How I Freed Myself from Diabetes - Rachel’s Story


Rachel Woodrow, from Waikanae, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes when she was 37 years old, prompting a full lifestyle change. She reduced a third of her body weight, began the regular exercise, and is now symptom-free.


My doctor and family had repeatedly cautioned me that I was too fat and that my way of life was killing me.


In 2011, I went to assist my sister, who was suffering from gestational diabetes and was injecting herself as well as monitoring her blood sugar levels. We thought it would be amusing to use my readings to surprise her midwife because they were fairly high. They certainly surprised her - they were really high, and it took some convincing to persuade the midwife that they originated from me.


She pulled me away and told me I needed to seek assistance.


I cried when my doctor told me I had diabetes, not because I was worried about my health, but because everyone had been right and everyone would know. I was now the one doing the insulin injections. Only my family and a few close friends knew.


I decreased to 87.6kg by lowering my overall food intake. My maximum weight was 99 kg, yet I'm just 1.57 meters tall. Amazingly (as you may know), after losing 10% of my body weight, I was able to conceive after 13 years of trying! That meant I had gestational diabetes, of course.


Tabitha arrived two weeks ahead of schedule. I wish someone had told me how a baby born to a diabetic mother feels. She was carried away in less than an hour after a tumultuous birth with so many heel pricks that her feet resembled pin cushions.


Diabetic patients receive regular checkups from diabetic nurses. My nurse was a beautiful woman, but when I tried to talk to her about reversing diabetes, she just told me I was doing OK. There was a sense that I should just accept my fate. I was always so unhappy after these meetings that I would fall into a deep depression for a long time.


This resulted in me eating more and moving less — I was stuck in a downward spiral! I couldn't manage my eating or feel motivated, and I was beginning to accept that my younger daughter would not see me live a long life free of illness.


During my pregnancy, I became accustomed to checking my blood sugar levels on a daily basis, which encouraged me to think about what I put in my mouth and introduced me to the concept of not eating for two hours after a meal (an excellent habit to develop, by the way).


Fitbit (activity tracker) has been a source of motivation for me for years. I used it to monitor my blood sugar levels, and exercising took on new meaning for me. My iphone's Fitbit dashboard was fantastic, and I could easily add meals and count calories — everything I needed to get started on my new weight-loss strategy.


So, on January 18, 2015, I brushed off my scales, turned on my Fitbit, and got down to business. The graphs and green lights that appeared after I met my daily target were incredibly motivating! Plus, I detested seeing the large red knife and fork that appears when you exceed your calorie limit.


This was the right kick-start to a new, better lifestyle for me. I can no longer go to bed without completing my daily 10,000-step goal. When I started tracking my food intake, it became clear that chocolate, biscuits, and other sweet treats (baddies) were my downfall, and the calories they took away from real food meant I was overeating.


One day, as I was stuffed my face with more junk food, I realized I was addicted to these foods. More investigation is required. Addictions take 90 days to break, but the prospect of never eating these foods again was terrifying, so I made a deal with myself: 90 days without sugar foods and a "whoo-hoo" day. That means once every 90 days, eat whatever you've been yearning for.


Giving up sugary foods was extremely difficult for me, and I fought for a month, but I lost 7.2kg and felt much more in control at the end of the 90 days!


Now that I'm 62kg, I still use the Fitbit app every day and like participating in online Fitbit challenges. It serves as an excellent motivator.


After being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, Rachel used to weigh 99 kg and had to inject insulin every day.


Rachel’S TIPS

I typically consume 1,200-1,500 calories each day, with the majority of the food being clean and whole.


I change the rules on a regular basis since diets lose their appeal, thus I don't "diet." I set restrictions like "no eating after 8.30pm," because my willpower has gone to bed by 9 p.m., and I used to do a lot of harm searching the cupboards late at night.


I accept and understand that weight loss is made up of 20% activity and 80% diet. Even a modest chocolate bar will not be undone by going for a stroll.


I play games to fill in the gaps between my daily activities. For instance, place the washing basket far away from the line and go back and forth to get each item.