LIFESTYLE

Fixing Dad: How Two Sons Helped Their Father Reverse His Type 2 Diabetes

27/04/2015 15:10 BST | Updated 27/04/2015 16:59 BST

Two sons have helped their father reverse his type 2 diabetes, ditching unhealthy habits in favour of a more active lifestyle.

Geoff Whitington's type 2 diabetes had become so bad, doctors warned him they may have to amputate his leg.

It was then the 62-year-old began to realise he needed to drastically change his lifestyle in order to beat the obesity-related illness.

Under the guidance of his two sons, Anthony and Ian, Geoff has taken on new food and fitness habits that have ultimately saved his life.

Now, Geoff's sons have turned their father's journey into a short film, titled Fixing Dad.

fixing dad take away

"A few things led to us starting the project," Anthony tells HuffPost UK Lifestyle.

"The first was dad's realisation that he might need to have his foot amputated if he continued on the same path. So fear played a big part.

"The second was that dad had seemed to become a different person - not his usual bubbly self, but withdrawing from conversations and generally very depressed.

"And thirdly, we felt guilty, being honest, that for so long our own careers, ambitions and our own family pressures had stopped us from really knowing the man who made us who we are today."

Geoff weighed 20 stone before his sons intervened with their project. Working 12.5 hour night shifts as a security guard had led him to develop unhealthy eating patterns.

fixing dad bike

He'd eat takeaways around the clock and his exercise regime was non-existent.

Despite knowing his life needed to change, Geoff wasn't the most engaged pupil when his son's first started to introduce him to new foods.

"There was lots of resistance. Dad is extremely stubborn," Anthony says.

"We instinctively knew we would need to change his environment. He was surrounded by his favourite fast food restaurants, his sofas, his bad habits."

Anthony and Ian took their father on a 10 day trip to rural Spain where the three men went cycling, skydive training, climbing and even tombstoning.

"We wanted to remind him what fun life could be - we then explained why we were doing this. Once we had his attention we began to set goals, big goals, without asking for his permission."

fixing dad yoga

After more than a year of hard work, Geoff is now 14 stone. At a recent meeting with his consultant he was told he is diabetes-free.

Geoff and his two sons now hope their film will now inspire others to improve their health through lifestyle changes. The three of them talk at corporate groups, medical conferences and diabetes clinics.

"To families everywhere we'd like to say: if there's someone you love who is in a bad way, don't put it off, act now to help them. Don't have regrets later," Anthony says.

"However busy you are, there's no one formulae, just do something different, remind them how much they mean to you, give them goals and regular contact, and above all be positive that you can beat it and enjoy life together."

For more information on how to tackle diabetes, visit diabetes.co.uk.

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