Successful Diabetes

Successful Diabetes

Diabetes Manual Complete

“When first diagnosed with diabetes 2, I was in a state of shock. I thought my life would never be the same again and would be dominated by this condition.

On receipt of the manual, I really did not know what to expect. I thought it would be full of jargon and unrealistic suggested changes to my life. How wrong I was. From page one it was extremely easy to read and understandable. It was written in such a way that I felt able to follow and use the suggestions without feeling alarmed. The main thing I came to realise was that I could manage this condition and the success of doing so was mostly down to me and what I was prepared to do to control it.

Although the case studies did not directly relate to my life style, that did not take away the ability to find them interesting, informative and adaptable to my life. What they did show was no matter your circumstances you could control the condition.

The six stages enabled me to think through each one carefully so that I could consider how they affected me. The explanation of the various types of medication and symptoms was also useful - what to look out for in your daily life, trigger points which would give a negative response to glucose levels etc. Even if my medication had to be increased or changed over time I did not feel too alarmed.

Although my condition is now invariably below 7 and a recent Hba1c reading was 6.6, I do not intend becoming complacent. Knowing the manual is there to answer any future questions and worries I may have is very reassuring”

(Val, Woking, 2014)


“I can't speak highly enough of my experience with using the successful diabetes manual with the support of Rosie Walker. I rapidly went from being shocked, angry, uninformed, frightened and feeling out of control to actively managing my condition, using the information provided to make my own choices and also do further research, feeling healthier and more positive than I have for a long time. I spent a few weeks thinking of nothing but diabetes ... but now it is just part of who I am, something I need to be aware of and in control of but not afraid of.

The manual is clear, very readable but never patronising. It is something I will go back to whenever I need reminders. Thank you, Rosie, for all the positive support .... just when I needed it"  

(Carole, Hastings, 2015)


'My Fitness Pal' website - January 2015

Welcome to our all-new monthly spotlight on an organisation or resource that can help us all in our quest for better health!

The January spotlight's on......The 'My Fitness Pal' website

Read on for all the details and/or download your personal copy here

What is it?

My Fitness Pal (MFP to its friends) is a free online food and activity tracker, which, as the name suggests, aims to help people to lose weight and become fitter.  You set your own weight and / or fitness goals, which it then converts to daily calorie and exercise recommendations. Then you simply add your daily activity and food intake and it automatically makes the calculations, so you can see your progress! 

There’s a vast, calorie-counted foods and activity catalogue, and you can store your regular foods, meals and activities, which makes it very easy to be exact about tracking these. The site also summarises your progress, either publicly or privately, according to your wishes. It has a friendly and supportive, rather than bossy or critical, approach and encourages you to make your own use of all that it has available.

For support from others as well as self-help, there are blogs, success stories, forums and communities, where MFP members can meet, share and compare their progress – or lack of it! – so as to keep motivated. 

It’s an American site, run by a fitness-orientated company, which encourages its employees to ‘walk the walk’ of healthy lifestyle. They’re so concerned about service that their support department styles itself ‘The Customer Happiness Team’!  However, the site runs in different languages and can be customised to the country of use (for example in terms of weights and measures). 

My Fitness Pal seems dedicated to excellence and, importantly, has both volunteer and staff moderators for the discussion forums, which also have prominent ‘terms of use’ rules.  The company are constantly adding new ways to make it easier to use the site and recently have launched several Apps in order to make continuous tracking on a mobile device even easier.

How can it help me with living with diabetes?

Maintaining your ‘fighting weight’ is one important dimension of managing diabetes of any type.  Another is taking regular, aerobic activity.  Both have been shown to help prevent long-term complications and other health conditions. which in turn can make diabetes more difficult to live with. This site not only helps with keeping an eye on food and exercise, but also gives reward (in the form of feedback) for doing so – both really important to prevent ‘sliding’ away from weight and fitness goals.

Losing weight is one of the most difficult aspects of life in general but in particular, it’s often the first recommendation on being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Many people struggle to succeed and My Fitness Pal offers a really quick, easy, attractively-presented way to help. 

Logging your food intake is well known to be a predictor of success in losing weight and the success stories the site features, can also help you stay motivated. Your motivation is increased further by the option to share your progress on the well-laid out discussion forum. 

Best of all, My Fitness Pal is free, so you can, as the site itself says ‘stop wasting money on other dieting programs’!

How can it help me with working with diabetes?

