#lowcarb behavioural change groups in Warrington

Through these groups you can reverse obesity, prevent diabetes and even reverse diabetes. Please bring a donation for the food bank or make a donation to the Public Health Collaboration charity, of which I am a trustee, if you can afford it.

Monday 10th June 12-1pm and 5-6pm at St. Thomas’ Church Stockton Heath, and 2pm at the Hawthorne Centre Padgate– free and open to all

Monday 8th July 12-1pm and 5-6pm at St. Thomas’ Church Stockton Heath- free and open to all

Monday 12th August 12-1pm and 5-6pm at St. Thomas’ Church Stockton Heath- free and open to all

Monday 9th September 12-1pm and 5-6pm at St. Thomas’ Church Stockton Heath- free and open to all

Monday 14th October 12-1pm and 5-6pm at St. Thomas’ Church Stockton Heath- free and open to all

Wednesday 30th October 6.30-8.30pm Spire Hospital Stretton, Cheshire -for doctors only, though some expert patients are welcome to attend and tell the doctors what it is like to do follow this way of life( email me).

Monday 11th November 12-1pm and 5-6pm at St. Thomas’ Church Stockton Heath- free and open to all

Monday 9th December 12-1pm and 5-6pm at St. Thomas’ Church Stockton Heath- free and open to all
joannemccormack@nhs.net for more details


Your sleep is not only very important when you are following this programme but also for your health in the years to come, so here are some ideas to help you https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/healthy-sleep-tips
If you don’t sleep well, your diabetes will be harder to control, you blood glucose may be higher, and with highs, come lows.
So to start with, can you try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day? Also keep your bedroom dark and just for sleeping.

Hopes and dreams

Hope is the most important part of this programme and is as individual as you.

You will get used to this question: A year from now and you are a lot healthier, what does healthier mean to you?

These are the ideas that people have shared with each other…

I want to lose weight
I want to be on less medication
I want to have more energy
I want to be less tired

So then I say to them…

Can you imagine, visualize, what you will be able to do, how will you feel, how you will look, what you want to do, as this “healthier you” who has lost weight, is on less medication, has more energy, is less tired…

And they have told me things as diverse as….

I want to ride on a camel
I want to fly to Morocco
I want to run around with my children in the park
I want to pick up my granddaughter and give her a hug
I want to be able to wear my “thin clothes” again
I want to spend a whole day with my son on theme park rides
I want to look good for my daughter’s wedding
I want to be able to walk my dogs again
I will feel younger
I will look more like my old self

OMAD(one meal a day)

Not everyone needs or wants to live on one meal a day, but here is someone who loves it!

Treflyn says

“Since the 11th January I’ve been on a journey of fasting for 24 hours and eating one meal a day. I’ve always had a tendency to put on weight. And like most people I’ve managed to lose weight, but I’ve also managed to put it on again. Since I’ve been on my one meal a day regime I can say that it’s changed my outlook on getting healthy through understanding what makes me gain weight. It’s not calorie counting and it’s not about going to the gym. If you too are struggling to lose weight, look on YouTube and watch as many videos as you can on the topic of INSULIN RESISTANCE, INTERMITTENT FASTING and ONE MEAL A DAY. The rest is up to you.

On the 11th January 2019 my weight was 20st 5lb.

24th March 2019
My weight was 17st 8lb

My weight on the 20th April was 17st 3lb, which means I had lost over 3 stones.

My weight on the 23rd April 2019 was 16st 13lb.

My weight on the 28th April was 16st 11lb

On the 12th May 2019 I weighed 16st 5lb. That’s a 4 stone loss since January 11th 2019.

Here’s a strange phenomenon:
I ate a light meal of salad and meat on the evening of Thursday 25th April. As I was attending a breakfast meeting on the morning of Sunday 28th April I decided to fast from Thursday night until Sunday morning. This is did easily. I ate a fried breakfast; no carbs, on the Sunday morning. On Sunday night I was starving hungry which was not the norm for me. I normally eat my one meal a day between 5.00pm and 7.00pm. I decided that if I ate some food that it wouldn’t do me any harm. I ended up, sad to say, eating some duck meat, 4 buttered (not margarine) cream crackers and a slice of currant cake – yummy! – washed down with milk.
Because I had eaten carbohydrates I protected myself from leg cramps and heartburn by taking two antacid tablets at bedtime.
When I weighed myself the next morning (Monday 29th April) my weight had increased to 17st 2lb.
My Sunday night feast had caused me to put on weight. I went from 16st 11lb to 17st 2lb – How can that happen??? – Scary. This tells me that there’s no point in going on an extended fast and then pigging out!”( I say- when you eat carbohydrates you retain water and salt- this shows up as weight gain, fluid retention, swollen ankles, tight rings etc. Dr Jo)

