Hi, in trying to get my mum to do this programme because she is pre diabetic, high cholesterol etc, but she doesn’t want to because she is 9 stone, 5’3 is the correct BMI, (she is Apple shaped so prob has too much visceral fat) and she doesn’t want to loose a lot of weight. Can anyone give me any info or personal experiences about whether it’s possible to do this to beat diabetes at her size without dropping to an unhealthy low weight. She is 72. Thanks in advance
We have not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you are have any health related symptoms or concerns, you should contact your doctor who will be able to give you advice specific to your situation.
Hi Mrssmashly, it is great you are trying to get your mum to better health. Believe me 72 is still young enough for her to have another 15 years life (or more) in her so she needs to keep well. As for her ‘healthy’ weight, it cant be that healthy if she has pre-diabetes and high cholesterol and there are things that she can do. You say she is apple shaped she is carrying all her fat around her stomach and this is a warning sign for diabetes. At 5’3″ she could afford to lose a stone and get down to 8 stone. I suspect she is quite happy how she is and sees you as making a fuss over nothing. Also, a lot depends on her lifestyle, is she living alone, is she cooking for one, does she exercise, does she have a social life, friends around.
So what to do. If you have read the BSD or know about the plan you can encourage her to cut out or seriously down on white carbs (bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, breakfast cereals, sugar) try to eat a lot more over ground veg and not eat any processed foods, i.e. pies, tinned food, ready meals etc. Not to eat any low fat or sugar free meals and to have a good amount of good fats like rapeseed oil for cooking, olive oil for salad dressings, a few nuts every day (a small handful or 5 or 6) real butter and real cheese – maybe that will be music to her ears. To be honest, not much more needs to be done as you are looking at a prevention process (pre-diabetes) and you just want to keep her healthy. The cholesterol should improve with the lack of carbs, lack of processed foods and addition of good fats so minor adjustments can make a difference.
My husband is 74 and is quite trim at 6’1″ weighing around 12 stone and he sticks with my diet but not as strictly as I do and it keeps him in shape and has improved his health. So age is not a barrier to improving your health. Hope that helps.
I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes in 2016 and used BSD + reducing carbs to get my very high blood sugars down – my blood sugars are now in the normal range. Like your Mum, I’m 5’3 and now 9st 2lb so I’ve got some sympathy with your Mum in how she feels about her weight – I’m also within a healthy BMI range (although I’m also apple shape and my waist measurement shows I probably have a bit more visceral fat still to lose too – part of my after Christmas plan!). Unlike your Mum, on diagnosis I was obese and so did need to lose a lot of weight.
But as well as reading and latterly posting on this forum I have also been a regular reader of the diabetes.co.uk forum posts over the last 3 years and I’ve read of lots of people like your Mum with a healthy BMI who have turned round their pre-diabetes or Type II diabetes. As sunshine-girl says it’s really to do with encouraging her to change her diet and reduce the amount of carbohydrates she is eating. What I didn’t know until I was diagnosed Type II is that carbohydrates break down into sugar (glucose) quite quickly in your body so as well as reducing sugars you need to reduce carbs too.
As well as this plan, there is a good website – dietdoctor.com – which has some great visual guides as to what are good carbs for your Mum to eat. Here is the link https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/visual-guides . (The site has lots of good info, videos etc – there is a subscription part of the site but I’ve never bothered with that as there is lots of free info).
What a lot of people do is start with those things they already enjoy eating off the low carb lists and build from there. As sunshine-girl says your Mum may not need to do too much to get those numbers back down and keep them down. It can take time to get used to the changes in her diet but honestly there are so many benefits from this way of eating I really hope she goes for it.
Best wishes and do let us know how you go on.
Edited: I’ve never been on meds but as Michael Mosley says the BSD (and low carb) can also improve blood pressure so if your Mum is on any bp meds as her bp improves she may need to work with her healthcare team to reduce her medication.
