REAL LIFE: I lost almost 9st and beat Type 2 diabetes

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Kidney failure, blindness, difficulty walking and even stroke.

That’s the future Chantelle Cowdrey was facing.

Having at one point reached almost 22st, the mum-of-one from Waterlooville was on the brink of major health problems having been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

She felt enormous guilt at not being able to play outside with her son Rhys, take him swimming or run around after him – all because she was so overweight.

The diabetes diagnosis followed tests which revealed her blood sugar level was almost double the healthy maximum that it should have been.

It was this, and failing eyesight, that spurred Chantelle, a full-time mum, into action.

And she has been so successful, having followed a Slimming World diet, that she has lost almost nine stone, no longer has diabetes and does not need to wear glasses.

Chantelle, now 31, explains: ‘The simple fact is, I have always loved food.

‘At my heaviest I was almost 22st. I’ve always been overweight and never liked exercise. I put it down to my family genes – my dad’s family are big built.

‘I never really worried about it when I was younger.

‘But, looking back, I always saw food in terms of comfort food. If I felt down I’d reach for the chocolate. In the evenings I’d just eat, and eat, and eat. Now I’ve got no choice but to stop.’

Chantelle found herself disgusted by her reflection in the mirror.

She says: ‘I felt so frumpy. I absolutely hated going shopping. I had to search for size 22/24 clothes.

‘One of my lowest points was trying on my Christmas present – a size 24 coat from Evans ( pictured on the front page). That was when I knew I had to lose weight.’

By March 2016, Chantelle’s health was suffering. She was bogged down by coughs, colds, chest infections and was constantly breaking out into sweats.

‘The strange thing was’, says Chantelle, ‘the sweats were very sweet-smelling. That’s when my GP diagnosed diabetes. Ironically, I got the call from my doctor to confirm it when I was in McDonald’s. I thought to myself “this could very well be my last burger”.’

It was then an agonising wait to see which type of diabetes Chantelle had. She was terrified it could be Type 1, which sufferers must have insulin injections to control.

There was relief when it turned out to be Type 2 – which is also dangerous but does not always need insulin – because she knew she could control it.

‘At that point I knew I could be facing a future which meant loss of limbs, eyesight and foot damage. I was in shock.’

Chantelle was prescribed tablets and a Slimming World membership.

‘I was determined to reverse my diagnosis,’ she says.

‘I didn’t want to be fat, I didn’t want to look like that in front of Rhys. I’d taken him swimming once, when he was a baby, and I hadn’t been able to face it again afterwards.

‘My weight stopped me being active, playing football with him.

‘That’s what motivated me to stick to the diet. I wanted to see my son grow up.

‘It was the first time in my life that I was really determined to do something.’

In the two years since joining Slimming World at Waterlooville Community Centre, Chantelle has only missed two sessions. Over that time it hasn’t been easy, and she admits that she has ‘up and down days’.

But completing food diaries every day has really helped.

And, since 2015, she has lost a total of nine stone and is a trim size 12/14.

‘I feel more confident, energetic happier and I still love food,’ she says.

‘My family can’t believe how much I eat, but now I just control my portion sizes. And it’s good food.

‘I’ve gone from not being able to walk a few steps without having to take pit stops because I’m out of breath, to walking for miles without stopping. And I really enjoy it.’

In December 2017 Chantelle’s blood sugar was tested again and it was well within the healthy zone meaning she no longer has diabetes. And an eye test revealed she has perfect vision again.

Rhys, six, has been his mum’s rock throughout the journey, joining her at Slimming World each week.

‘He was jumping around with happiness when I was crowned the Greatest Loser. Rhys has been a major support and would clap every time I got a certificate. It was a fantastic moment when he said: “Mummy, you look beautiful today”.’

For the first time since she split from Rhys’s dad, Chantelle feels confident enough with her body to start dating again. She says: ‘Losing weight has been life-changing. But it’s not just about my body. I’m in control of my life.’

n To see a video of Chantelle, visit portsmouth.co.uk

‘I WAS GIVEN A SLIMMING WORLD PRESCRIPTION’

When Chantelle Cowdrey was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, she was given a prescription for the drug Metformin – and a Slimming World membership. Slimming World on Referral gives GPs, nurses and other health professionals the opportunity to offer free membership of a local Slimming World group to patients they feel would benefit.

Referred patients attend at no cost to themselves for an initial agreed period (in multiples of 12-week blocks); the cost to the commissioner is subsidised by Slimming World, where all weight loss resources are provided.

The standard Slimming World on Referral package consists of weekly group weight management sessions plus additional support (telephone, buddy system and free online support) in between group meetings as required by individuals.

