Jane has lost and gained weight several times over the years, but found that since having her child, losing weight was more difficult. However, Jane was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, which motivated her to lose weight in order to manage her conditions. Although her busy lifestyle makes this difficult, Jane has started to do this through making small changes to her diet and being more active. So far, she has lost one stone.
Jane is 42 and lives with her partner and child. She is a support worker, and is Mauritian.
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Jane has suffered with weight problems since she was a teenager, and there have been times in the past where she has both lost and gained weight through different diets and weight management programs. However, since having her child, Jane has found it harder to lose weight, especially after moving to a more sedentary job, where she does not do much physical activity. When she reached 40, Jane went to her doctor for a blood test, as she wasn’t feeling well. She was told she had high blood pressure and cholesterol, and later found out she also has type 2 diabetes, which runs in her family. Jane’s GP suggested that losing weight could help manage her diabetes. Motivated by her health, Jane has started to make long term changes to her diet.
After diagnosis, Jane was referred to a one-day education program around diabetes management through her GP, where she was taught about the complications that can result from diabetes, and how it is affected by diet and exercise. Through this, Jane became more aware of the nutritional value of foods, and how she could manage her diabetes through diet, such as switching certain carbohydrates, and limiting her sugars. Although the course was “an eye opener” for Jane, she suggests that a longer course might be useful, incorporating practical sessions where participants can learn to cook balanced meals. She feels education around diabetes should start in schools, which could help prevent diabetes in the long term.
Through making changes to her diet, and taking up walking every evening, Jane has lost a stone in around 6 months. She has focused on reducing her sugar intake. She now avoids foods like cake, take away meals, and fruit juice, and has reduced her portion sizes. Jane has also started to bring a packed lunch to work, opting for salad which has helped her cut down on bread. Jane has switched to wholemeal alternatives when having foods like pasta and rice, and has started drinking semi-skimmed milk instead of full-fat. When she fancies something sweet in the evenings, Jane has a piece of fruit or sugar free chocolate. Jane finds the main challenge in maintaining her diet is fitting it around her daily life; when she is busy it is harder to prepare healthy food, “I think the difficulty is probably being organized… I had a hectic week last week and then I was saying, ‘Oh my God, what am I going to eat?’”. Similarly, she has found it hard to encourage her partner, who often cooks for her, to prepare meals that comply with her diet. She also finds that when she is stressed, “you tend to want to eat more”.
Although Jane’s GP encouraged her to do more exercise after her diabetes diagnosis, Jane would have liked clearer advice on diet and weight loss. She suggests doctors should give patients a target to aim for, “she could have said, ‘okay maybe in the next six months I would expect you to lose that much’ and maybe look into the result or do another blood test, something like that”. Since Jane only sees her doctor annually about her diabetes, she feels patients should also have the option of meeting a dietician or diabetic nurse; she would like to be able to discuss issues around her diabetes with a healthcare professional.
Where before she felt “frustrated and heavy”, since losing weight, Jane has felt more energized and finds daily activities easier. Jane hopes to lose around 3 stone in the future, in order to improve her health and manage her diabetes. Jane encourages others hoping to lose weight to set realistic goals, and persevere with making small changes to their lives.
Six months in to her weight loss Jane is already feeling the benefits with improved energy levels and easier movements. She is proud of herself.
Less tired. Yeah, I don’t, I have more energy, you know what I mean, and losing the weight I can actually, you know sit down, like I can do my laces and I feel like I can run to get the train, you know, I feel, you know, much more energetic, you know, like that.
And this has been just within the last six months?
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
How were you feeling before?
Yes, yes definitely. I mean, you know, when you’re climbing the stairs, you know, I feel, ‘Oh I’m tired and, you know, my belly is all up here.’ You know I do have a belly here, the baby weight and I don’t know how I’m going to go back. Yeah I feel frustrated and, and heavy, [sighs] you know, like slow not able to walk, you know, fast. Maybe not being able to get my train on time, you know what I mean, I used to run and say, “Oh no.” But now I can probably leave my daughter and then maybe run, you know, probably not all the way to the train but I can run fast and manage to get my train.
