just about aiding weight loss but changing how your body operates.

The final and most fundamental thing about this plan was that it is not a short-term plan – this is a permanent change of lifestyle, from now on.

So I started to consider the 3 requirements and the practicalities of how I might be able to integrate this in to a permanent lifestyle change.

Weight loss:
Contrary to popular belief, the book suggests that very fast weight loss is far better and more successful in the long run than a slow steady reduction. I was aiming for a drop of 25kg in 3 months.

Change of diet:
Clearly the obvious one is no sugar, so checking the nutritional information of everything becomes important – and to check for hidden sugar ingredients. The big shock here, for me, was to realise that certain types of carbohydrates (carbs) turn in to glucose very rapidly in the body. Foods that contain these types of carbs are Bread, Pasta, Rice & Potatoes – they had to go 100%.

Exercise:
Really, the goal here was not to be able to run a Marathon, but to make very regular and reasonable movement, for a decent period of time. I have always detested exercise (with a passion) and, in particular, running.

So armed with the above information I went to see the Diabetic specialist on 9th February 2017 and was told that my average blood sugar level for the last 90 days, known as an HbA1c blood test was at 8.5mmol and confirmed that I am a Type II Diabetic. The prescription for the drug Metformin was already being written out when I said that I’d like 90 days to try and reverse this myself and I explained my 3-pronged action plan…

The specialist was not convinced and said that many previous patients had suggested the same but had not been able to maintain sufficient changes. But I persevered – and with the help of my wife, who accompanied me, she explained that her husband can be very stubborn and determined when he wants to and that it may be best to let him try! I left the GP without a prescription, but with an appointment for a further detailed set of blood test results set for 26th April and the follow-up with the specialist on 28th April.

I am delighted to confirm the following results have been achieved:
• HbA1c down to 5.6 – no longer Diabetic
• Weight down from 105kg to 81kg
• Waist down from 39” to 32”
• Blood pressure in normal range
• Cholesterol reduced and well within normal range

No prescription was required and a follow up set of blood tests is planned for six months’ time.

The most important thing now is to go back to the fact that my three key requirements must not change. I still need to lose an extra couple of kilos, but the main criteria will be to maintain my current level of weight. I must continue with my current choice of food and establish an enjoyable, long-term exercise plan that suits me. I enjoyed walking and used to get out for 5-miles on most days, but this does take up some time – and is not always convenient – so I needed to have something else that gives a better workout in a shorter time-frame.

I’d always liked the idea of cycling, but I often found this difficult due to the position (being bent forward compresses my lungs and made it harder to breath fully). I initially replaced the handlebars of my mountain bike with new ones that positioned me in a much more upright riding position, but that had the effect of jarring my spine and pelvis over poor road surfaces and made the bike very light at the front when going uphill.

I spent many hours online trying to find a “comfortable bike” and looked at many weird and wonderful options (including the ones where you ‘sort of’ lie down with your feet out front). That is when I came across the ElliptiGO, early this year, which is a bike without a seat (and where your feet move in an elliptical motion, similar to a cross-trainer in a gym).

The gym is another place I avoid at all costs, mainly due to boredom. I read lots of reviews, watched lots of You Tube videos and finally enquired and booked a test ride on an ElliptiGO (in February, 2017). I subsequently bought the ElliptiGO and used it to complement my daily walks to deliver the exercise that my body needs.

So what’s the benefit to me of an ElliptiGO? Below are the bullet points that stand out for me:
• It enables me to get out in the fresh air – no gym or indoor training activity, which I stop much earlier than I should.
• It is very comfortable. I’m stood upright so I breathe well and my legs are the suspension just like walking or skiing.
• It is harder than cycling so although, personally, I wouldn’t want to go on a cycle touring holiday on it, it does provide a better work out in a much shorter time than a bicycle. Great if you are time-poor.
• It looks unusual, so you do get stopped and asked about it quite often – a good excuse for short rest!
• As your head is much higher up you have great visibility and it works many more of your muscle groups as your core is being worked for balance.

I am enjoying the comfort and the workout of the ElliptiGO – and the fact that I can exercise in a shorter space of time, when needs be. This will form an integral part of my exercise plan going forward. I have since sold my mountain bike (and an un-used road bike that I bought a few years back with all the best intentions – and then it hung up in the garage from the day it arrived).

The other good thing with the ElliptiGO, due to its design, is that you can ride it wearing any sort of clothing. You don’t need any special shoes for the pedals, or padded shorts for an uncomfortable saddle. Trousers don’t get caught in a chain and neither does a longer jacket or coat. I’ve even ridden the ElliptiGO without shoes!

Paul Cooper,
Oxted.

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