Chantelle’s consultant, Erin Green, said ‘Chantelle is a true inspiration.

‘She’s absolutely changed her life for the better and that of her son’s. He now has a fitter, healthier, happier mum. The whole group is very proud of Chantelle.’

To join Erin’s Thursday morning group, call 07531 368133.

Or find your nearest group at slimmingworld.co.uk

That’s the future Chantelle Cowdrey was facing.

Chantelle Cowdrey with son Rhys, holding up the size 24 coat she once had to wear - before her 9st weight-loss  'Picture by:  Malcolm Wells (180411-0805)

Chantelle Cowdrey with son Rhys, holding up the size 24 coat she once had to wear - before her 9st weight-loss 'Picture by: Malcolm Wells (180411-0805)

Having at one point reached almost 22st, the mum-of-one from Waterlooville was on the brink of major health problems having been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

She felt enormous guilt at not being able to play outside with her son Rhys, take him swimming or run around after him – all because she was so overweight.

The diabetes diagnosis followed tests which revealed her blood sugar level was almost double the healthy maximum that it should have been.

It was this, and failing eyesight, that spurred Chantelle, a full-time mum, into action.

It was a fantastic moment when he said, “mummy, you look beautiful today”

And she has been so successful, having followed a Slimming World diet, that she has lost almost nine stone, no longer has diabetes and does not need to wear glasses.

Chantelle, now 31, explains: ‘The simple fact is, I have always loved food.

‘At my heaviest I was almost 22st. I’ve always been overweight and never liked exercise. I put it down to my family genes – my dad’s family are big built.

‘I never really worried about it when I was younger.

Chantelle Cowdrey before she joined Slimming World

Chantelle Cowdrey before she joined Slimming World

‘But, looking back, I always saw food in terms of comfort food. If I felt down I’d reach for the chocolate. In the evenings I’d just eat, and eat, and eat. Now I’ve got no choice but to stop.’

Chantelle found herself disgusted by her reflection in the mirror.

She says: ‘I felt so frumpy. I absolutely hated going shopping. I had to search for size 22/24 clothes.

‘One of my lowest points was trying on my Christmas present – a size 24 coat from Evans ( pictured on the front page). That was when I knew I had to lose weight.’

By March 2016, Chantelle’s health was suffering. She was bogged down by coughs, colds, chest infections and was constantly breaking out into sweats.

‘The strange thing was’, says Chantelle, ‘the sweats were very sweet-smelling. That’s when my GP diagnosed diabetes. Ironically, I got the call from my doctor to confirm it when I was in McDonald’s. I thought to myself “this could very well be my last burger”.’

It was then an agonising wait to see which type of diabetes Chantelle had. She was terrified it could be Type 1, which sufferers must have insulin injections to control.

There was relief when it turned out to be Type 2 – which is also dangerous but does not always need insulin – because she knew she could control it.

‘At that point I knew I could be facing a future which meant loss of limbs, eyesight and foot damage. I was in shock.’

Chantelle was prescribed tablets and a Slimming World membership.

‘I was determined to reverse my diagnosis,’ she says.

‘I didn’t want to be fat, I didn’t want to look like that in front of Rhys. I’d taken him swimming once, when he was a baby, and I hadn’t been able to face it again afterwards.

‘My weight stopped me being active, playing football with him.

‘That’s what motivated me to stick to the diet. I wanted to see my son grow up.

‘It was the first time in my life that I was really determined to do something.’

In the two years since joining Slimming World at Waterlooville Community Centre, Chantelle has only missed two sessions. Over that time it hasn’t been easy, and she admits that she has ‘up and down days’.

But completing food diaries every day has really helped.

And, since 2015, she has lost a total of nine stone and is a trim size 12/14.

‘I feel more confident, energetic happier and I still love food,’ she says.

‘My family can’t believe how much I eat, but now I just control my portion sizes. And it’s good food.

‘I’ve gone from not being able to walk a few steps without having to take pit stops because I’m out of breath, to walking for miles without stopping. And I really enjoy it.’

In December 2017 Chantelle’s blood sugar was tested again and it was well within the healthy zone meaning she no longer has diabetes. And an eye test revealed she has perfect vision again.

Rhys, six, has been his mum’s rock throughout the journey, joining her at Slimming World each week.

‘He was jumping around with happiness when I was crowned the Greatest Loser. Rhys has been a major support and would clap every time I got a certificate. It was a fantastic moment when he said: “Mummy, you look beautiful today”.’

For the first time since she split from Rhys’s dad, Chantelle feels confident enough with her body to start dating again. She says: ‘Losing weight has been life-changing. But it’s not just about my body. I’m in control of my life.’

n To see a video of Chantelle, visit portsmouth.co.uk