Ilkeston man went from fat to fit to fight diabetes

Gary Atkin took control of his diabetes by watching what he ate and has lost four stone and gone on to become a model
Gary Atkin took control of his diabetes by watching what he ate and has lost four stone and gone on to become a model

When one man found out he had diabetes he chose to take control of his eating habits he has gone on to lose four stone and has done modelling work.

Gary Atkin, 50, from Ilkeston put off going to the doctor for four years even though he was losing weight quickly, craving sugar and sugary drinks and going to the toilet a lot during the night and was diagnosed as diabetic.

“Losing the weight and getting fit has enabled me to pursue a lifelong dream of modelling. I’ve only recently started but with a couple of jobs under my belt it’s not really picking up.

“Compared with how I was, I now exercise every day, watch what I eat, avoid processed food and cook most meals from fresh.”

The NHS has just announced that patients at high risk of Type 2 diabetes in Derbyshire are set to benefit from a new programme to help them avoid developing the condition.

The new scheme is one of 27 to launch across the country as part of the national Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme to help patients change their lifestyles.

Gary said: “I looked at what I was fuelling my body with, in other words what food I was eating. A clean eating programme worked for me. Its principle is to cut out processed food. It’s as simple as that. When you actually look at what is in some foods we see on the shelves a lot of it contains hidden additives and sugar.”

As a result, Gary put himself through a year of exercise and eating better, teaching himself which foods to avoid and those which produced good results. For him, that meant cutting out pasta, potatoes, bread, cereals and rice.

Derbyshire County Council cabinet member for health and communities, Councillor Dave Allen, said: “Diabetes can cause serious long-term health problems such as cardiovascular disease, vision loss, kidney failure and lower limb amputation. That’s why it’s so important to help people stop the condition from developing.

“We’ll be working with GPs to identify people at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes earlier and provide support to help them to live healthier lifestyles.”

Ken Deacon, Medical Director at NHS England (North Midlands), said: “Obesity and lifestyle- related issues have taken their toll on people’s health. Also, the complications of diabetes cost society and the NHS £10bn a year. This programme will get advice and practical help to a group of people who can drastically reduce their risk of developing the condition and associated complications, including amputation and blindness.”

Gary’s advice to anyone who’s unhappy with the way they look and feel is to learn and understand what they are putting in their bodies.

“The one biggest change we can make, before it’s too late, is to watch what we eat,” he added.