Aelwen’s life was a routine of bad eating, bad health, a mountain of medication and weekly visits to the GP… and then things got really bad. Read about her amazing journey, and how The Harcombe Diet has changed her life in nine months.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m Aelwen: a 34-year old mum, care worker and book lover. I live in west Wales with my partner Tony, my daughter and two cats.
Over the last 10 years weight has been going up steadily. I did try all the usual diets – Weight Watchers, Slimming World, Atkins… but nothing really clicked or made sense, so I never stuck to them for longer than a month.
Then things changed…
My health deteriorated. It started with low immunity, so I started catching anything that was going (sometimes twice!).
My joints and muscles were painful, mostly in my hands. I remember having to leave my night shift in a care home at 3am on New Year’s Day morning a few years ago, as I was struggling to open and close my hand.
It got worse over the next two years, until that moment in April 2014 when I caught a virus. This was to herald the start of the worst.
The virus left me feeling awful, and then came the muscle twitches… then the numbness. My GP was stumped.
If that wasn’t enough, then came my urinary tract infections! Now I had suffered with these since my teens, but this was on a different level.
For five months, I was dealing with all health issues, feeling awful, with no energy, and generally ‘bleurgh’, with GP appointments nearly every week.
And then things really went downhill!
What was the final straw to taking control?
It was just another day in September 2014, but my left eye wasn’t focussing properly. I was sat there relaxing on the sofa with a cup of coffee and BANG! It felt as if someone had hit me on the back of the head.
It took my breath away but was gone nearly as soon as it came. I didn’t mention it to my other half when he came home, but my vision just got worse and worse, so off we went to A&E!
By the time we were seen by a nurse, the fingers on my left hand were numb. Then the left had side of my face went numb.
A long story short: after an overnight admission and a mass of tests, the diagnosis was ‘severe migraines’… and an x-ray that showed I may have a degenerative spinal condition.
The consultant’s advice was to change my diet, lifestyle, exercise more …and take water tablets and betta blockers. I was 33, felt like an ill old woman, and some pharmacist was going to retire off the amount of drugs I was taking.
I knew – just knew – that losing weight wasn’t going to help at all, but decided that I give it a go just to prove the consultant wrong…
And so we rolled into 2015, and this is where my journey to a new life begins…
How and when did you find us?
It was January 2015 and I’d booked into some local yoga classes. The fabulous Ellen at ‘Healthaspire’ nutrition centre in Milford Haven ran classes about The Harcombe Diet, so I booked into those too.
From the first moments listening to Ellen describing this diet, it made sense! Yes, it was a bit of a detox, but not as drastic as I imagined I survived the first week, and lost 8lb!
By the end of January, I was a clothes size smaller. My energy was on the up too.
Then I had my first period for months. And – could this be happening? – was I actually feeling a little bit better?
What has been your biggest benefit to you getting to your current weight?
Oh where to start…!
Yes, I’m 43lbs lighter and 3 dress sizes down and feeling good, but the great news is all about my general health: I can officially say I am not on ANY medication!
Migraines? What migraines? They’ve gone too. The energy I have is amazing, and I can play with my daughter and not feel shattered all the time.
I’ve learned that my biggest enemy has been candida, and it explains away so many of the symptoms I suffered for years. I am now well on the way to kicking its butt!
So I’m lighter, healthier, far happier… and have even started my own group with support from Ellen and Zoe!
I’ve also convinced my parents to start their own journey along the diet. My dad is a type 2 diabetic, and has had to reduce his tablets. Hopefully, he will soon control his diabetes purely by diet alone.
Mum has also seen her cholesterol go down from 7.5 to 4.5 and, for the first time in years, has a normal blood pressure after suffering with it being high.
What an amazing year 2015 is turning into, and it can only get better.
Do you have any advice for our readers?
My advice would be, stick to it. Don’t beat yourself up if you fall off the wagon. And stick to it for Phase 1… that’s the hardest bit. Once you’ve done that, it’s onwards and downwards for the scales and dress sizes!