My Healthy Lifestyle Lie: I Was So Ashamed About Misleading My Doctor That I Lost 7 Stone

Sitting in his doctors surgery for his regular diabetes check-up, John Batterbee breezily explained how he had his condition under control.

The only problem was that his tale of a healthy lifestyle was a pack of lies.

One glance at Johns medical notes by his doctor revealed a different picture. And as soon as John had finished talking, his GP looked at him intently.

What followed startled John to his core.

His doctor called him a liar, saying that if he was telling the truth then he would not still be suffering from type 2 diabetes.

As he listened, 21st John felt ashamed. But it was also the wake-up call that he needed.

More than three years on, the 5ft 10in dad-of-one has lost 6st 7lb and weighs 14st 5lb.

It was a massive eye-opener and as I sat there I didnt know whether to laugh or cry, says John, 40, of Norwich, who is married to Sharon, 45, and has a 13-year-old son, Ethan.

I felt embarrassed because the doctor knew I was lying, but it was also a relief to be given a big dose of reality.

“I remember how he listened to me and began to snigger.

“He said, Mr Batterbee, Im not calling you a liar, but youre a liar! Youve described to me the perfect way to control diabetes but youre clearly overweight and not leading a healthy lifestyle.

“Do you want to slowly kill yourself or do you want me to help you get better?

John had type 2 diabetes, one of a raft of health worries he had developed along with high blood pressure and a sleep disorder that can all be caused by obesity.

I realised I needed to slim down or Id end up dead, he says.

If I didnt do something Id leave Ethan without a dad and Sharon without a husband.

Keeping his weight under control had been a lifelong problem for John, who runs his own cleaning business.

As a child, he was the chubbiest lad in the class, which wasnt helped by the fact his dad worked for an ice cream firm.

In his early teens and 20s he became a keen bodybuilder, but he often relied on crash diets.

He was down to 14st when he married Sharon in 1996, but by the time they had Ethan three years later, he had ballooned to 18st.

Happy: John with his family

When I first met Sharon I was very fit from all my bodybuilding but then my muscles turned to flab as I let it slip.

“We were happy and she never got on to me about my weight.

“But looking back, I think she became very worried when my size began affecting my health.

Setting up his business only compounded the problem as the early starts and long days meant he relied upon pasties, pies and crisps to give him a quick boost.

I would start my day with a big fry-up at a cafe and later munch on crisps or chocolate because I did busy days of physical work and thought I needed it.

“But the truth was I was eating far too much.

In late 2002 and weighing 18st, John was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

He also began suffering from sleep apnoea, a condition that stops a sufferer breathing while they sleep.

I was always tired and even fell asleep mid conversation.

“After it was diagnosed, I needed to wear an oxygen mask in bed, which made me look like Darth Vader.

Even John was shocked by the state of his own health.

I was only in my 30s but I didnt have the energy to play with Ethan for long and everything was a huge effort, he says.

At my check-ups Id see much older people in the waiting room and I felt ashamed.

“But I was in denial. I knew losing weight would help, but I told myself it wasnt that serious.

In October 2009, John went for the diabetes check-up that had such a big impact on him.

I was in a rush, says John. I told the doctor a load of rubbish about what a healthy life I was supposedly leading.

The doctor confronted him and they discussed Johns options. Having already researched gastric bypasses, he said he wanted one.

As it would be a few months before he would see experts to discuss the NHS procedure, he was advised to demonstrate he could control his eating by losing weight.

Luckily, one of my customers was Hayley Hooper, a Slimming World consultant, says John.

She urged me to go to her class. She wasnt overweight and I assumed she didnt understand what it was like being fat. As soon as I found out shed lost 4st, I knew she could help.

In January 2010, John went along alone to his first class. It was daunting and I thought I would be humiliated.

“But I got the biggest welcome of my life and there were a couple of other blokes there too. I remember being told I was 20st 5lb. I was shocked.

Before: At 18 stone but John actually weighed 21 stone at one point

He poured over the Slimming World leaflets, working out what he could and couldnt eat.

Sharon, who was a good cook, was eager to help and he lost 22lb in his first month. His early success spurred him on.

Often I tweaked things. I still started the day with a fry-up but the bacon was cooked on a griddle, the mushrooms dry-fried and I had a scrambled egg rather than a fried one.

We threw out our deep-fat fryer and ate fewer takeaways. I had loads more fruit and vegetables.

“Id crunch my way through a carrot. Sometimes Id eat eight grapefruits during a week and fresh pineapples.

The weight fell off. Sharon, who lost several pounds as well, joked it was like having a new husband.

One of my customers didnt recognise me when I was cleaning his windows. He thought I was a burglar. I had to take my cap off and prove it was me, he says.

His health worries melted away too.

I was still on the list to have a gastric bypass operation, but at my next appointment Id lost 3st and by July 2010 Id lost 5st.

“After talking to experts, I decided I didnt need the surgery.

John stopped wearing the oxygen mask at night, he didnt need his diabetes medication and his blood pressure also became normal.

I had so much energy and my confidence grew too, he says.

John took up running and by February last year he had lost 7st and his weight was down to 13st 5lb.

