My Type 2 diabetes is in remission after losing 9 stone on TotalFast

Darren lost 9 stone with LighterLife

When I was younger, I lost weight through exercise and became very fit, managing to maintain that until my late 30s. Then I started focusing more on work than on my fitness, and began putting weight on. Eventually, things became more difficult due to health issues, and I realised I need to do something about my weight.

Why I chose LighterLife

I initially joined the NHS Tier 3 programme which gave three options for diet plans to use, LighterLife being one of them. It was my then manager at work who told me how successful she’d been on LighterLife, and that decided it for me.

What was different this time around?

During my first week on TotalFast I lost 10kg (1st 5lb), and had lost 17kg (2st 6lb) by the end of the first month. Losing that much weight so quickly and with very little effort gave me all the incentive I needed to keep going.

In fact, by Day 6 I had so much more energy I was able to walk 3.5 miles home from work without too much difficulty.

Add to that the amazing support I had from my Mentor, as well as the rest of our Monday evening Group, and I never really felt I was facing a challenge. Rather, it was more of an adjustment to my daily routines – which was easy as I didn’t feel hungry and every day I could see a difference, either on the scales or in my clothes.

Starting TotalFast

I was lucky, I didn’t struggle at all during the first week.

o   Day 1: I was so excited about starting, and that kept me going – especially as I didn’t know what to expect.

o   Day 2: I didn’t really feel hungry, but it was a Friday and I would usually pour a glass of wine and cook a nice meal to end the week. So, I was a little bit lost as to what to do with my time. In the end, I went for a walk – and that became my new ‘thing.’

o   Day 3: I remember feeling ‘hollow’ but not hungry – I was drinking plenty of water and I was waiting for the ‘keto flu’ to kick in, but it didn’t.

o   Day 4: Was a Sunday – I was full of beans! With so much energy I ended up going out for two long walks – which later became 3 x one hour walks a day throughout the Summer. Partly to get my exercise in and also to fill the time that I would usually be cooking.

My go-to products were the Bolognese and Jerk pots, which made lunches at work very easy. The catering staff were so supportive, they even allowed me to queue jump so they could put the hot water in the pots for me!

The Chocolate Shakes were great during the Summer when it was hot and I wasn’t feeling hungry anyway – they’re much easier to drink and I could make sure I had my four packs a day

And the Bolognese packs with a dash of tabasco sauce were my go-to evening meal after work. I made them with slightly less water than suggested, and I thought they tasted like my mum’s Malaysian beef rendang!

I started TotalFast on 1st June 2023 weighing 148kg or 23st 3lbs and moved on to Management on 14th March 2024 weighing 90.6kg or 14st 2lbs. So I’ve dropped 9st in 9 months!

Mentoring, Mindfulness, and Support

My Mentor, has been great in helping all of us in his Group learn to challenge ourselves and ask ourselves what we’re thinking or feeling at any given time. In fact, the day I signed up for my first subscription I remember him calling to introduce himself and invite me to join his support Group calls.

I remember him saying that I sounded very prepared, and then giving me one vital piece of advice: “Don’t go mad having a ‘last meal’ before starting, as that would likely make it more difficult to keep to plan during the first few days.”

That advice has stayed with me ever since and I was never tempted to go off plan. Both because I know the plan works, and also because of the experiences shared by others in the Group about how terrible it feels getting back into ketosis. And I didn’t want to experience that either.

I was quickly able to identify habits I wasn’t aware of – such as coming home from buying cleaning products from Sainsburys and immediately thinking about eating food I hadn’t even bought. That kind of awareness has made it much easier to avoid temptation.

Neil’s enthusiasm for his Group means everyone is incredibly supportive of each other. And being part of a Group has played such an important part in my success. We’ve really benefited from having people at different stages of their journeys. A couple of us started the same week, and whilst I continued on TotalFast, some have moved to Management, and shared some of the challenges they’ve experienced.

We also have someone who’s been on the Management plan for a year. Learning from them has helped me mentally prepare for starting my own Management journey now – mainly around setting boundaries and what has / hasn’t worked. It’s these shared lessons from others who’ve lived the journey that helps everyone else succeed. And then of course I’ve been able to share my experience with newbies just starting, which helps reinforce everything I’ve learned.

My team at work has been amazing – probably my biggest supporters outside of my LighterLife Group. They could see the difference in me physically before I could! Because I made a point of telling everyone that I was starting the plan, they’ve never tried to tempt me to be ‘naughty’ but rather voiced how proud they are that I’ve stuck to the plan, had my pots for lunch, and not been out drinking with them after work. I’ve not stopped socialising, just left after an hour as they’ve carried on!

How do I feel now?

Before starting LighterLife I wore shirts with a 19” to 19.5” neck and 2” longer sleeves, and my waist measured 50” for trousers. Now, I’m a 16.5” to 17” neck and tailored fit, with a 34” waist on my trousers, which are even a little loose.

Fortunately, I kept many of my old clothes, including work suits, so I’ve been able to work back down the years as I’ve lost weight, and avoid spending more money buying them again. Given how quickly I’ve lost weight, I’ve tried to avoid buying too many new clothes as I knew they’d become too big again. Even clothes I bought at Christmas are now baggy on me. It’s a nice problem to have, but an expensive one!

I’ve donated approximately £2,500 of casual and formal clothes and suits to charity via M&S, where they’ll either be recycled for use or the material reused.

What can I do now that I couldn’t before?

So many things. The first thing I noticed was being able to tie my shoelaces without breathing out first!  Soon after that I crossed my legs to put my foot on my knee to put socks on without thinking – it was when I did the other sock that I suddenly realised I hadn’t had to lift my leg with my hands.

And then being able to get up off the floor without holding onto a chair or coffee table. Finally being able to kneel on my knees without a pad and it not hurting, and being able to get up again completely balanced and not pushing myself up.

During Month 3 I noticed that people had stopped staring at me on the Tube. And by Christmas I was feeling slim and wearing tight polo shirts with confidence. I was even slim enough to fly economy on my first flight in over four years – previously I was flying business because I needed the bigger seat!

Healthwise, my Type 2 diabetes is in remission. My HbA1c is around 36, down from around 67 when I started.  And my non-alcoholic fatty liver has been reversed. The ultrasound technician thought she had the wrong patient as she couldn’t see any fat in or around my liver, and my hepatologist expects to discharge me from clinic later this year if my results remain stable.

What have I learned?

For me, the challenge was getting started on my weight loss journey and, with that so quickly achieved, I’ve been able to concentrate on understanding the boundaries I’ll need to stick to to succeed.

The most important lesson I’ve learned though is that this is a journey. It’s not about being ‘naughty’ if you go off your plan, it’s about what you’re going to do / how you go about getting back on track as quickly as possible. And it’s about being kind to yourself. There’s no right or wrong in life, just experiences and lessons. As long as we learn from those lessons, we’ll be able to make the changes that we want. With LighterLife, I now have a support mechanism in place whenever I need it.

What I’d say to anyone thinking about starting LighterLife

For anyone thinking about joining LighterLife I would say to just start as soon as you can, and with a positive mindset. I’ve been lucky as I’m quite headstrong, but for everyone I’ve met on our weekly Group calls who’s just starting out, I always say, “Drink water and stick to plan” – that really does work.