Most obviously, you can talk about the site to the people  with diabetes whom you meet in your clinics and education sessions and encourage them to give it a try if they are looking to lose weight or become fitter.  This will not only help them to help themselves in a very practical way, but also reassure you that they are following a reliable source of support.

And…as the recent NHS ‘Forward View into Action’ implementation programme has specified, it’s not just people with diabetes who need to look after their weight, activity and general health and who sometimes struggle to do this!  These are universal experiences for us all, including health care staff, so if you are looking to improve your own eating and activity habits and / or tend to be short on staying power or motivation, this could be the site for you!

Logging your progress and sharing the ups and downs with others are equally effective in losing weight or getting fitter, for those without diabetes.  And after all, if you think this site will be good for the people with diabetes you see, it makes sense to try it out yourself - doesn’t it?!

Our 3 top reasons to give My Fitness Pal a try

 1.    It uses well-known techniques for success in losing weight, made easy and accessible

2.    It lets you use its resources your way, while offering loads of support from the company and other members

3.    It’s free!

Any down sides?

Only a couple of very small things….

1.    The nutritional information about foods tends not to include fibre content, which would be a useful addition  

2.    Some of the feedback could be worded better – for example ‘(your name) has not visited for 3 days’ could possibly make a user feel guilty and demotivated. When you return, it might be better to translate this as ‘welcome back’!

That’s it for now! Hope you like our take on My Fitness Pal and watch out for another ‘Self Health Spotlight’ in February!


Rosie's Experience and Skills

Rosie Walker RN, BSc (Hons) Psychology, MA Education

Hello, let me introduce myself! Between 1985 and 2000, I had a long, happy and successful career as a diabetes specialist nurse, and feel privileged to have worked with, and in continuing to work with and learn from, some extraordinary professionals and people with diabetes.

I had the pleasure of working formally with Jill Rodgers from 2002, when we started our journey as 'In Balance Healthcare UK', with the shared vision of 'making a difference' in diabetes care and education from outside the NHS. Now, having developed my skills and qualifications further and amassed a huge amount of experience in psychology, counselling, empowerment and education, it feels like Successful Diabetes is 'home' for all our expertise. Following Jill leaving in December 2012, I'm delighted to be continuing to run the company, working with both Jill and other skilled associates when the need arises.

In addition to our books and the work I did in clinical posts working with adults and children in Ipswich and Romford, I've had some wonderful experiences and opportunities that have taught me a great deal. They include the following:

I was Assistant Head of the Diabetes Care Department at the British Diabetic Association (now Diabetes UK) from 1990 to 1992. This was the first time a diabetes specialist nurse had transferred from the NHS to Diabetes UK, so it was a bit of an experiment! A successful one all round as it turned out, and I have had close links with the organisation ever since. To our delight, Jill and I were for some years the preferred provider of Diabetes UK's volunteer training. This included helping service user representatives be better equipped for their roles and providing training for people with diabetes, including young people, to facilitate the 3D (Diabetes Diagnosis Discussion) programme to help others with diabetes.

I chaired the Royal College of Nursing Diabetes Nursing Forum from 1997 to 2001. It's vitally important to me that diabetes is seen as 'every nurse's business', and fulfilling this role was part of my commitment to making it happen. I led many initiatives and was involved in developing guidance for diabetes nursing in both adult and paediatric fields.

I gave the Janet Kinson Lecture in 2001, at the Diabetes UK Annual Professional Conference. This is an invited and elected lecture for nurses who have made an impact in improving diabetes education in the UK - what an honour!

I was the only nurse member of the External Reference Group of the Diabetes National Service Framework from 1999 to 2001. Again an honour, and hard work, and by bringing a nursing and empowerment perspective to the group, I made a difference to the standards which emerged.

I was an elected member of the Diabetes UK Advisory Council from 2004 to 2007. It was a brilliant experience and I feel proud to have made a contribution to policy development and the voice of nurses within Diabetes UK.

At the University of Warwick, I was the Course Director of the Certificate in Diabetes Care (CIDC) from 2003 to 2006, and also Course Director of Management of Diabetes in Hospital Clinical Areas from 2005 to 2007. These roles really helped me develop as an educationalist, giving me the opportunity to reflect on and develop my own beliefs and values about learning as well as adding to my knowledge and skills.

Along with other invited guests, I had the opportunity to share a story about my empowerment journey in The Art of Empowerment by Bob Anderson and Marti Funnell. This book is the guiding light of empowerment for both Jill and me, and to have been invited to share a story meant a lot. Seeing my story in print along with those of people around the world who also share the philosophy of empowerment continues to inspire me.

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