Millions of people up and down the UK are full of praise for the transformative effect taking up running has had on their lives. For Snita Sharma, a 51-year-old self-employed estate agent from Buckinghamshire, running has been truly a life-changing experience. Snita struggled to manage her diabetes for several years before taking up running and overhauling her diet and successfully managed to completely put her condition into remission. After being diagnosed 10 years ago with Type 2 diabetes, having put on weight due to a diet of high in fat Indian food, takeaways, crisps, and fizzy drinks.
Coupled with an inactive lifestyle, she reached 11 stone – three stone overweight.
Despite her diagnosis, Snita says she was fairly complacent when it came to managing her condition.
She said: “Diabetes has had a really serious impact on my life. For the first eight or nine years I didn’t really care and just ate what I wanted and took my medication but I never felt good and was always tired, hungry and experiencing mood swings.”
With blood sugar levels on the rise and fearing that her lifestyle was putting her at risk of complications such as sight loss and amputation, Snita was challenged by her family to take control and properly managing her condition.
She continued: “After turning 49 I wrote a list with my family of all the things I wanted to do before I turned 50. They challenged me to put my Type 2 diabetes into remission by going on a strict diet.
“My husband took me to a nearby leisure centre where we saw a notice about a beginners running club. I started running and my blood sugar levels started to slowly come down.”
After catching the running bug and and participating in extra training throughout the week, as well as an improved diet of chicken, vegetables and low-fat Indian options too, Snita found that her weight was dropping as well.
“Losing weight has helped me to put the condition into remission. As soon as I started to lose weight my blood sugar levels stated to come down.
“I felt so much better and got faster as a result, which helped me lose even more weight.”
Anita is effusive in her praise for the impact running has had on her life and recently delivered a talk, with the help of Diabetes UK, on the life-chasing effect it can have on other people living with diabetes.
She revealed: “The impact running has had on y life has been huge. If I hadn’t joined my running club and got the support I’ve had from my coach and the rest of the group I wouldn’t have kept it up.
“Running has really helped my diabetes by getting me fitter and forcing me to address my diet, which together have helped my diabetes enter into remission.”
Steps for weight-loss success for people with type 2 diabetes
Get physical, regular exercise can help keep off weight. Previously it has been reported that people who increase physical activity along with reducing calorie intake will help you lose more body fat than people who only diet.
Eat breakfast. The most effective diabetes diets include a healthy breakfast. If you end up skipping breakfast in can eat to overeating later in the day. For Type 2 diabetes the best breakfast associated with weight loss is sugar-free, high in fibre cereal.
Cut down on calories. The exact number of calories that people on a diabetes diet should consume depends on a number of factors such as; age, gender, current weight, activity level, and body type.
A goal of 1,200 to 1,800 calories per day for women and between 1,400 and 2,000 calories per day for men, should be taken into consideration when creating a diet plan.
Eat mini-meals. A diabetes diet plan with three – or smaller regular meals spread out through the day – is more effective than plans that include one or two big meals. Eating smaller meals more frequently will help keep glucose levels lower, as having a larger meal can cause blood sugar levels to surge.
Get support. Staying motivated to stick to a weight-loss plan can be extremely difficult when you don’t have the relevant support. Connect with others, either support groups or activity groups to keep you motivated and provide you with the emotional support to avoid giving up.
Simplyhealth has partnered with Diabetes UK for the 2019 Simplyhealth Great Run Series. For expert tips and training advice visit www.greatrun.org/training-simplyhealth