A woman has revealed how a warning from her doctor lead to her seeing an incredible 11st 2.5lb (71kg) weight loss and the reversal of her type 2 diabetes.
Kelayne Fannan, 51, from Hayling Island, Hampshire was told by her GP in February 2017 she would likely die young if she didn't change her lifestyle.
The following day she joined her local slimming group, overhauled her diet and fitness regime and went on to lose over 11st, going from 21st 4lb (135kg) to 10st 1.5lb (64kg) and dropping eight dress sizes from a size 26 to a trim size 10.
“I’d been to see my GP the day before and he’d told me I had type 2 diabetes and if I didn’t change my lifestyle, I’d have to go on insulin for the rest of my life and could die young," she explains.
"The shock of it made me realise how seriously my weight was impacting my health, and I joined Slimming World the very next day. It was the wake-up call that I needed."
Fannan says her weight began to spiral after she had a motorbike accident in 2013, then later that year her marriage broke down.
“I stopped exercising and turned to food as a coping mechanism – eating for comfort and to relieve my boredom," she says. "It was the worst four years of my life, and by 2017, I’d gained 10st.
"Because of my weight, I couldn’t walk five minutes down the road without my back and knees hurting, and my diabetes was getting worse meaning my GP prescribed four tablets a day to control it."
Recalling that period in her life, Fannan says she wasn't properly looking after herself, which had an impact on her health and wellbeing.
“I felt so low, I was eating so many crisps, chocolate and sweets, my skin would often have breakouts and at my heaviest I’d suffer from crippling migraines," she explains.
The turning point came after she was told her weight and lifestyle could have some serious consequences in the future and decided to take action.
"Within three weeks of joining Slimming World, I’d lost half a stone," she says. “Going to the group each week helped me to keep focused on my goal, and if I had a week where I’d struggled, that’s when I needed their support more than ever.
"Talking it through with my consultant and the other members gave me the tools and motivation to get back on track the following week."
The key aspect of her weight loss, according to Fannan, was changing her relationship with food.
"It meant I no longer used it as a source of comfort when I’m bored or stressed," she explains. "I now understand that food is nutritious and not something to punish myself with or use in a destructive way.
"I eat lots of vegetables and fruit and for dinner," she continues. "I’ll make baked salmon with fresh vegetables and boiled brown rice or or I make Slimming World’s spaghetti Bolognese which is delicious."
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As she started to lose weight Fannan says she gained a new sense of confidence, which had a knock on impact on other aspects of her life.
"I started to be more active and I wanted to try new things," she says. "I joined a local dance class which brought me closer to my family and friends as we dance together.
"I walk the dogs every morning with my daughter, Amber, and we both go to swing, jive and Lindy Hop dancing classes with my parents.
"I’m more active, more social and living life to the max," she adds.
Changing her lifestyle has also meant Fannan has been able to reverse her diabetes.
"I’m so proud I reversed my type 2 diabetes by losing weight and eating a healthy, balanced diet," she says.
"When I went back to visit my diabetes specialist and they saw my transformation, they said I was their ‘star patient'."
As well as no longer needing to take medication for her condition, Fannan says there have been other positives to her weight loss.
"I feel completely different," she says. "I’m more confident and my skin glows. I'm literally half the person I used to be."
To complete her body transformation, in November last year, Fannan had a breast lift and implants and this April, had a tummy tuck to remove her excess skin.
"I’m now a size 10 and weigh 10st 1½lbs. I never thought I’d feel my most confident in my 50s, yet here I am, enjoying every moment.”
To mark World Diabetes Day, today, November 14, Fannan wants to encourage anyone living with the condition who wants to lose weight to seek the help that they need.
"Losing weight hasn’t just changed my life, it saved my life," she adds.
According to Diabetes UK more than 4.9 million people in the UK are living with diabetes, with 13.6 million people in the UK at increased risk of type 2 diabetes, a major contributor to kidney failure, heart attack, and stroke.
Commenting on Fannan's weight loss and diabetes reversal Bev Dodgson, who runs the Hayling Island Slimming World group and is Kelayne’s Slimming World consultant says: “Kelayne is such an inspiration. She’s living proof for anyone with type 2 diabetes, that it is possible to make healthy lifestyle changes and lose weight following Slimming World’s programme.
"Kelayne was able to personalise our healthy eating plan to the advice given to her by her healthcare team and you can see how she’s turned her life around. We’re all so proud of her.”
Fannan's diet before
Lunch: Meal deal – sandwich, crisps, chocolate, sugary drink
Dinner: High fat and high sugary foods such as an Indian takeaway or creamy pasta carbonara with cheese
Snacks: Sweets, crisps and chocolate
Fannan's diet after
Breakfast: Fresh fruit with low-fat yoghurt
Lunch: Fresh mixed salad with boiled egg, ham and low-fat cottage cheese
Dinner: Baked salmon with roasted fresh vegetables, boiled green vegetables and brown or wild rice
Snacks: Sugar-free jelly, fresh fruit, mixed nuts, dried fruit, low-fat yoghurt
Drinks: Water and lots of tea!