A student paramedic has transformed her life by shedding a third of her body weight and reversing the type 2 diabetes she had battled for 10 years.
Katy McMillan has gone from injecting insulin four times a day to not at all after slimming down to just 8st 12lbs.
The Ayrshire girl had a body mass index (BMI) of 35.3 when she was diagnosed with the disease at just 18.
At just 5ft tall, weighing 12st 12lbs and wearing a size 16, she was horrified.
Katy, from Troon , recalled: “When I look back, it feels like the big me with type 2 diabetes is a different person.
“I was so self-conscious, and embarrassed to have type 2 diabetes so young and to have to inject in front of people.”
Katy, 28, first attended a slimming group at 15, but struggled to find something that worked for her.
And when doctors discovered her diabetes as she prepared for surgery to correct an underdeveloped jaw, she lost what little confidence she had.
Katy explained: “I was all geared up for the surgery.
“I’d been so self-conscious about both my weight and my jaw. I just wanted to get it sorted.
“But, as the doctors were prepping me, they realised my blood sugar levels were sky high. The surgery was postponed as they ran tests, which showed I had type 2 diabetes.
“Looking back, I’d had signs, like constant thirst, tiredness, and needing to go to urinate all the time, but I’d been too scared to go and have it all confirmed.
“The diagnosis itself was devastating. I remember being shown how to inject myself, trying to do it and just sobbing, saying I couldn’t.
“I then had to deal with going back to school and adjusting to this new life. I didn’t want anyone to see me injecting, and felt so embarrassed.
“At that age, you just want to be like everyone else. It was hell.”
She went on: “I would eat rubbish – big plates of chips for lunch, then take-aways in the evening.
“I did very little exercise too. I’d not long passed my driving test, so drove absolutely everywhere – including to the McDonald’s drive-thru most evenings.”
Things began to change for Katy in April 2012 when, sick of seeing upsetting photos of herself, a Facebook post about WW – the new Weight Watchers – caught her eye.
Such is her success, she reduced her blood sugar levels to match those of someone without type 2 diabetes – usually linked to being overweight and inactive.
She continued: “I saw these amazing before and after pictures and thought, ‘That’s what I want.’
“I knew if I didn’t do it then, I never would, so I contacted my WW leader Morag and went down to a meeting.
“They explained how to use their SmartPoints system, which tracks food and drink to nudge users towards a more nutritious diet.
“It made complete sense to me and I especially loved the app, enabling you to scan food in the supermarket and find out how many points it’s worth.
“I’d tried other regimes in the past and hadn’t stuck to them, as they were so impractical. You can’t exactly go out to a restaurant and eat weight loss shakes or supplements.
“But I liked WW as it didn’t bring attention to the fact I was trying to slim down. I could still eat the foods I liked, but it taught me about moderation and to stop pushing myself to eat when I was full.”
The pounds steadily falling away, Katy eventually hit her current weight of 8st 12lb.
No longer needing to inject insulin, she just takes two Metformin tablets a day – a drug often used to treat type 2 diabetes.
The charity Diabetes UK says that, while they prefer not to use the word ‘reversal,’ as there is no guarantee that the condition has gone forever, it is possible to put it in remission, and losing around 15kg (2st 3lb) increases the chances of doing so.
Now, having ditched the junk food and takeaways, Katy lives on fresh, home-cooked meals, prepared from scratch and hits the gym three times a week, where she does cardio and lifts weights.
Katie pointed out: “My advice to anyone else out there feeling how I once did is just to take those first steps, go to that first meeting.
“It doesn’t take long for change to happen. You can still go out, have fun and socialise too.
“You don’t need to stop your life in order to feel different.”
Learn more about WW’s Freestyle Programme by visiting www.weightwatchers.com/uk
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