Classic car enthusiast restores his good health

“Thanks to Healthier You, this ‘old classic’ has got many more miles in him yet.”

For ex-stock car racer and classic car hobbyist Mark Harvey, his self-proclaimed “shocking diet” left him feeling a wreck. Tipping the scales at 119kg at his heaviest in 2019, Mark felt physically and mentally unwell, requiring time off from his job as a nurse at a special care baby unit. Thankfully, just four months into attending his local NHS diabetes prevention programme in Aldridge, Mark is motoring towards a much healthier future and has already lost a staggering 13kg.

“I’d put my health problems down to getting older,” said 54 year old Mark, “but when my blood tests revealed a high blood sugar reading, it gave me the scare I needed to sort myself out. With my nursing background, I am aware that Type 2 diabetes is a very serious health condition that can cause serious long-term health problems. My nan lost limbs from it and I knew I had to lose weight but could never manage it – I basically ate what I liked when I liked.”

With a HbA1c blood sugar reading of 47, Mark’s family history and weight made him eligible for the Healthier You NHS diabetes prevention programme. Run in Walsall by health services provider Ingeus, Healthier You is a lifestyle change programme, supporting people to maintain a healthy weight and be more active – proven aids in the battle against Type 2 diabetes. Mark’s blood sugar level has already reduced to 41 and he’s not stopping yet.

“I’ve set myself a target weight of 96kg and am confident of reaching it,” Mark continues. “I am king of the labels in our house now, looking for the hidden demons in food! I’ve cut out treats, including some alcohol, and try to walk at least 10,000 steps a day. I’ve lost two inches off my waist and feel so much better in myself. I have more energy and really don’t crave the type of food I used to eat. When I started the programme, I promised myself the biggest cake I could find if I hit target at the end, but actually I don’t want it now.”

Mark attends regular Healthier You sessions, held with Ingeus health educator Tom Brown at Aldridge Parish Church. The Ingeus programme covers core elements of getting healthy, staying healthy and living healthily, and Mark says he can’t fault the advice and encouragement he’s been given.

He concludes: “Tom’s knowledge is excellent, and he tweaks his suggestions to fit around my lifestyle. He’s full of useful ideas and never lectures. He’s helped me to put my health back into my own hands, so I have the long term health and energy to enjoy life to the full. I have three children and massively enjoy football and restoring classic cars with my son Jake. Thanks to Healthier You, this ‘old classic’ has got many more miles in him yet.”

If current trends persist one in 10 people will develop Type 2 diabetes by 2035. Nationally, over a quarter of a million people have been referred into the Healthier You NHS diabetes prevention programme so far. For more information visit www.stopdiabetes.co.uk.