Watching the extraordinary documentary ‘Fixing Dad’ that follows a family of three – dad and his two sons, demonstrated how great team work and the right mental attitude paid off.
The programme centres on two sons, both filmmakers, putting a plan together to help their dad control his diabetes amongst other things. Their dad went one step better. He reversed his diabetes. Something I didn’t think was possible.
Fighting diabetes to get fit fast
Geoff Whitington weighed 19 stone. He had advanced Type 2 diabetes. He also had Atrial Fibrillation (AF) – an irregular heart beat. AF is the leading cause of strokes. Common causes include excess alcohol. Geoff drank heavily and ate badly too.
He had dangerously high blood pressure (over 200 bpm) and high cholesterol.
Sadly I see this in many of my clients. Whether I am doing my personal training in Bracknell, Ascot, Slough or Windsor, diabetes is real and is slowly becoming the UK’s biggest silent killer.
There are so many ways to get fit and get fit quick. This is what this programme promotes brilliantly. The range of activities we can do to feel great and achieve our goals. It is not about running marathons!
The key is trying so many different things if you’re not sure what floats your boat and finding what you enjoy the most.
Your dad is a hero, a super hero
Geoff had many other health challenges. However, he remains an absolute hero to his two sons, Ian and Anthony. They are amazing sons.
He works night shifts which affects his metabolism, presumably slowing it down when he should be resting. He had diabetic ulcers and Charcots foot. He was also on warfarin to thin his blood.
Fitness, Nutrition and Goals
The documentary is brilliant for so many reasons. It’s believable. Beautifully narrated, imaginative, immersive and a fly on the wall doc that captures the emotion of fighting disease and fixing our lifestyles.
Interviewing one doctor, a specialist in diabetes summed it all up for me. Type 2 diabetes is more complicated than Type 1. Type 2 can lead to chronic levels of insulin (the body cannot produce enough insulin to counteract the sugar we put into our blood stream) and worse case can lead to cancer, heart attacks and impotence. More on this later.
The key is about reducing your refined sugars. Your carbohydrate intake. I partly agree with this. Carbohydrate gets a rough ride as we need to eat 50% of CHO to give us plenty of energy. This includes energy to exercise at intensive levels. I do agree we eat too much ‘sugar’ based carbs.
This is why I have changed the type of carbohydrates I eat too. I’m not diabetic myself but aware certain carbs are high in sugar. Bread is one of them. I have almost cut this out of my diet. I prefer wholemeal wraps. Always choose wholemeal over white!
More steamed green vegetables and less jacket potatoes, white rice and pastas if you eat these regularly. There is so much sugar in alcohol too which is why Geoff had to give up the booze.
Geoff needed goals and that’s what the three of them created. Making his own meals, teaching himself to cook and training for RideLondon 100. He completed this mammoth biking event in 2014, when the heavens opened up, all day. This was the year I did it too. Go Geoff.
Geoff made huge sacrifices. Less time down the pub and more time on the bike. He also gave boxing, parachuting, yoga and white water rafting a go. Geoff you rock. You’re a true hero and legend.
Reversing his Type 2 diabetes
Just as you think Geoff is making huge progress, he discovers he has kidney cancer. We mentioned this could happen with a lifestyle likes his. Well this was real. Geoff had cancer. Thankfully it was caught earlier and Geoff made a full recovery and is now an ambassador for Diabetes UK.
Just a few extra pounds can cause Diabetes. Obesity may be an epidemic but so is diabetes and you don’t have to be obese to have diabetes.
Geoff was not going to be part of the so called ‘national collapse in will power’ brigade. Geoff knew diabetes could be reversed.
There are 3.5 million people in the UK living with diabetes. Geoff was one of the few that believed in himself and became diabetes free. Whilst there needs to be more regulation, politicians know a lot of work lies ahead. The organisations that promote sugary foods maybe to blamed but how do you expect your pension to grow if we tax these sugar giants even more?
Maybe will power, the choices you make, two sons, hero status needs to be the focus to fight this disease or reverse it for good.