I recently featured in a book written in the UK by Dr David Cavan. This was the piece which covered quite a bit of my background.
In 2005, Mark left his job at a bank to become a self-employed financial adviser. He feels that the stress of the job combined with his already unhealthy lifestyle, contributed to the diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes in 2010 when he was just 39. At that time, he weighed 102kg (224 pounds). He says “I felt sluggish, overweight, tired and just felt run down. I had symptoms of diabetes such as repeated thrush and a tingly foot. I didn’t realise how bad I felt though until I got better.”
When he was diagnosed, he was advised to follow the Eatwell guide and lost weight probably because he cut out all the unhealthy takeaways. He also threw himself into long distance running, joining the local parkrun and completing The Great South Run, a 10-mile road race in Portsmouth, every year. The running, together with medication appeared to keep his weight and blood sugar under control until 2016, when they both started to increase again. He was told that his condition was progressing, and he would need to increase his medication.
All changed, however, when he happened to hear Dr Michael Mosley being interviewed on the radio. He explained that people with diabetes have been advised to eat the wrong foods, and that it was these foods that were leading to the condition being chronic and progressive. “As I’d been threatened with more drugs, I felt I had nothing to lose. I bought “The 8 Week Blood Sugar Diet” and gave it a go. I cut out all bread, pasta, rice and sugar. No more breakfast cereals and no potatoes with my dinner. I started cooking too which was a first for me. I realised that preparing meals isn’t as difficult as I thought, and I enjoyed the reward of eating what I’d cooked rather than putting a ready-meal in the oven for 20 minutes. The changes in my weight and blood sugar levels were very quick. I didn’t find it too hard. I can be tempted to eat the wrong things and if out with friends I won’t get too anxious over what I eat, but I don’t let that allow me to “fall off the wagon” for days on end. I’m lucky like that but I think you need to know yourself and whether you can have the odd thing without undoing all your good work.”
He lost nearly 20kb (44 pounds) in weight and his diabetes is now in remission. He feels much better, both mentally as well as physically. “In 2018, I was invited to parliament to speak alongside Professor Roy Taylor and Dr David Unwin and others who had found evidence for diet reversing diabetes. If you had asked me previously to stand up in front of audiences or push myself forward like that, I would have avoided it and thought of any reason to get out of it. My confidence just wasn’t there. I feel like a fog lifted from my head in 2016 and I now find myself doing all manner of things and I absolutely love it. I put this down to how I now feed not only my body but my brain too.”
Mark also became an ambassador for the Public Health Collaboration, and this has opened many doors to help others put their type 2 diabetes into remission. For the past 3 years he has been working with his local Primary Care Network to put on a low carb programme for patients which, combined with movement, combatting stress and prioritising a good night’s sleep, has led to some wonderful outcomes. “So far, we have run 16 groups with an average of around a dozen participants in each group. The first 20 patients alone lost an average of 9 kg (20 pounds) in weight and reduced their HbA1c by 19 mmol/mol (1.8%). It is truly heart-warming to see how happy people are, now they have a plan that works. I’m now a Health and Wellbeing Coach and employee of the NHS. I never would have believed it!”
Recently I’ve been working on a project through the Public Health Collaboration to create a new running group for the real food eaters here in the UK plus we hope it will catch on beyond the UK too.
We really must get the message out there that real food has to be a priority of families rather than the ultra-processed foods which make up a large amount of our weekly food shopping
Mark’s Top Tips
- Plan ahead – make sure you have enough food in for the next few days. Have easy go to foods in the cupboard/fridge.
- Where’s the protein on the plate? Build around it.
- Get those scales and chuck them in the bin.
Quotes by Mark Hancock
“You don’t think anything of it. They are all little things that happened but I never thought “I’ve got a serious problem here” these are just little irritants”
“Sometimes to lighten how we feel, we look for other ways to try and make ourselves happier. That might be diving into a MacDonalds on the way to work.”
“You just get this heart-sinking feeling and you think “Yeah, I did this to myself”.”
“I know, you’ve told me it’s chronic and progressive. I know that my meds are going to probably go up at some point. It’s going to get more set. But I’m going to do my damnedest to try and slow that down as much as I can, even if it’s going to get worse. That was always the thing that was in the back of my mind.”
“I am doing everything I can, I am following what you told me to eat. I am following the Eatwell Plate. I am out running miles and miles every week and my condition is getting worse.”
“All the stuff they have been telling me I can’t eat, I now can eat. All the things I have been told to eat, I am not supposed to eat.”
“I never counted a calorie the whole time I was doing it.”
“The other amazing thing for me was that my blood sugar dropped into normal within two days.”
“She took me off my medication in a week.”
“If the food tastes like cardboard for 8 weeks, I didn’t care. I had been backed into a corner of not being able to get out of diabetes.”
“Suddenly I felt I’ve found my family.”
“The great thing about this is once you have managed to sort yourself out, it is almost like you know the magic and now you can try and help someone else. It’s like you are just paying it forward all the time.”
“The frustration for me is – every now and then I hear “People can’t do it”.”
“We are massively influenced by what our GPs and nurses are telling us. They have a lot of power.”
“It’s not just always about the numbers, we get so wrapped up in numbers. We get wrapped up in what the scales are telling us.”
“Suddenly I was on a different track. The track I was on before was leading to all those problems of health deterioration, hospital appointments. Whereas now suddenly, hopefully I have given myself a better chance.”
“The amount of ultra-processed foods that people are eating and they have no idea, how much they are eating.”
Connect with Mark Hancock on social media
Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/mark.hancock.12720
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/RealFoodRunners
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Friendsofthe8WeekBloodSugarand52Diets
If you want to email Mark – complete the contact us form and we will forward it to him.
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