FACES of DCO Diabetes Week Blogs: My journey out of sugar hell into Wellbeing, by Graham

Graham before and after

Graham before and after

Friday, April 13 2012 started like most of my days, with the sound of the alarm clock at 6.30 am, but somehow I felt different…
I opened my eyes and my vision was somewhat blurry, being a typical bloke and given I was 49 years old, l figured it was time for an optometrist visit!

As the weekend progressed, other symptoms started to kick in, dehydration and bathroom visits every 5 minutes.
By Sunday night I figured something was just not right.

Monday, April 16, 2012 hit the local GP, explained my symptoms and a blood glucose level (BGL) measurement was taken, I returned a reading of 29, innocently I asked the GP, “Is that bad?” His first words to me were go home and pack a bag as you are going straight to the emergency ward at the local hospital and most likely will be checked in overnight!

He explained that I was type 2 diabetic and he did not know how I had not had a stroke!

I freaked!

Normal BGL readings pre-food is 4-6 and 4-8 post food.

The Concord hospital emergency ward was an experience to remember but after many blood tests, cardio tests and lots of questions asked and answered I was officially declared type 2 diabetic! I was given a good shot of insulin and told to return to the Diabetic clinic the next day.

Tuesday, April 17, Diabetic clinic here I come!
My life changed forever from this day…

I’m greeted by the lovely Sylvia who walks me through what my life will look like from today! After spending almost 1.5 hours with her I’m sent away with the following information and plan:

1. Lose weight especially around my stomach – current weight 118kgs! Wow! was surprised but not really, more in denial about the number, in my head I was 105 kgs!

2. Monitor my BGL 3 x a day, Sylvia taught me how to take my own blood. BGL should be as follows 4-6 pre food, 4-8 post food. BGL should be done pre food.
3. How to inject insulin, once a day preferably at night.

4. When to take my medication – 2 tablets a day, morning and evening.

5. What I can and can’t eat, portion control and massive reduction in alcohol consumption.

6. Wait 4 weeks to go and get a full eye check up, my vision will change daily.

7. Strength work!

8. ………………. Basically a complete lifestyle change is required.
I leave the clinic full of confidence that I will join the 20 of the 80/20 club

%80 of people do nothing about their type 2 diabetes, 20% of people end up reversing and manage their diabetes through, nutrition, exercise and well being. I took up this challenge!

I kick straight into my lifestyle change which includes nutrition, fitness and general well being!

49 Years Old

Weight – 118kgs

BGL reading – 29

Nutrition – poor
Fitness – average, can’t run, do a push up except on my knees, no more than 3 crunches at a time!

I spend the next 6 months eating right, getting portion control right, learning about food and labels, working out what foods spike my BGL’s and what foods I really need to avoid and of course daily exercise is completed.
I set myself daily, weekly and monthly goals around my weight loss, fitness and nutrition.

After a month once most of the sugar leaves my body I decide it’s time to engage a Personal Trainer (PT) to show me how to do strength work. Little did I know that this move would change the course of everything for me…fitness and nutrition wise.
I team up with Stephen O’Brien who from the outset whips me into shape and guides me into stripping away all the fat in my body.

I go from strength to strength working with Steve, we hit my goals each week and before I realise it, four months later I have stripped off almost 15 kgs! …and I’m close to my main goal of getting to 100kgs!

At the same time my cardio and strength improve so much that even I’m shocked at what I was doing during our sessions!

A visit back to the diabetic clinic sees my medication halved and my blood results showing a massive improvement. The Dr is super impressed with my commitment and my blood tests show amazing results especially an increase in my phytonutrients and antioxidant levels. Of course I will never underestimate the power of fruit and vegetables again!

Fast track to today, after 12 months and with a complete overhaul…
I have fully reversed my diabetes!
I’m off all diabetic medication!

I’m in peak physical condition

I’m in the best shape I have ever been in my life!

…well certainly since my early 20’s.

I competed in this year’s CrossFit games, running over 10km, doing things that I only ever dreamed of.
I FEEL alive and energised!
Here’s my NEW Stats:

50 Years Old

Weight – 85 kgs (total weight loss 33kgs)

BGL reading 4-6

Nutrition – excellent

Fitness level – high!
This has been an incredible journey…

I have learnt a lot about myself and continue to take care of myself.



  1. Sally on July 14, 2013 at 7:54 am

    What a great inspiration you are Graham! And you look like you’re in your 20s too! Good on you, and thanks for sharing!!

    Best wishes, Sally.

  2. helwild on July 14, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Thanks Graham, I am sure many people will find your story inspirational 🙂