A woman with diabetes for more than 20 years put her type 2 diabetes into remission in less than four months – after reducing her calorie intake and changing her eating habits. Mum Lindsey Hilsum was ‘in disbelief’ when doctors told her the life-changing news, and the 65-year-old lost nearly five stone, leaving her more confident and happy than ever after being overweight for the majority of her. life.
The retired Bank of England worker, from Kent, followed a meal replacement and ‘very low calorie diet’ (VLCD) plan – which medical research and trials have shown can put people with type 2 diabetes in remission. Lindsey went from 14 stone in October 2020 to 9th 4 pounds in July 2021, consuming 700-800 calories a day, in the form of three exante nutritionally complete shakes and a serving of vegetables each evening. A few weeks into her weight loss journey, she introduced exante soups into her diet.
The mum-of-two, who was followed by a diabetes specialist at Darent Valley Hospital throughout her health journey during which she lost 4th 10lbs, said: ‘It took me about nine months to lose weight, but a few weeks after I started the plan, my doctor told me to stop taking insulin because my blood sugar was so low. Three and a half months later, in February last year, I had lost two and a half stones and he confirmed that I no longer had type 2 diabetes.
I couldn’t believe it, I was warned that remission does not happen for everyone and the chances are higher if you have been diabetic for six years or less. It was a complete miracle for me because I had taken a high dose of insulin every day of my life for 15 years and had been diabetic for 20 years.”
Type 2 diabetes is a common condition that causes blood sugar (glucose) levels to get too high. It is often linked to being overweight or inactive, or to a family history of the disease. Type 2 diabetics use insulin to control their blood sugar.
June 13 marks the start of Diabetes Week, led by leading charity Diabetes UK. After losing two and a half stones, Lindsey went from 700 to 800 calories a day and followed the exante 800 VLCD packageintroducing other products exante into its diet.
In July, she weighed 9lbs and 4lbs and “felt her best since she was a teenager” in a size 10 dress at a wedding in August. Lindsey was the heaviest in her thirties, at 18 stone, after the birth of her two sons. She had gestational diabetes during her pregnancies and was warned it could recur when she was older, before she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2001.
She’s tried everything to lose weight over the years – from injections and weight loss pills to hypnotherapy and other diets. When the pandemic hit, Lindsey was spurred into action after hearing on the news that her health would be at serious risk if she, as an overweight diabetic, caught Covid.
She added: “I tried slimming injections in the 70s when they first came to the country. I went to a clinic on Harley Street in London. They worked, the weight came off so fast, but it was very dangerous. I started fainting.
“I’ve always had a tendency to get fat, people joked that I got fat just by looking at food. If I ever lost weight, it just came back. In October 2020, I felt very uncomfortable, my knees were in pain and I felt invisible, I had no confidence. The health warning gave me the determination to do something about it.
Lindsey was taking 80 units of insulin a day when she saw her consultant, Dr. Arthur Okungo, at Darent Valley Hospital, and while the two were discussing how she could potentially reverse her condition with food, the doctor recommended by Professor Roy Taylor book – life without diabetes.
As an expert on the link between diet and type 2 diabetes, Professor Taylor recommends replacing meals with nutritionally complete shakes containing up to 600 combined calories, and eating a serving of non-starchy vegetables equivalent to 100 calories, per day, up to 2.5. in weight is lost.
This is what can trigger the rapid fat loss a body needs to put type 2 diabetes into remission. Then people learn how to reintroduce foods into their diets one meal at a time and maintain their weight over the long term, keeping type 2 diabetes at bay.
Lindsey added: “The book and Dr Ogunko have changed my life. Professor Taylor talks about exante meal replacements in his book and the products were actually used in his trials. I had to reduce my insulin from 80 units a day to eight to start the diet, which is why I was monitored, before stopping it completely two weeks later.
“Before my weight loss journey started with exante, I lost a stone cutting carbs, eating healthy, and walking a lot, but it didn’t make much of a difference. I didn’t have any takeout or something like that.
“Now I’m off diabetes medication and never intend to go back. I can’t stop smiling, my confidence is back, and I’m doing things I wouldn’t have done even in my 40s. I have pink hair and I wear Dr Martens. I love that I can go to any store and try on clothes and feel happy.
“It’s not a quick fix, I followed the plan and didn’t cheat from start to finish. I will have to work on maintaining my weight for the rest of my life and I am doing this with exante products. I use them alongside healthy meal prep.
The exante 800 plan is an 800 calorie diet designed for effective weight loss. The VLCD involves combining three meal replacements, which contain 27 vitamins and minerals, with an additional 200 calories of protein-rich foods. This plan was featured in the two-part ITV2 documentary, Fast Fix. The study followed volunteers as they followed the plan and put their conditions into remission.
Lujain Alhassan, nutritionist at exante, says it’s best to follow a nutritionally complete meal replacement plan during a VLCD. She added: “Following a very low-calorie diet with food can be difficult and does not guarantee that you will consume the recommended daily amount of nutrients. This can increase your risk of developing nutrient deficiencies, health complications, and can even make losing weight more difficult.
“A proven meal replacement program like exante takes the hassle out of calorie counting and meal planning. Our shakes, for example, are low in calories but nutritionally complete, so it’s a safe and effective way to adopt such a diet.
Diabetes is estimated to cost the NHS £10 billion a year, with treatment accounting for one in 20 prescriptions written by GPs. Earlier this year, the NHS announced that its soups and shakes diet program has helped thousands of people lose weight, helping more than 2,000 people with type 2 diabetes to improve their health and lose weight on average 13 kg (more than two stones) in three months.
Although only being rolled out at select NHS sites across the country, the move shows the growing confidence in liquid meal replacement diets to help people with type 2 diabetes live healthier lives. Diabetes UK says evidence suggests the key to remission is weight loss, and remission occurs when blood sugar levels are below the diabetes range without the need for medication.