Read this amazing success story to find out how Suzette reversed her pre-diabetes diagnosis, lost 14 lbs / 6.5kg in weight and finally started sleeping!
Left: before Suzette began working with me. Right: less than a year on and looking amazing!
Where Suzette’s story began
Suzette was newly retired after working for 45 years, including running a very busy 24-hour Telecare Service which often had varying shift patterns. Suzette wanted to enjoy retirement, however, had trouble sleeping, felt tired/lethargic, lacked energy, frequently used caffeine to get through the day and suffered from constipation that left her feeling very uncomfortable.
Additionally, Suzette’s family had a history of high cholesterol, and her BMI score was higher than her GP recommended. Suzette’s GP had suggested that she take Statins to reduce her cholesterol. Although Suzette wanted to reduce her cholesterol levels, she had experienced side effects when she had agreed to trial Statins in the past. This made Suzette realise she did not want to be in a position where she HAD to take them. But with a family history of cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol, Suzette was aware that she needed to do something if she was to avoid having to take medication.
When Suzette came to clinic, she was not aware that she was pre-diabetic. During our initial consultation, Suzette said that she wanted to have fun and enjoy her retirement and to achieve that, she wanted to :
Improve her energy
Regulate her bowel movements
Lower her cholesterol levels.
Suzette’s success is an amazing story of how a holistic approach to health can identify imbalances in the body before they become a bigger issue. She is an example of someone whose determination to turn their health around prevailed.
Symptoms that needed answers
During Suzette’s initial consultation, we reaffirmed her goals, recapped her medical history and went through a full-body scan of presenting symptoms. There were a few key symptoms that made me suspicious of an underlying condition, including:
Waking in the night to urinate
Urinating frequently throughout the day (despite not drinking any water)
Water retention in her lower legs and feet
Slow wound healing
Numbness and tingling in her hands and feet.
To confirm or deny my suspicions I coordinated with her GP, who performed some blood tests. When the results of the blood tests returned, they revealed my suspicions to be true – Suzette had pre-diabetes.
“When I met up with Natalie last year I felt sluggish. My diet was poor and Natalie requested blood tests via the GP due to some of my symptoms.
The tests identified I had high cholesterol and I had pre-diabetes – I’m not going to lie this worried me. “
This shifted Suzette’s focus somewhat, and reversing the diagnosis became the catalyst that accelerated her motivation for change and adopting new food habits.
The first steps to better health
We began with some realistic steps that Suzette felt confident she could achieve. This is key with making any changes in life – the change needs to feel achievable. Suzette’s plan focused on improving the symptoms she mentioned when she first entered the clinic – poor sleep, constipation and high cholesterol – as well as balancing blood sugars in a bid to reverse pre-diabetes.
The reason I approach health holistically is that symptoms are a sign of imbalances in the body and Suzette’s story illustrates just that. Not only did Suzette have classic diabetes symptoms that made me suspicious, but her other symptoms also aligned.
Why gut health tells us so much
Frequent constipation indicates an imbalance of gut microbiota (aka gut flora, gut bacteria). If gut microbiota is not balanced and flourishing with beneficial bacteria, it can have an impact on blood sugar balance and body weight, which contributes to pre-diabetes. When our gut flora is kept healthy it is able to better support our metabolic health, including balancing cholesterol to an appropriate level.
Where sleep and diabetes meet
Reduced sleeping hours/sleep deprivation has been shown to impact your body’s ability to move sugar out of the blood into cells (aka insulin resistance). Additionally, the stress hormone, cortisol, is increased when we don’t sleep well and this increases blood sugar levels.
The role inflammation played
Pre-diabetes and diabetes is a chronic condition that builds over time and is accelerated by inflammation. Some foods can be inflammatory for the body and drive diseases. Equally, certain lifestyle aspects – alcohol, poor sleep, high stress – can also trigger an inflammatory response. Reducing inflammation is key to improving chronic conditions like diabetes.
The road to success
To summarise, here are some of the key areas we worked on together to support Suzette’s amazing results:
Expanded the diversity and colour of her food for an uplift in antioxidants and nutrients
Eating breakfast to help balance her energy and blood sugars and reduce her reliance on caffeine
Switching carbohydrates to the right choices that are full of fibre and support good gut health
Including omega 3’s and anti-inflammatory foods to reduce her diabetes risks
Increasing water intake from zero to 1-litre minimum a day to hydrate and help with brain fog
Supporting detoxification to improve circulation and reduce water retention
Selecting the right supplements to support Suzette’s current health status and help her achieve her goals
Introducing a sleep routine that suited Suzette and her husband
Encouraging movement every day
Since Suzette started walking every day, she has found that she really really enjoys it and frequently clocks 25,000 – 30,000 steps a day!
Suzette now feels lighter, more energised and healthier and has chosen to reduce her alcohol intake as it doesn’t fit in with her new lifestyle the same way it used to.
Within 3 months of implementing small changes, Suzette was:
Sleeping like a dream and not waking for the toilet during the night
Experiencing regular daily bowel movement – no more constipation
No longer experiencing water retention or excess fluid in her legs or feet
Excited by eating new foods and generally feeling positive about her health
In under 9 months of continuing to make positive changes, Suzette was:
No longer pre-diabetic
No longer pressured to take Statins
1 stone / 14 lbs / 6.5kg lighter
Living life to the fullest and doing more than ever before
In her own words, Suzette now ‘feels fantastic’ and so she should too! We still have maintenance consultations every few months, which work well for Suzette, but she now has the knowledge she needs to eat, live and sleep in a way that makes her feel good.