But after reaching his goal, he has stabilised at a more comfortable 14st 5lb.

I really do feel like a different person. When I see old pictures of myself at my biggest I cringe at how huge I got, John says.

My only regret is that when I was signed off at the diabetes clinic, I never had the chance to see the doctor who woke me up to face reality.

“Id love to say thank you to the person who saved my life.

To find your nearest Slimming World group please call 0844 897 8000 or go to[1]


  1. ^ (

Original Story Here


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  1. Reply

    How Can I Keep Up My Healthy Lifestyle Over Easter? I have been trying to keep a healthy lifestyle, build fitness and lose a little fat. But I am surrounded by Easter treats, mum has been baking loads, have Easter eggs from family and my bf wants to get me an Easter egg too. Don’t get me wrong, I love how sweet everyone is being, but all of this will just make me I’ll. What should I do?

      • HealthNut
      • January 7, 2013

      If you’d like me to be honest, I think that the healthiest lifestyles include enjoying things. So every now and then, let go of the fact that “something will make me fat” and enjoy it. I think that often as people we give up a large part of living just to stay skinny. I used to be that way, and as much as I told myself it was worth it, it really wasn’t. Enjoy it, and don’t go on a guilt trip over it.

      That being said, there are several things you can do to avoid extra treats. Stay away from the kitchen as much as possible, as well as where things are being served. When you get things, get just a small bit. I’ve noticed that with a lot of sweetbreads and cakes and such, a very thin slice takes just as long to eat as a thick one and is usually just as satisfying. If not, you can even get a second (which, sliced thinly enough, is still smaller than the thick slices would be). Another trick I’ve learned is “sharing”–if it is a roll or whatever, just eat half of it and “share” the other half with someone else (maybe someone else who either just wants half, or someone who wants more than one).

      Enjoy Easter!

    • Bob
    • January 7, 2013

    What Are Some Healthy Lifestyle Changes To Make? So I’ve started drinking more water. I drink Green, White, and Chai tea. I also bought the stainless steel water bottle, and I bike for about 20-30 minutes a day. I consider these healthy lifestyle changes. I was wondering if you could provide more suggestions along these lines.

      • HealthNut
      • January 7, 2013

      There are 5 elements in a healthy lifestyle.

      1. food
      2. exercise
      3. sleep
      4. happiness
      5. extra healthy things

      1. Food, we don’t really know that much about nutrition, we do know a blanced diet, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables is good for you. Meat is pretty good, if it is lean and not eaten too often….ideally I might eat meat once or twice a week. A good healthy diet can include some indulgences.
      2. Exercise, you should do some. Though I don’t recommend routine exercise, cycle 2 or 3 times a week, join a social sports club, eg, tennis, go hiking on weekends, swimming is one of the best exercises for the whole body. If you vary your exercise, then you will enjoy it more and do more.
      3. Sleep. A lot of evidence says if you don’t get enough sleep you will have problems, eat more, metabolise your food differently and die young.
      4. Be happy, enjoy your life. Drink dance, eat chocolate, but not all day, everyday.
      5. Then there are all the little extras. eg, green tea (there is no such things as Chai tea….chai means tea, it is an indian word derived from the chinese word Cha, meaning tea), red wine, brocollie and beetroot, lots of things than can boost your body, ginger, garlice and hundreds of other things that you can add to your diet to make things a little better.

      Don’t obsess, don’t live by a book or a routine, just be healthy.

  2. Reply

    What Can Anyone Do To Promote A Healthy Lifestyle? What can institutions such as schools do and what can individuals do?
    What can the government put in place?
    What is the reason for the fact not a lot of people care about having a healthy lifestyle anymore?

      • HealthNut
      • January 7, 2013

      Schools can replace all or most of the canteen food with healthy options so they could replace chicken burger with tuna salad for example. Individuals can aim to eat 5 portions of fruit and veg a day and exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. The government can put a higher price up on junk food, therefore tempting more people to buy healthy food as it would become cheaper than it is now.

      The reason why people don’t care about a healthy lifestyle, is that junk food like burger and chips is quick and a convenience, as healthy meals takes time to prepare. Same with exercise maybe being time consuming and they have a busy schedule to be able to fit it all in.

  3. Reply

    How Do You Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle? Please comment on your suggestions to maintain a healthy lifestyle, add any concerns or issues you have concerning you’re healt, and i’ll be happy to educate you further.

      • HealthNut
      • January 7, 2013

      I eat healthy – vegetables, fruit, lots of water, minimal sugar consumption, etc.
      I don’t smoke.
      I don’t drink in excess.
      I don’t do drugs.
      I exercise at least twice a week.
      I try to get enough sleep every night (minimum of 7 hours).

  4. Reply

    How Do You Stay Commited To Your Healthy Lifestyle? I’m trying have a healthy lifestyle and lose weight but i’m finding it hard to commit.

      • HealthNut
      • January 7, 2013

      Are you sure you want to lose weight? If this a true desire, give it two weeks, and then asses how you feel. If you are eating healthy and exercises you will feel the difference, then if you go back to living unhealthfully you will be able to tell the change in how you feel, then you should be able to make an easy desicion.

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