Patricia Morris, 55, started to put on weight after retiring from her job with the police and quitting smoking.
And a routine check up with her nurse revealed her blood pressure to be dangerously high, along with her cholesterol. She was also pre-diabetic.
She said: “As soon as the nurse mentioned the word diabetes I was scared out of my wits.
“She went on to talk about stroke, heart attack and early death – those words were like a slap to the face and I knew then I had to change my life.”
Mrs Morris joined an EU funded study, which recruited 2,300 people with pre-diabetes from around the world to study the effects of two diets and two physical activity programmes.
The PREVIEW study started with an eight-week weight reduction phase using the Cambridge Weight Plan diet of 800 calories per day. In total 1,842 lost more than eight per cent weight during this phase.
They were then randomised into groups to study the impact of high and low exercise and diets based on high and low protein and high and low glycaemic index diets, over two years.
In the first phase, Mrs Morris lost six-and-a-half stone. She said: “I can now sleep without restless legs, climb stairs easily and wear a swimsuit at the pool rather than watch others and feel envious and ashamed. No more aching joints. I can be proud of my body instead of hating it. At a recent check-up the doctor told me my blood pressure and cholesterol were down to normal levels and, best of all, I am no longer pre-diabetic.”