‘I'm never going back!'

Woman's Own Lifestyle Special|Issue 4 2020

‘I'm never going back!'
Carolyn Jarrett, 60, from Port Talbot wasn’t going to let her diabetes diagnosis get the better of her
GEORGINA MARIC/FRANCES LEATE
Today, happy and healthy and meds-free Waking in the night as my husband Hugh, then 50, slept soundly beside me, I reached for my bedside glass of water. After glugging it down, I still felt thirsty, so I crept out of bed and downstairs to the kitchen, where I poured myself another pint.

It was November 2004 and, for months, I’d felt constantly thirsty, often getting up in the night several times. I felt tired, too, only I put that down to having a busy job as a training manager at a careers company and looking after my two daughters, Laura, then 16, and Sadie, 11.

But then a routine check-up at the doctor a few weeks later revealed something surprising. My blood -glucose levels were abnormally high, and the doctor diagnosed type 2 diabetes.

‘I’d always had a sweet tooth’

I sat there, stunned, as he handed me a diet sheet and told me I needed to cut sugar out of my diet completely – even from cups of tea – and instead eat a low-carb diet with plenty of vegetables. I’d always had a sweet tooth, loved chocolate, sugary tea and biscuits, and I’d often cook up big, stodgy meals of meat pies and home-made chips.

In my 30s, I’d been 26st and a dress size 32 – and, at only 5ft 4ins, I’d been considered morbidly obese. But, although I’d joined a slimming group and managed to shed 6st, at 20st and a dress size 26-28, deep down I knew I was still overweight.

The doctor didn’t say diabetes had anything to do with my weight, but he stressed that the change in my diet would make all the difference.

Reluctantly, I swapped to sweetener in my tea and found a website that sold sugar-free chocolate and sweets, but family meals were still pretty much the same.

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Issue 4 2020