Sheffield man finds his healthy sweet spot

31 Jan 2018

Simon Harris (67) has been learning how to lose weight and manage his diabetes online, with the help of NHS Digital and Good Things Foundation’s Widening Digital Participation programme.

“I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes,” explains Simon. “I asked my GP how I could get to grips with my condition. He said I could find lots of things online, like advice on how to reduce and control my blood sugar levels, so he recommended that I pop along to a local computer class.”

Simon went along to a Digital Surgery at Sloan Medical Practice, run by Online Centre Heeley Development Trust, a participant in Good Things Foundation and NHS Digital’s Widening Digital Participation project.

“When I went along for the first time, I was keen to find out more information,” explains Simon. “I knew how to use computers and I’d used the internet before, I just wasn’t sure exactly where to look for the guidance I needed.”

At the Digital Surgery, the tutors discussed low carb diets with Simon and recommended that he use websites to look for recipes and dietary advice.

Simon said: “I’ve been battling with my weight for years. I’ve tried all the usual diets and exercises, without much success.

“At the Digital Surgery, we discussed not cutting down - usually you’re told that you can’t have this or you can’t have that - but we found recipes for alternatives to my usual food. For example, instead of chips I could have turnip chips or instead of mashed potatoes I could have mashed cauliflower.”

Being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes was a real trigger for Simon to start getting fitter and healthier. With the help of his new-found digital health skills, he’s lost weight and reduced his blood sugar levels.

“I’ve always had a sweet tooth,” says Simon. “Now it feels like I’ve broken that addiction. I eat less cakes and biscuits and I look up recipe ideas for low carb meals on Pinterest. I’ve even learned how to make my own healthy alternative to tomato ketchup!”

Thanks to the Digital Surgery and Widening Digital Participation, Simon is feeling much happier in himself and with his health.

He says: “I feel so much better both mentally and physically. It has inspired me and I feel empowered by my new knowledge.

“I’ve been raving to my doctor about the Digital Surgery. I think that the service Heeley Development Trust provides is brilliant and I’d recommend any other patients to pop along to the Digital Surgery and give it a go.”

(At the request of the case study subject, his name has been changed.)