So how do you feel again emotionally to, to have been able to achieve this?
Yeah, I mean yeah, I mean I feel very proud and, and, and happy. You know, I was like, ‘Okay, I’m on the right track, you know what I mean. I can, I can do more, and it will be great for me, you know, if I would be able to run faster having the, you know, the strength to do more things. I think like great about it.
Sometimes Jane gets angry with her partner for not supporting her efforts to eat healthy food.
Now I’ve finished work a bit late and it’s my partner who is actually cooking because he gets in before me, so I always tell him, you know, “Just be careful what you put in the food,” things like that and I say, sometimes I get like angry because I said, “You know I can’t eat that, why did you cook it?” you know what I mean…
….but that’s a bit selfish, yeah.
Okay, okay so you have to tell him?
Yeah what I need to eat and if he says, sometimes he choose like, okay, “Yeah I’ll prepare something else for, for you,” or like, I would say, “the pasta,” then I would say, you know, “just cook the brown pasta.” “Oh, I’ve cooked it.” “Well then maybe freeze it and then next time I can have it or something like that.”
But he will cook for you, the brown one?
Yeah, yes, I will say to him, you know, “Could you please just cook that for me,”
To make, yeah, to make changes or….
Hm-mm and so in which other ways he support you? I mean with your, because he knows that you want to eat differently to look after your health.
Yeah, I don’t, I don’t know, I’m the one who buy the food each week [laughs].
And I probably will have, like, say, for example, today I said to him, I always tell him what to, what to cook, like some, yeah, he might choose unhealthy stuff. Yeah and I will say, “Okay that’s fine, you know, if you want.” Like, for example, yesterday he asked me to buy a baguette, but I know he wouldn’t even have a multigrain baguette and he would like white baguette, so I just got him that and I will eat mine. But yeah, I don’t know, I mean I’m not sure if he, I have to remind him all the time like, you know, “Don’t put too much oil,” and things like that. I think I have to tell him otherwise I don’t think he will just bothered or to know what I’m eating or not, yeah.
So, you have to kind of educate him?
Yeah, I educate him and say, “Look, I can’t have that, then, you know, don’t, don’t do it.” Or sometimes I just say, “You know what, just eat it yourself,” because I feel angry, you know what I mean. I feel like, ‘Okay, you know I can’t eat it then, then just leave it. I’ll eat something else.
Like, today I said to him I put some salmon into the, to defrost. So I said to him, “If you don’t mind cook some new potatoes and there’s broccoli,” and then I say, “whatever,” because I know whatever he wants to be cooking I can go home and make a bit of vegetable on my side because he probably, I don’t know, he loves potato but he probably wouldn’t even have the salmon or I don’t know what he wants to cook with it, yeah.
Okay so that’s the thing. I suppose a little bit more help would be useful?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I think from him if he’s, if he’s cooking and saying, “Okay you know what I can have, what can I have?” Or any simple dinner. I said to him, “It’s important for us to eat healthier.” I keep reminding him that as well because I said to him, you know, “You eat butter, you would drink coke and things like that which is not good.”
Once a week, before going to work, Jane listens to a radio health programme from Mauritius. In the UK her main source of information is Diabetes UK magazine.
I think Diabetes UK because I have a newsletter and I kind of, like, sometime read, or I would probably read online. But I haven’t found nothing else.
Something else I do is like because in [country] like, on like, every like, every Wednesday they have half an hour.
So, I’m just like on a Wednesday they have the on the radio in Mauritius, every Wednesday they have half an hour. So that’s what I mean before going to work then I make sure I listen to this and they talk about diabetes and, you know, what, what, you know, what exercise maybe you should be doing and what is important to eat. Like talking about psychological side of it, how you have to be healthy, your well-being, so like today they talking about psychological and last week they talk about I mean the heart. You know, so, I have been listening to this one I would say on the radio.