Ten years ago, actor Anthony Fridjhon found out he had Type 2 diabetes. But after losing 10kgs, he’s reversed the condition and is living a healthier, happier life. This is his story:
Bad habits: Anthony loved nothing more than foamed cream and sugar in his coffee. “I’d just bought a coffee machine and I’d put spoonfuls of sugar in each cup. I’d drink up to 10 cups of tea in a day and add two spoons of sugar to each. I also loved Coca Cola,” he says.
I’d put on a lot of abdominal weight
Telltale signs: Anthony says he was constantly thirsty and tired. “I’d put on a lot of abdominal weight, so I was also suffering from back pain,” he says. He went to his doctor, who did a blood test, which came back positive for Type 2 diabetes.
Wakeup call: His immediate response after his diagnosis was “the horror of realising I could have no more sugar or Coke”. But he knew he had to take the diagnosis and treatment seriously: “It was a simple decision. I didn’t want to think about what lay ahead for me if I ignored my condition.”
A lifestyle turnaround: Anthony’s doctor prescribed Glucophage, which helps control blood sugar levels, and recommended a weight-loss diet plan. Changing his dietary habits was easier than he expected. “I started using sweeteners in my coffee and tea and cut out the Coke. I lost 10kgs over about 7 months. Today I find I don’t miss those spoonfuls of sugar,” says Anthony.
Reversing diabetes: By taking these steps, Anthony reversed his diabetes diagnosis. “If you take things seriously and lose the weight, you can lose the condition. Still, even though I changed my lifestyle, I accept that I am a candidate for diabetes for as long as I live, and that’s it.”
Staying healthy: Anthony eats less meat these days, and a lot more vegetables. “I used to enjoy big man-size steaks, but I’ve gone off big portions of meat. I eat a lot of veggies and salads,” he says. Now and then Anthony allows himself a sweet treat or glass of Coke, but sugar has been cut from his daily life. He admits he’s not very active. “But I’m 75, so I think I can be forgiven,” he laughs.
- Eat sensibly and in moderation and avoid sugar, even in processed foods
- Listen to your body. If you’re feeling exhausted all the time, get checked out
- Don’t rely on Google to figure out what’s wrong with you. Let the doctor do blood tests
Anthony had a good outcome because he got tested and took action. Type 2 diabetes can be avoided and even reversed with the correct diet and exercise programme. If you’re concerned, speak to your doctor about a blood test. For more information and support for sufferers and their families, go to Diabetes SA.