NEW Year is a time for making resolutions about things in your life you would like to change. One West Walton man has already taken control of his life and his weight and is hoping his story will inspire others to do the same.
In March 2010, business owner Douglas McClure (38) was shocked to be diagnosed with diabetes.
After falling off a horse and experiencing chest pain, Douglas was referred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn for tests. Doctors discovered Douglas’s glucose levels were 19 millimoles per litre (mmol/l) – a “normal” reading would be between four and eight mmol/l.
Douglas said: “I hadn’t felt 100 per cent for two or three years, but put it down to stress. Now I think it must have been the diabetes.”
It was a wake-up call for the 20-stone father-of-six, who had spent years drinking beer and overeating, and he decided to take action.
He said: “Coming off that horse was a blessing in disguise. I was let off lightly compared to what could have happened. I think I would have had a heart attack or be injecting insulin if I hadn’t done anything.”
He thoroughly researched his condition and discovered extreme exercise could help correct his sugar levels. He started doing a lot of cycling and the weight began to drop off. Douglas was happy to be taken off his medication in June and be allowed to control his diabetes through diet only.
In six months, Douglas, who owns Leverington business Whizzy Wheels, lost almost eight stones, dropping from 20 stones 4 pounds to 12 stones 12 pounds.
He has a busy training schedule that sees him getting up at 5am to fit his exercise in around work, but in spite of all the extra energy he is expending, Douglas feels better than ever.
“I feel like I’m 15 again,” he said. “If I knew how I would feel, I would have become a fitness fanatic years ago.
“Life is easier, stress is easier to deal with. I’m just a totally different person.”
Douglas is putting his exercise to good use and has decided to raise money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.
He is preparing to take on the Windsor Triathlon on June 12 – consisting of a 1.5km swim, 40km cycle ride and 10km run – and the London Triathlon on July 30 and 31. He also has three large bike rides and three more triathlons lined up.
“I’ve lost various family members to cancer, especially my Nan who I was very close to, and my Dad is now undergoing treatment for cancer for the second time.
“It is a very nasty disease – the disease I have is controllable, cancer is not.”
Douglas is very grateful for the support he has received from wife Suzanne, although he has not yet managed to persuade her to join him in his fitness sessions.
The whole family has noticed a big difference in her husband.
Suzanne said: “He had dreadful mood swings before, but within ten days of being on the tablets, there was a massive change. It has made a dramatic change for us in a short space of time.
“He’s now a more sensible person and his outlook on life has changed.”
Although Douglas will have to control his diabetes for the rest of his life, he has taken a positive attitude and wants more people with diabetes to do the same.
“I will be happy if I can inspire just two people to do something while they’ve got a disease they can do something about.”
Douglas would love to raise £1,000 for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research and has already raised over £200 in sponsorship. Anyone who wants to donate can take money into Whizzy Wheels, in Church Road, Leverington.