A man has lost more than four stone in three months on a new expert-created diet named after Nessie.
Paul Pritchard has been making his own milkshakes and getting creative in the kitchen with all-veggie meals as part of the Extreme Nessie Diet; a strict low-calorie regime that sees slimmers consume between 600 and 800 calories a day.
Volunteers with pre-diabetes or newly diagnosed Type 2 are taking part in a study conducted by the University of the Highlands and Islands to prove weight loss can help reverse or prevent the condition.
The 65-year-old was diagnosed last year after becoming a full-time carer for his wife who has arthritis and he decided to take action.
“I’ve always been well overweight, but I decided I had to sort myself out to look after her,” he said.
Paul has been on the diet for three months, drinking shakes made with semi-skimmed milk, milk powder, berries and zero-calorie flavoured syrups.
A keen foodie, Paul has also turned his hand to creating tasty all-veggie meals including vegan haggis, Jollof cauliflower rice and soups.
“I feel way better,” he said. “I’m sleeping, I have more energy and I feel mentally better. The whole thing is just working well.
“What appealed to me is that you can do it yourself rather than spending a lot of money. There are lots of businesses selling meal packages for £60 and £70 a week – this is proof you don’t need all that. It’s simple and accessible.”
The diet is going well for Paul so far. His blood-glucose level has dropped and his diabetes is now under control.
He has even cut back from taking nine different types of medication to just three, and hopes to reduce it to just one pill in the coming months.
Soon, he will be able to reintroduce protein and some carbohydrates to make his diet more sustainable long-term.
He added: “You get to be a bit creative with the meals. If it’s boring you won’t stay on it.
“I love food. I’ll go back to make my own smoked salmon and things, but what it has done is help me look differently at how we eat in the evenings. We’ll keep carbs like bread and potatoes to the weekends.”
‘Hard to live healthily’
Diabetes specialist nurse Charlotte Heppinstall developed the Extreme Nessie Diet at the Highland Diabetes Institute.
She created the regime to encourage rapid weight loss for remission or prevention of diabetes and to encourage long-term healthy eating behaviours.
The diet focuses on using simple, nutritionally complete milkshakes, vitamin supplements and vegetable-packed meals.
“The chewing and eating element is still important to have some kind of diet normality,” she added.
“We live in an obesogenic environment. There is food all around us and inequity in our health and social problems. It is really hard to lose weight and have a healthy life.
“We try to promote self-care and get away from blame and judgement, being too hard on ourselves. It’s more about ‘how can I nurture and care for myself long-term?’.”
Participants are being monitored by researchers over several months to measure weight loss, blood-sugar levels and are asked to fill in regular questionnaires throughout the study.
Professor Sandra McRury, chair of clinical diabetes at UHI, said: “The diet gives people control and they can get imaginative with what fruit and veg they use. There are no commercial products, just supermarket ingredients.
“Twelve weeks can be quite hard-going but these are motivated individuals. Eventually there will be a phased return to eating more.
“They’ve got on pretty well so far. They’re seeing the results, have more energy and a better quality of life.”