February 23


128: Varina Emblen – A Table Changed My Life

February 23, 2023

Carnivore, Diabetes, Diet, Fasting, Food, Health, Intermittent Fasting, Keto, Ketogenic Diet, LCHF, Lifestyle, Low Carb, Nutrition, Podcasts, Private Podcast, Real Food, Well Being

Fabulously Keto
Fabulously Keto
128: Varina Emblen - A Table Changed My Life

Varina Emblen

 I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 24 years ago. The prospect for me was very bleak indeed: a failing pancreas, high blood pressure or even toe or possibly foot amputation. The only treatment was medication or weight loss. So I chose weight loss and embarked upon a very long and dispiriting battle with my weight over the next few years. 

At each annual review to check my blood sugars and other aspects of being diabetic, I was encouraged to consider medication but I always refused in favour of losing weight. I had many successes over this time, but once I had achieved a healthy weight, I resolutely failed to maintain it. This was largely due to my lifestyle which included a very stressful job, with long hours and lots of travelling and two teenage children. 

Food, particularly sweet food was my comfort and I rarely went through a day without consuming a biscuit, cake or sweets. When I retired from work my eating habits changed and I did manage to lose a little weight, but despite all my efforts I could not get down to a healthy weight and try as I might to eat healthily, my weight loss was stalled. 

On the advise of my Practice nurse, I was offered an appointment with the surgery’s Life Coach and Social Prescriber, Olly. With patience and empathy, Olly shared with me the work of Dr David Unwin and the success he had had with his diabetic patients using a low carb diet. This was a lightbulb moment for me and over the coming few appointments I had with Olly, I realised that both my lifestyle and my diet had to change. 

Using a number of links Olly sent me to review, I drew up a plan of action, beginning with converting to a low carb diet. After a couple of months, I started intermittent fasting and then the following months I upped the amount of exercise I was doing on a daily basis. These three things: Low carb eating, intermittent fasting and daily exercise in a fasting state saw my weight fall off. 

I have lost over 15kg in 8 months and am still going strong. I have lost 12 cm from my waistline, have lots more energy and am sleeping like a baby every night. The data from my most recent diabetic review has been the most gratifying ever. I have blood sugars well within the normal range, my kidney function is excellent and my blood pressure is within normal levels. I have reversed my diabetes after 24 years. 

Low carb eating, intermittent fasting and daily exercise are now my way of life and whilst some days can be challenging, I plan meticulously and stick to my three strategies and bit by bit I am heading in the right direction. I feel very lucky to have been so well supported by the health team at my surgery, particularly Olly and I look forward to being alive and kicking for a good few years more!

Varina’s Top Tips

  1. If you have been diagnosed as Type 2 Diabetic or pre diabetic, low carb works.
  2. Put yourself first, your needs are your health. Your health is important.
  3. This is a lifestyle change, it is not a diet. This is how you are going to live your life for the rest of your life.


Resources Mentioned

Spoon Fed – Tim Spector

Konjac Noodles

Bare Naked Noodles

Olly Leicester on The Fabulously Keto Podcast

Atomic Habits – James Clear

Dr Rangan Chatterjee podcast Feel Better, Live More

Ketotarian: The (Mostly) Plant-based Plan to Burn Fat, Boost Energy, Crush Cravings and Calm Inflammation – Dr Will Cole

Katie Caldesi

The Diabetes Weight-loss Cookbook – Katie Caldesi

Reverse Your Diabetes Cookbook – Katie Caldesi

The 30-Minute Diabetes Cookbook – Katie Caldesi

The Caldesi Low-Carb Christmas – Katie Caldesi

The Italian Cookbook for Children and Adults – Katie Caldesi

The Low-Carb Weight-Loss Cookbook – Katie Caldesi

The Low-Carb Italian Kitchen – Katie Caldesi


Quotes by Varina Emblen

“I am going to stick with my porridge in the morning and my normal unsuccessful methods.

“Where I have not been successful is that I haven’t been able to stick to a diet that works because diets don’t work.

“It became a cycle really of giving up and thinking I will just live with this, I’ll just be a fat person and then feeling ill and blood sugars going up and then going on a diet again, a different diet.

“It’s just so punishing and you feel so miserable because it takes so long to see any decent results.

“I say to myself “Slim people don’t have biscuits with their coffee”

“Food was a comfort for me.

“This is never going to work, I am never going to be slim.

“It sounds so easy to just get your diet under control

“Food was the answer to everything.

“I have been dieting since I was 18 and I am thoroughly fed up with it, so this is liberating.

“Something you can’t see in the darkness of being overweight and feeling so miserable.

“This is a lifestyle change, it is not a diet. This is how you are going to live your life for the rest of your life.

“If you want your lifestyle to change, you have to change some of your habits within your lifestyle.

Connect with Varina Emblen on social media

Varina doesn’t have any social media details to share. If you would like to reach out to Varina you can complete the contact form on our website and we will forward the details to her.



The Fabulously Keto Diet & Lifestyle Journal: A 12-week journal to support new habits – Jackie Fletcher

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