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Martin's Story

Martin faced down diabetes and vasculitis to improve his health

"Back in June 2017, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes - that was the kick I needed to sort my unhealthy habits out. My HBA1C was 129, but it should have been 48 or below, but through little changes to my diet and the introduction of daily walks, I managed to reduce my HBA1C down to 52 in less than six months."

"Wanting to appreciate the wonderful beaches we have here in Poole & Bournemouth, I started my daily 5km walks every morning down to the beach, I worked out that my diabetes doesn't take a day off so why should I, but capturing the wonderful sunrises I've seen makes it all worth it. Slowly by slowly, I've clocked up the miles and since I started have covered over 670 so far.

My daily walks also inspired my mum to start walking and now we use the same app. Despite being 150 miles apart, we can both see the progress we're making and know we're both doing the right thing by getting out and exercising. Receiving that notification that we've completed our walk also encourages momentum. Seeing the changes it's made for both her and myself make us proud. I had the exercise sorted, next I needed to sort my diet which has always been my nemesis.
 
 

FACING MY NEMESIS

I've since made changes to my diet, trying to cut back on carbs. I don't have takeaways anymore and eat much more fruit. Breakfast for me now is a poached egg on toast. Lunch used to be a sandwich shop baguette with all the trimmings, but now I have a Ryvita with paté, tomatoes, and I've switched a packet of crisps for popcorn. Then, I finish with a couple of portions of fruit. In the evenings, I've stopped opting for processed and microwave meals and prepare fresh food. I've cut the stodge and am more conscious about what I'm fuelling myself with.
 
 
 

WARNING SIGNS

Fast-forward to March 2018, I'd gone to the doctors as I was feeling generally unwell; having issues managing my diabetes and sleeping. I mentioned about wanting to lose weight and my GP told me about LiveWell Dorset and encouraged me to give it a try, so I did a Google search, found the website and registered. I received a voicemail from LiveWell soon after registering which was welcome, but I didn't respond at the time as I wasn't quite ready. I found the Our LiveWell Facebook group and joined for inspiration and to see other peoples' stories. I read more posts about LiveWell which inspire me.
 
But then, I received a diagnosis of Vasculitis called GPA, a rare blood condition that affects around 60 in a million people. After making progress with my exercise and diet, this diagnosis really did knock me for six and I had to take time off work. The diabetes was my first warning and GPA my second - there's still a way for me to go to keep healthy but I intend to stay positive and the results so far have been encouraging.
 

'WALK THAT WALK!'

Having cut back on walking earlier this year, I'm back on it now; I'm back on the road to healthy living, my transformation has even given me the confidence to join a couple of dating apps too, not something I ever saw myself doing previously. This week is my first week back at work, and it's been encouraging to hear work colleagues notice the change in me. I'm planning a sponsored walk later this year to Glastonbury's iconic Pyramid Stage together with my son who finishes his GCSE's in June, when we'll walk to Somerset from my flat over two days. I hope to raise £1,000 for the Lauren Currie Twilight Foundation that supports GPA sufferers and funds research for this incurable disease.
 

KNOW YOUR NUMBERS

To anyone at risk of diabetes, I would say - go get your numbers checked. Book that blood test appointment with a healthcare professional. Blood tests are becoming much more accessible in your local surgery and don't take a long time to complete. We need to know our numbers and it's down to us to take responsibility for our own health.
 
Sure, I need to lose more weight to improve my BMI and when I finish my infusion treatment for GPA in August, I want to join a weight loss program through the LiveWell voucher scheme, so I'll be calling you soon!"
 

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Martin

Thank you LiveWell for your support, keep up the great work you do to encourage others to take that leap and improve their life in more ways than they thought possible!

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The tailored approach LiveWell Dorset uses to come up with solutions to the things that are stopping us achieving our goals, is based upon work done by University College London developing the COM-B model of behaviour change. In this model, all behaviour is influenced by understanding a person’s capability to change, their opportunity to change and their motivation to change. By understanding which of these is the biggest barrier to change, we can tailor support accordingly. This model of behaviour change is at the centre of the support we offer, online and in person.

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