A year ago, Mark Gent weighed 37 stone and was diagnosed with diabetes. Since then, he’s lost over half his body weight and is now volunteering with ABL Health as a peer supporter to help others lead a healthier lifestyle.
Here’s Mark’s story:
“I had been overweight all my life and last year found out I’d had diabetes for up to four years and had no idea. I decided not to take insulin but instead to manage the condition with a diet instead. I lost nearly six stone by cutting my sugar intake down to 40 grams a day and was weighing everything before I ate it.
“Then, I joined Your Health Oldham’s Choose to Change scheme. The programme was exactly right. The advice was great – it’s not about dieting, it’s about what you eat. Now, I love raw food and don’t eat anything processed. I think my taste has completely changed. If I eat scampi now, the batter just tastes like slime!
“When I was 13 I was hit by a double decker bus and spent three years in hospital. I injured my whole right leg and lower back in the accident and it is painful for me to walk. Choose to Change taught me that you can do exercise with virtually no mobility, and now I cycle and do weights.
“It was the perfect way for me to go and now I’m 17 stone and at 6ft 2 inches that’s not too bad! Before, I was falling asleep all the time and now it’s like I have woken up. Everything has changed – I feel like a teenager with too much energy – and my blood sugar levels are really healthy as well.
“Some people will use anything as an excuse not to lose weight but the only excuse is yourself. There is no magical cure, you’ve got to listen to the advice even if you only take in part of it. The support I’ve had has been invaluable. I got so much from the course and it’s time to give something back so I’ve become a peer supporter to offer inspiration to others wanting to improve their lives.”