Thank you both for your very helpful replies, and for taking the time to write too. My mum is pretty active, eats healthily (and is pretty clued up about nutrition), was put on the NHS diabetic course, and at the end they told her she was doing everything right….Its tricky. She really is quite petite apart from a little spread around the torso….so I understand her concerns, that only eating 800 cals a day would see her lose too much weight…BUT she is pre diabetic….I’ve done the diet myself for a week just to show her its possible, but she still is dragging her heals…If there is anyone else out there who can give me a case study where they started off pre diabetic, with a healthy BMI and what happened to them (and they didn’t disappear 🙂 …I’d be sooo grateful.
I would forget about doing 800 calories and try to stick around 1200. The most important thing is to get rid of the WHITE CARBS. As Jennie10 says, they turn to sugar in the blood stream, they give you a quick spike and then you crash down very quickly leaving you wanting more. Sugar is an obvious food to avoid and you can see it everywhere, not many people know the amount in processed foods like tomato sauce or baked beans and especially breakfast cereals. But then when you know that potatoes, rice, pasta, bread etc are all sugars it can change the way you look at these foods. Just making simple adjustments to your Mums diet will make a big difference without her actually losing much weight.
I am sure there must be someone on this site who started out at normal weight but I think they get the problem (diabetes, BP) under control quite quickly and dont hang around. That is why I say forget about 800 calories. Maybe your Mum could try 5:2 where she eats a low carb healthy Med diet for 5 days and goes on the 800 calorie fast for 2 days. She sounds sensible so I am sure she will reach a compromise which will suit her.
Hi Mrs M,
I hope there is someone around on here who has a healthy BMI, is (or was) pre-diabetic, who can give you info on how it worked for them.
If not, it might be worth you having a look on the diabetes.co.uk website (no need to register) and reading through some of the recent posts on their Forum, or searching the posts on their Forum for case studies. (If you do give it a try, you need to use the search on the Forum rather than the main site search box – the forum is for community members using the site including lots of people with prediabetes).
At the moment, it is tricky with the NHS as generally its nutrition advice linked to prediabetes and Type II diabetes hasn’t caught up with the research. So, often the advice given to people like your Mum and me is just not right – it’s often a topic of conversation on here.
One GP who is worth looking up is Dr David Unwin. He’s a Southport-based GP who treats his patients (with Type II, prediabetes etc) with a low carb diet (or way of eating) to great success. It might be worth looking him up on you tube, etc and showing your Mum some of his stuff. He won an NHS Innovation Award a few years ago for his work.
Like sunshine-girl, my best advice to your Mum if she doesn’t want to lose weight is to keep her calories up but reduce the carbs – in fact if she does this and reduces her carbs low enough she is likely to lose a bit of weight anyway.
Thanks again for your help… I’ll have a chat with mum, and have a look at Dr Unwins work..
I was diagnosed with a fatty liver and told to do the BSD diet. I also have high cholesterol. I was quite upset as I was slim and within the BMI guidelines for my height and weight at 23.5 but did have a fat tummy. I started the diet in June and cut my carbs to around 60g per day and 1100 calories (more at the weekends). I lost around 1- 2 lbs a week and have now stabilised with a BMI of 20.3. Sadly I have lost weight on my face which makes me look quite drawn and also on my bottom which is very flat and shapeless. My tummy is still quite round but better than it was.
Tell your mother to give it a go for a few weeks. The hardest part for me was eating full fat as everything I used to eat was low fat and also eating red meat for protein and to fill me up.
Hi Mor, Thanks for sending this. Well done on your success, but I’m sorry you’ve lost weight in areas you didn’t want to……if she’s honest, I’m sure thats exactly what my mum is worried about. You just can’t win some times…no matter what you do. But I hope you feel better from the changes that you’ve made. It’s crazy that you can help treat a fatty liver by cutting carbs and eating full fat….which would have gone completely against government guidelines over the last 30 years…I hope everything continues to go well for you, and again, thanks for sharing this with me. I’ll let my mum know.