“When I explain to friends and relatives how I have achieved this weight loss, they give me all sorts of advice based on misunderstanding and lack of knowledge. What I am doing is based on intensive research by Doctors and Professors understand how our body mechanism works, and it makes total sense to those who understand it. I haven’t felt this good and energised for years and I’m getting healthy and shedding lots of damaging body fat in the process”.


This is the sort of uplifting story I hear every week:

“When you first saw me in the summer I could barely do more than a short walk. I have made progress and am feeling extremely well on the Low Carb diet.

When I was first told I had raised HbA1c, I just couldn’t understand it, as I was not particularly overweight. I was, in fact, following what I believed to be a healthy diet, with a good mix of carbohydrates and the essential food groups.

The past few months have been a massive learning process for me, and with a little bit of trial and error, I have now reached what I think is a sustainable lifestyle which is both healthier and makes me feel fantastic.

The first thing that I was glad to be rid of after starting a low carb diet were the hunger pangs and headaches I used to suffer mid-morning despite having what I thought was a hearty breakfast of porridge with bananas. I was often ‘hangry’ and having to refuel on what were invariably more carbs throughout the day.

I’m pleased to say that such feelings are now a thing of the past and I rarely feel hungry. My HbA1c is now well within the ‘normal’ range (37), and I have lost a stone and a half.

It is now March 2019 and I have developed things a bit more. Starting from being told I was pre-diabetic I have started and stuck to the Low Carb diet I learnt about at your meetings, and combined it with Walking Rugby and Touch Rugby

Since Christmas I have also joined two athletics clubs, and in the past month have competed in races at 60 m and 200m at the English Institute of Sport Sheffield for people over 35. I with my new-found energy, I intend to compete in more races over the summer. I’m training with young people younger than my own children and doing the exact same drills, which I would have thought well-nigh impossible six months ago.

In turn, I think the low carb diet has either directly or indirectly improved my sleep, increased my energy levels, boosted moods and generally helped me to feel better all-round.

I also have found it amazing to hear the accounts from those attending your meetings who have previously been prescribed lots of medication who have come off most or all of it within literally weeks despite having been on that same medication for years and being told by health professionals that they will need to remain on them for the rest of their lives. These people are not in any way health zealots, but rather ordinary people who are delighted with the benefits of the low carb diets they are now following. I find their stories an absolute inspiration”.

How to change your habits

Changing your habits is easier than you think. Have a look at this

A year from now and you are a lot “healthier”, what does “healthier” mean to you?

I have been asking this question for a few years now, and the answers I get are as varied as the people I meet. At first however, people are stumped by the question, and give me stock answers like losing weight, or having more energy, and is it when I dig deeper that they give more meaningful answers. For one person it meant enjoying dancing again, and saving hundreds of pounds on new dancing dresses, as she was able to fit into her original, beautiful ones again.
My colleague Jen Unwin taught me this method, and said that losing weight is a “So, what? What difference will it make to your life?”
She also taught me that it helps to GRIN!
Set your Goals
Use your Resources
Make changes in Increments
Notice your improvements


Alcohol can be one reason why people fail to achieve their goals so here’s hoping this piece will help you….

Alcohol could be seen to be one of the hardest areas in lifestyle change. but is it?

What does it mean to you? Do you love your drink after work, or when cooking your evening meal? 80% of adults in the UK drink alcohol, so if you do, do you think you should cut it down or out? It is completely up to you and may not be as hard as you think.

I usually tackle all the food issues first and put alcohol safely to one side until it comes up (try to keep to one drink a day, cut it out if your weight loss stalls, look at the lower carbohydrate versions on www.dietdoctor.com)

Recently, a woman told me she was very annoyed she could not stick to 2 drinks a night, despite fully intending to at the beginning of many evenings. I recommended www.soberistas.com which is a super support system for people wanting to give up. It is much more life affirming and less stark than AA, though AA has helped many people and has its’ fans. The trouble with AA is that people perceive it is for alcoholics, whereas this online support group is for people who would like to cut alcohol down or out, and no label is needed for joining or reading.

