Alison lost 28kg and reversed her diabetic macular oedema

Through adopting a low carb lifestyle, Alison Morgan was able to lose a quarter of her body weight and reverse her ‘irreversible’ eye damage. We sat down with Alison to learn about her journey.

What advice had you been given previously?

I was told to lose weight, no real advice other than what I found on the Diabetes.co.uk website. I was told by my consultant that no one was forcing food into my mouth, so it was down to me.  I asked about the Newcastle diet but told it was too extreme and no information about it forthcoming from health professionals.

The doctor told me to eat a healthy, balanced diet and I was given the EatWell plate. I took the advice but just got fatter and fatter and more and more ill. I spoke to my GP about the Low Carb Program and she kept directing me back to the plate, her reaction wasn’t very supportive. She was concerned about the high fat as I’d previously had gall stones.

What results have you seen from going low carb?

I started at 122kg (19st 3 lbs) and have gone down to 94kg (14st 12 lbs) so have lost 28kg (4st 5 lbs). I’ve been really rigid with low carb, eating less than 30g of carbs a day and I control my calorie intake. I also realised I was going blind in my right eye, I was told it was irreversible and I’d need monthly injections. I started the diet and by the time I went in for the first injection I could see better. We rearranged the appointment, but my eyesight had improved even more the next time. It’s a huge motivation to stay rigid. People with diabetic macular oedema should be told they can reverse it. If it’s a choice between being able to see or not, people would do the Low Carb Program. I also no longer need to take insulin and my fluid retention has disappeared.

Did you find it difficult to make the changes or experience any negative side effects?

I’ve found the low carb, high fat diet quite easy to do. I only experience the occasional cravings for bread or chips, but my taste has changed now so I don’t actually crave carbs as much. I started this diet before I found the Low Carb Program on Diabetes.co.uk and I blended it with information I’d found on the internet about the Newcastle diet and the Blood Sugar diet. So overall, this program backed up what I’d already just discovered by searching on the internet.

When I do eat carbs now I feel like curling up and going to sleep again and have to be on the ball with taking insulin because it affects my eyesight so quickly, it’s just not worth it.

How do you stay motivated?

Three things kept me motivated. The first is risking losing my eyesight, the second seeing how my fluid retention disappeared so quickly after starting the diet and lastly, my energy levels increasing. It’s been unlike anything I’ve ever tried before.

Did you make any lifestyle changes alongside the diet?

I started gardening as a way of keeping out of the house, particularly out of the kitchen and keep myself moving. My garden has never looked so good. I have never liked exercise. I detest getting hot and sweaty and have never ever felt better after exercise, so I’ve been realistic about what I’ll stick at.  Only now, having lost over 23kg (50 lbs) do I feel inclined to do anything and the thing I’ve chosen is Pilates as you don’t have to get hot and sweaty to do that. I will keep doing gardening and try to start walking more, although arthritis in my foot, knees and spine do limit that currently.  Interesting to note that my weight loss was achieved through the low carb, high fat diet and without any exercise at all (not that I’m advocating no exercise – just that it is not essential to losing weight).

Have any family members or partners joined you in reducing their carbs?

I followed the program on my own. Lots of people were very quick to offer words of caution about the diet but no one had experienced what I’d been through, feeling awful and wondering why being a ‘good’ diabetic on insulin you still get such poor blood sugar results. It was time to take responsibility for myself and learn more about my body what was going so badly wrong.

Strangely, doing it all on my own has been very empowering. I feel completely in charge of my own life and health now and am more able to stand up for what I believe when discussing with health professionals.

What advice would you give to someone just starting the Low Carb Program?

Just do it. Don’t ask anyone else, save your own life. You matter more to yourself than you do to anyone else so do it for you. Use an app to monitor your food intake and see how many carbs, protein and fat you’re eating, I also use a Fitbit to monitor my activity levels. I found that gave me loads of motivation to keep going. I’ve also learned a huge amount about nutrition and the effects of certain foods on my body and blood sugars. Do keep doing the course lessons, even if its not new to you. I found the activity of listening to Louise was good for keeping my motivation up and keeping it top of my mind. I cook everything from scratch and never went out to eat, if I went to BBQs during the summer I would just eat the meat and would have no sauce, just salad.

Are you inspired by Alison’s story? Put yourself first – click here to sign up and join the Low Carb Program.