Joe McSorley – a diabetes remission success story

Posted On: 27th June 2019

“While the total diet replacement is not a cure, it can put type 2 diabetes in remission, what happens after that is down to will power and lots of hard work in the gym to maintain the weight loss. In truth, it is a lifestyle change but one that for me has been worth it as I am no longer classed as diabetic, I have managed to reverse it.”

Joe McSorley provides an insight into a patient’s perspective and experience of meal replacement programmes (MRPs). Joe was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and took part in a 12-week meal replacement trial followed by food reintroduction and weight maintenance. So, what has he taken from the programme? We highlight a few key points.

  • The biggest challenge is the start

Patients often find the idea of doing a total meal replacement programmes challenging but actually easier than expected and Joe was no different. However, as he remarks, “I found, because everything was laid out…I found that part of it easy because I had no decisions to make over what I was eating”.

  • Slow and steady wins the race

Food reintroduction comes after the stage in which the patient has been consuming meal replacements and must be done stepwise over several weeks to allow the body to adapt to a more substantial diet. Joe notes that he introduced small, conventional meals on a gradual basis in order to give his body the smoothest transition possible.

  • Exercise everywhere

Joe keeps up his weight management by walking, cycling and playing football – always making sure he has done a substantial amount of exercise each day. Joe’s top tip: consult with personal trainers, whose services are often included in gym membership fees and who can help people to devise a personal weight management programme that works for each individual.

  • Portion control is key

Portion size plays an important role in weight management. Once people have begun to reintroduce conventional foods after the meal replacements, it is important to be aware of the nutritional characteristics of foods regularly consumed. Personal consultants are available with all MRPs, ensuring the patient has an awareness of portion control and nutritional value. Expert guidance on food reintroduction is provided by dieticians and specially trained nurses in health care settings and trained consultants in commercial settings to ensure support and education to advise on weight maintenance after finishing the MRP programme.

  • More support is needed

Joe feels that the government needs to support sufferers of obesity and Type 2 diabetes by learning from studies such as the DiRect diabetes remission clinical trial and the DROPLET study, in order to understand how to effectively tackle obesity and diabetes. NHS England has already committed to piloting a Type 2 diabetes remission programme in 2019 similar to DiRect and NHS Scotland is busy rolling out programmes right now.