A 72-year-old “chocoholic” who “crawled cakes” in local cafes and mocked a packet of cookies with his wife before going to bed reversed his diabetes in just 35 days after starting a weight loss plan.
Carer Bruce Elliott, who weighed 16 stones, was able to break down the insulin he had used to control the high blood sugar caused by type 2 diabetes for 23 years at the start of a weight loss trip in which he shed three times – halfway through Stone in four months.
And his 17-stone wife, Renee McBride, 64, a clinical hypnotherapist and birth doula, lost the same amount after suggesting to lose weight together after being inspired by a weight loss trainer who also revised diabetes by revising his diet had made.
Bruce from Broxburn, West Lothian, who volunteers for two charities, said his real wake-up call came when his buddy Joe died of leukemia a few years ago, and added, “Joe got very sick. His blood sugar level was also out of control and there was nothing they could do for him. His cancer took him very quickly and that left a big hole for me. It took six weeks from diagnosis to his death.
“It was a total shock and wake-up call when we went to cafes on the main street together and had a cake in everyone.”
He continued: “I thought if I got sick I wouldn’t survive an operation. I didn’t want to die of anything, and I knew I had to do something about it. On my biggest one I was wearing a 5XL, now I’m an M to L. I’ve lost 10 inches from my waist. “
Bruce, who has two adult children and six grandchildren, had a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 29.6 – compared to the range of 18.5 to 24.9 recommended by the NHS – which made him overweight. In the meantime, Renee – a yo-yo dietician – had a BMI of 36 at 5 feet 8 inches, which made her obese according to the NHS.
But all of that changed after she met Mark Hannigan, an advisor The 1: 1 diet from Cambridge Weight Plan at a business conference where he told her how he had lost seven stones and reversed his diabetes.
Renee said: “We talked about the relationship between cancer and blood sugar levels and the increased risk for diabetics. This man had a mission to reduce his own diabetes and had been on a 1: 1 diet for six months. “
She added, “At that point Bruce’s blood sugar level was out of control. Our goal was to make his body less toxic and to lower his blood sugar level.
“He was given two doses of insulin a day (70 units) and 2,000 mg of metformin to lower blood sugar. We consulted his doctor who thought it would be a great idea to take Bruce off and reduce his insulin addiction. We have been married for three years and I thought if we could do that we could be together for many more years. “
Since Renee knew that if she lost weight, she would be much healthier too, so she decided that she should join the program as a team.
She said, “We had some bad habits. We often had french fries for breakfast and went to bed with a pack of digestive biscuits that we shared.
“Bruce was very diabetic. The nerve endings in his fingers had died of diabetic neuropathy, which is not reversible. He has the same problem in his feet, but blood circulation has started to improve, which we did not expect. “
Bruce was heavy during his school days and weighed 17 stone when he left and was more than 20 stone in his 20s.
He said: “I am an alcoholic and have worked in an office for years and did not think of eating a whole packet of mince pies on the way to work. I could eat anything. Half the problem is the mindset. My best friend and I went to cafes and ate a cake in one and a scone in another. “
Bruce said, “I am not the type of man who feels comfortable when he loses weight, so I never managed to lose weight.”
In November 2019, they joined the Cambridge Weight Plan 1: 1 diet after consulting doctors at Bruce’s diabetic clinic.
Renee said, “We had meal replacements three times a day and a healthy meal like game, salmon, chicken, or turkey with vegetables.”
She added: “The weight started to drop and Bruce had lost almost two stones in the first month. It took him 23 days to stop taking insulin that he had used for 23 years. We burst into tears when we found out.
“Then it took him another 12 days to stop taking metformin, a drug that lowers your blood sugar by improving your body’s use of insulin.”
Worried that a Christmas holiday in Tenerife would throw them off the rails, the couple even managed to lose weight during the holidays by sticking to healthier options at the hotel buffet and stocking up snacks on the Cambridge Weight Plan.
Renee said: “We came home on Christmas Day and I had lost two pounds. It was the best Christmas present because Bruce briefly got off the metformin. Within 35 days, he had reversed type 2 diabetes, which he had lived with for 23 years. “
She added: “It was wonderful. We couldn’t understand how this message didn’t get out there. If someone had said to us, “Don’t eat refined carbohydrates or certain fruits.” Eat vegetables and protein, then we could have seen results years ago. “
Renee was also excited about her own transformation.
She said: “I switched from a size 24 to a size 16 and I’m pretty happy to be average woman. I’m asthmatic and going up would make me breathless, but it really improved everything.”
“Before the lockdown, I had a personal trainer in the gym when I hadn’t done any exercises for years before losing weight,” she added.
“My shoe size has also changed. It’s nice not to look bumpy and to be able to wear clothes without underwear. I feel much freer. I feel like I have more space in my body. But the most important thing for me is to reverse the insulin for Bruce. “
Renee said: “Bruce has pushed the envelope and we hope that in the future he will be able to take part in, or help with, a low-carb, low-calorie meal replacement program. Continuous support can reduce insulin needs in type 2 diabetics. “
Both Bruce, who weighs 12st 5lb, and Renee, who now weighs 13st 2lb, have lost 3st 6lb and want to share their knowledge and help other diabetics who have become consultants with the Cambridge Weight Plan 1: 1 diet.
Renee said, “When diabetes reaches an advanced stage, there is an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, thrombosis, and amputation, usually on the feet.”
She added, “There were two promising medical studies that showed that those who controlled their diet and lost weight could reverse type 2 diabetes and were still in remission two years later.
“I think there are sections of the population with type 2 diabetes that could go into remission with a calorie controlled diet.”
Bruce, who stressed the importance of consulting a doctor before starting a weight loss plan, is now hoping for a long and happy life.
He added: “It was a wake-up call. If I do that, I could live longer enough to annoy Renee for the rest of her life! I have grandchildren that I would like to grow up and graduate from.
“I have a new life and have never felt so healthy. I had three hip replacements, one at the age of 46, and had problems with my knees, but that relieved that. I never felt fitter.”
He concluded: “If a 72-year-old Doddery can do it, a middle-aged person can. You can turn your life around, you just have to have discipline. “