She came back to me a week later and said she had not only given up, but also felt full of joy at the idea of never drinking again! She had done this following reading Jason Vales book- ‘How to give up drink easily’, as well as talking to people on the Soberistas site.

Have a look and try them both out if you are interested, and let me know your story of success.

Have a great week!

Dr Jo

Fat Friends & Foes

Last week was a very interesting week one with my low carb behavioural change groups. I would encourage any low carb GP or nurse to start one- if you are a GP or nurse reading this, ask to observe one if you want. If you are a patient, tell your GP or nurse about this blog. I have an 8 week plan we work through and you can see it here. You and they will benefit from the economy of scale ( maybe 20 people in an hour rather than 4-6) and we all learn from each other. People come weekly or monthly and can follow the other weeks on the blog as they go.

2 more members who started in May have now reversed their diabetes and are off medication- fabulous!! It is less than 3 months from starting and I will ask them to keep checking their blood glucose from time to time and HbA1c annually to make sure they are on track but they have achieved their goals and are delighted 😃

On a different note I overheard one member tell someone that what I advise was ‘just a high fat diet'(that is an oversimplification and not how it sounds- I will explain why), and another told me he was confused because his cardiology team had told him 3 years ago to follow a low fat diet. This had been after heart surgery, so was clearly very important to address this issue with him. I feel confident about what I mean by healthy fats are so let me explain. I have the back up of secondary care colleagues on this.

One colleague, a cardiologist, tells his patients that a healthy diet is one that consists of

“Oily fish, quality animal and plant proteins, extra virgin olive oil, berries and leafy green veg – YES

Bread, Rice, Potatoes, Added sugars, Biscuits, Cakes, confectionery – No”

This blog is an attempt to help you form a view on which fat foods should be part of a healthy diet.

Food rarely comes as just fat.

There are fat and sugar/starch combinations- like in donuts , cakes, biscuits, chips and crisps- always bad in everyone’s books. We all agree!

There is the fat in meat, chicken and eggs, and some doctors believe this raises your cholesterol. What I say is that rarely happens and you can prove whether it does or not by having a lipid test. If your lipids are normal, you can relax about your intake of natural fats. Cholesterol is a very complicated business and you can read in more detail here.

There are seed oils like sunflower and rapeseed, which are now known to change to trans fats at high temperature, and this is bad. We all agree about trans fats but some doctors do not know that seed oils change to trans fats at high temperatures.

Trans fats are in margarine too and trans fats are bad. Look up trans fats and you will see. We all agree on this too.

Olive oil is not stable at high temperatures, so enjoy it on salads and vegetables. We all agree!

Coconut oil is stable at high temperature so use it in cooking or frying. Some doctors may believe it raises the cholesterol but you can prove that it doesn’t with a simple lipid blood test.

Palm oil- I’m not sure about this so don’t advise it, and it is more of an ingredient in processed foods, than something you buy to cook with.

Nut oils – use these in dressings but not in cooking, as they are not stable at high temperatures.

Salmon, avocados, olives and nuts – we all agree that the natural fats in these foods are part of a healthy diet. Just don’t overdo nuts as it is easy to do so, and they can contain a lot of carbs too. Avoid peanuts and cashews.

Now the other question- is the way of eating I advocate a high fat diet?

It depends on if you are overweight or not..

Some people in my groups are not overweight, and for them the natural fats in foods are a source of energy, fat soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids which are needed for bodily and mental health.

Most people start my groups overweight and for them I say…

Your stored body fat is a source of energy, and if you plan to use it all that is where most of your fat will come from, so in that sense it is a high fat diet, but you don’t need to eat a lot because you already have it in you. 3500 calories per pound, it is said. This stored energy is what you use up when you want to lose weight. You are using this stored body fat as energy, so your diet is always high in fat- from YOU, before you even consider what you eat.

In fatismyfriend, I encourage overweight people to eat real, unprocessed foods and not worry about the fat content of food, as long as they are losing weight each or most weeks. The mainstay of this way of eating is not DIETARY fat if it is coming from your body fat. Once you have lost your excess weight then you will need fat from food, in the natural way it comes from nature. This is to ensure that you get enough energy, essential fats, and fat soluble vitamins. I would argue that this a “healthy fat , normal fat” way of eating, and if your cardiologist is happy with your lipid profile, then you will have no cause for concern.

Final word..

Zoe Harcombe PhD has some sensible things to say about fat so take a quick look.