Today (November 14) is World Diabetes Day and John Woodward aged 67 is celebrating after losing 3 stone and reducing his diabetes symptoms after been diagnosed with pre diabetes, meaning he will no longer need his diabetes medication, which was the next step if he didn’t lose weight.
Weight loss consultant Annabelle Stemp said: “John’s inspirational story supports research* revealing that losing weight with Slimming World is successful in supporting patients who have type 2 diabetes to lose weight and manage their glucose control.”
John joined the Lincolnshire Slimming World group in February this year.
He said: “I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes in February 2020, and the doctor told me I would need to take medication to manage it.
“My blood sugar was dangerously high, my weight was seriously impacting my health; I needed to take control of my weight to help manage the condition.
“Being overweight impacted on so many aspects of my life, from struggling to find clothes that I like to fit into, not being able to do simple everyday tasks without feeling tired and out of breath. I always felt like I was lacking energy, I felt like I was on a slippery slope to gaining more and more weight and I didn’t really see a way out.”
After being referred by his GP, John and his wife decided to join their local Slimming World group in Horncastle.
John said: “Walking through those doors was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
“I was embarrassed about my size and scared that I might be the biggest person there.
“I needn’t have worried though, everyone there was so friendly especially my consultant Karen Fereday. The group was so welcoming too.
“Since then, my fellow members have become real friends and I honestly don’t think I could have done it without their support each week. They helped me with recipes and tips and if I was ever struggling they were always there to remind me why I’d wanted to lose weight in the first place and how far I’d come since first stepping through the doors.”
With support from his diabetes care team, John followed the Slimming World’s Food Optimising eating plan and started cooking healthy meals from scratch.
He swapped oils, fats and lards for fry light sprays so he can still enjoy his favourite meals, such as a steak and slimming world chips or a bacon butty.
He said: “People think slimming means going hungry, yet it’s not like that at all with this healthy eating plan.
“I love food and it’s never once felt like I was on ‘a diet’ – in fact, people are always surprised at how much food I have on my plate and can’t believe I’m losing weight eating so much delicious food and without ever feeling hungry.
“I can tailor the plan to fit my dietary needs and I can do this with support from my healthcare professional.
“This means I still enjoy all my favourite meals like burgers and chips and roast dinners- I’ve just learned how to make small changes like eating lots of vegetables, using lean meat or cooking with low calorie spray instead of oil or butter.”
Today, John’s lost a total of 3 stone in 4 months and is also more active,regularly enjoying the gym or walking football.
John added: “Thanks to the changes I’ve made, my health has improved dramatically and I no longer need to take any medication.
“My blood sugar reading is now in the normal range and the doctor says I show no symptoms of type 2 diabetes.
“I’ve got my life back and I couldn’t be happier. The world isn’t shrinking anymore; it’s getting bigger and bigger by the day!”
Karen, who runs the Horncastle and Woodhall Spa Slimming World group, said: “We know the obesity crisis is a ticking timebomb, and type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity too.
“We believe the support you get from being in a warm, empowering group environment is key to helping you eat more healthily and becoming more active too.
“The changes we’ve seen in John are incredible. I hope his success will inspire other people in Lincolnshire who’d like to lose weight and improve their health by forming new lifestyle habits and become happier to take action.”