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Maryse Chapman's story

"I'm Sri Lankan. Here's how giving up rice saved my life." ~ Maryse's story

Weight loss: N/A
HbA1c:
6.1 down to 5.8
In Remission: 
Yes

Sri Lankan-born Maryse had a happy childhood, chequered with moments of angst - both her parents had type 2 diabetes and were often sick. There were no glucometers; she vividly remembers her mother and father testing their blood sugar levels by diluting urine samples in vials with Benedict’s solution and placing them over the hob flame. Both her parents would eventually succumb to uncontrolled type 2 diabetes complications, as did her paternal grandmother. 

After developing gestational diabetes, Maryse was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at age 35. It felt like a death sentence; then she saw Defeat Diabetes founder Dr Peter Brukner on TV, and something remarkable happened. 

“I developed gestational diabetes in my last pregnancy. Despite rigidly following the dietary guidelines, drinking skim milk, choosing very low fat food, and eating plenty of carbohydrates, my gestational diabetes was out of control. Even though I was injecting myself with insulin twice a day, my blood sugar levels kept fluctuating dangerously. When my daughter was born, she was tiny, and her blood sugar was very low.

“When I got the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes at 35, I was in denial. I thought if I ignored it and continued to follow the standard dietary advice, I would be able to overcome it, but that didn’t happen. I became paranoid about saturated fat because I was made to believe that it caused diabetes and heart disease. I didn’t realise at the time that I was starving my brain and body of vital nutrients and that I was actually harming myself by eating copious amounts of carbs. I was hungry all the time. I was always opening the pantry door to see what I could eat, and couldn’t leave the house without a snack in my bag in case I got peckish. I was constantly ‘hangry’. I was a nightmare to live with!

“I was getting sicker and sicker with type 2 diabetes complications. Not only was my concentration waning, but my cholesterol was sky-high, and I was prescribed a statin. Later, I developed early breast cancer (thankfully, I am in remission), and this led to a diagnosis of pericarditis (inflammation of the lining of the heart). I was also told that I had osteoporosis and was prescribed a bi-annual injection. I had chronic asthma and severe chest pain (as a result of acid reflux), which saw me in the emergency room many times. I was truly suffering, not only with all these diseases but also with the numerous side effects of all the medication I was on. I felt hopeless. 

“Then, out of the blue, my beloved brother died of a heart attack at age 64 as a consequence of uncontrolled type 2 diabetes.

“This event really spurred me on to take control of my diabetes. I started researching online and came across Nina Teicholz’s book, "The Big Fat Surprise", which disputes everything we’ve been told about saturated fat. Low fat products (often laden with sugar), ultra-processed foods and seed oils are the actual culprits that keep us obese and sick. 

“My big ‘aha!’ moment came when I saw Defeat Diabetes founder Dr Peter Brukner on TV. He explained how carbs turn into sugar in our bloodstream and how detrimental they are for type 2 diabetics. I was so amazed that it prompted me to buy his book "A Fat Lot Of Good". I could not believe that I had been hoodwinked for so long! I was suffering for decades, running around like a headless chook, trying to understand this disease, and now everything made sense. I thought, ‘This is the information I’ve been searching for for 30 years!’. 

“I joined the Defeat Diabetes Low Carb Program in October 2022, and I found the videos, lessons and webinars inspiring and incredibly valuable. Dr Paul Mason opened my eyes to the power of protein, healthy fat and the detrimental effects of seed oils. 

“Through the Defeat Diabetes health professional directory, I found their dietitian Nicole Moore and Dr Laureen Lawlor-Smith, a metabolic specialist, who works with her. Having health professionals like them who endeavour to heal you is a blessing.

“Since I launched my low carb journey with the support of Defeat Diabetes and the expert care and guidance of my new health professionals, I haven’t looked back. I learned the principles of the Defeat Diabetes way of eating: lots of protein and healthy saturated fats like butter, ghee and coconut oil. Soon, I went from being hungry all the time to eating twice a day and relishing my nourishing meals. I was doing so well that Dr Laureen stopped all my medication.

“On 8th August 2023 (my dad’s birthday), I received the news I had been waiting to hear for 30 years: I was in diabetes remission. I had defeated diabetes! 

“Some people of Asian ethnicity might dismiss a low carb lifestyle as being too hard, my family members included. It is challenging when rice, flour and sugary products are a major part of our culture. I understand their perspective, but low carb doesn’t have to be complicated. There are substitutes. For example, in the morning, I usually have two coffees with cream, and for brunch, I have eggs, bacon, cheese, lots of avo and a Greek salad, or leftovers from the previous night’s dinner. I have good quality meat or seafood for dinner and occasionally a low carb naan. During the day, I drink plenty of water and enjoy a cup of black or green tea. My desserts are full-fat Greek yoghurt with a few berries or a small piece of 90% dark chocolate. I also indulge in homemade ice cream made with pure cream, lots of eggs and a few crushed berries thrown in - my meals have never been tastier!

“My low carb lifestyle and daily one-hour walk have restored my zest for life. I love hanging out with my two active grandsons, aged 7 and 5 years. My acid reflux, asthma and hay fever have all ceased. I am seldom stressed, anxious or depressed. No matter what life throws at me, I feel calm and in control. 

“If you have type 2 diabetes, you’re told you’re headed for a life of suffering. Why would you want that for a momentary sugar and carb dopamine hit? At the end of the day, it’s just not worth it.

“As Dr Paul Mason says: “You may be loaded with a bullet, but it’s up to you to pull the trigger.”

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