W Bro Mike Gerschel SLGR shares a personal experience.
About two years ago I was not in good shape. Too many Lodge meals and too little exercise, plus my own homemade bread and lots of carbs, had seen my weight increase to 15st 8lbs (99kgs) and my waist to 44ins (111cms). I was running out of breath just doing my shoes up, constantly tired and the excess weight was causing havoc with my knees and ankles! My bi-annual blood screens showed my HbA1c (a measure of your proneness to diabetes) was quite high, and my BMI (Body Mass Index) was officially categorised as Obese. Another pointer was that the fat I was carrying was mostly around my waist. Out of the blue, my GP signed me up to an NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme entitled “A Healthier You”.

In due course, a letter arrived inviting me to make an appointment where, after being interviewed by a doctor, measured and yet another blood sample given, I received an invite to attend a course of seven two-hour fortnightly sessions at a local sports club.

I duly attended and was confronted by about 20 other people of all ages, shapes and sizes – some who were already Type 2 diabetics, and others who were pre-diabetic like me. We were presented with an illustrated textbook on nutrition, a record book and spent the next 7 sessions receiving a very thorough, interesting and informative education. Of course, we were weighed and measured at each session.

The course went through not only the biomechanics of diabetes and its relationship to blood sugar and insulin production, but also why we don’t need as many carbohydrates as an external food source – particularly not starchy carbs. During the course there was also an introduction to exercise, commencing from being seated to more energetic routines including the use of resistance bands. After the course there were also three quarterly one-to-one follow up sessions.

The results were astonishing. It is not a diet, but more of an adjustment of your attitude to food and nutrition. Out went the homemade bread and in came balanced meals, sensible meat and dairy portions, lots of veg, pulses, legume and non-fattening tummy fillers. The toughest part was switching from beer to gin and slims or red wine – less carbs than white.
Over these last two years I have gradually dropped my weight to 13st 2lbs (84kgs), my waist is down to below 36 ins (91cms) and most importantly my BMI is now mid-range overweight – still some way to go, but it is going down! And at no time did I feel deprived of food or endure hunger.

Now, in these Covid infected times, I am delighted to see that the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme is available online to all those at risk of Type 2 diabetes, including your friends, family and colleagues. As mentioned previously, a blood test was needed, but now all that is required is to spend two minutes completing the “Know your risk” tool which is available via the link below. If you have a score of 16+ you are eligible for the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (https://preventing-diabetes.co.uk/know-your-risk-dtc/)

So, if you’re overweight, or simply want to improve your health and vitality, you need to check this out. Type 2 diabetes, which can lead to many unpleasant life changing illnesses, including heart attacks, can be reversed before it becomes established.
Brethren it’s up to you!

This article is reproduced with kind permission of “Mark in Time”, the Hertfordshire Mark Master Masons monthly magazine.


This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 44 April 2020 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.

Read more articles in the Arena Issue 44.