A woman with type 1 diabetes who went low carb has changed her life after experiencing a “light-bulb” moment about her health.
After deciding low carb was the way to go, Zein Gajraj lost three stone and came off all her pain medication.
Zein was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1992. She struggled with her blood glucose control and her weight. She developed diabetic neuropathy in her legs and feet and a condition called plantar fasciitis, one of the most common causes of heel pain.
The former student said the “turning point” came during a holiday in 2012, when she felt low and unhappy about how she had lost control of her type 1 diabetes.
She said: “I’d gradually put on weight and was starting to develop complications. I was roughly four stone overweight and wasn’t really getting much exercise. It was then that I had a lightbulb moment, I thought to myself ‘what types of foods require insulin?’ It was the carbohydrates, these were all being broken down into glucose. So, what did I need to do? I needed to cut out the bread, pasta and rice.”
Up until then Zein’s healthcare team had advised her to follow traditional nutrition guidelines for diabetes which were based around the EatWell Guide.
“I was surprised when they told me that even needed to eat more starchy carbs to keep my blood sugars stable. So, really I was trying to eat more carbs, then having to inject more insulin as a result and was putting on weight,” she said.
She joined the Low Carb Program and has not looked back since.
Zein said: “After starting low carb I lost the weight quite quickly – between February and August 2012 I’d lost about three stone. My blood sugars were between 4-7mmol/L (they used to go up to 20 before), I’d halved the number of units of insulin I used and Id completely come off pain medication for neuropathy.”
She said following the diet was not difficult and did not experience any cravings.
“I think the results were motivating. I could see that my blood sugars were much better and I didn’t get the peaks and troughs that I used to have – I had lots more energy too.”
Since then, Zein has completely revamped her life and is now a qualified personal trainer. She spends a lot of time in the gym for herself too, doing resistance training, spinning, HIIT classes and weight lifting.
As part of Diabetes Awareness Month we are sharing people’s success stories. All of the case studies we have covered so far are available on our News section.
We are encouraging everyone use social media to help promote and become involved with Diabetes Awareness Month by posting using the hashtag #StrongerTogether.