Meet Paul Coker
Paul Coker is the Diabetes coach who has been living with Type 1 Diabetes for 45 years and he has an MSc in Diabetes Practice.
Putting you in driver's seat of your Diabetes quickly is always the goal and Paul uses his extensive first hand experiences to work with you, everything is backed up with evidence.
Paul is sought after for training Health Care Professionals and Diabetes and Type 1 Diabetes and sports.
About Paul Coker:
3 Reasons That You Should NOT Be Here
Hi, I’m Paul Coker.
I always love the “about me” page on websites like this because they’re written in the third person …even though they’re typically written by the the owner of the site.
So after Paul Coker made several attempts to sound smarter than he really is by writing about himself in the third person, he quickly abandoned that approach and decided to write this page like it was a letter to a friend with Diabetes.
Which, in many ways, it is.
Anyway – what do you want to know?
I’m 50 years old. I live in Cardiff (UK).
I have two kids who are grown up and neither of them have diabetes. I’m guessing that’s not the kind of stuff you’re looking for.
You’re probably wondering,
Is This Guy Worth My Time And Attention?
For many readers, my answer is NO.
1. I can not cure your diabetes
I can not cure your diabetes
For some reason people seem to think that diabetes coaching is a cure for diabetes.
Let me be clear my coaching typically focuses on increasing your insulin sensitivity regardless of the type of Diabetes you have, yes I really mean this for type 1 diabetes too.
As you improve your sensitivity to insulin you may be able to reduce the amount of insulinup need. However the goal is to make your body more efficient at using insulin and that makes your blood glucose levels and your diabetes more predictable more of the time.
I use 3 main tools to help improve your insulin sensitivity (i) knowledge, (ii) a whole food plant based approach to your nutrition and (iii) physical activity; don’t worry this is not about going to the gym, unless you want to.
If you want to download a free report on how this works click here.
Let me be clear this is not about limiting or reducing carbohydrates. The science on this is pretty cool and even more importantly it actually works in real people like you and me.
Could this cure Type 2 Diabetes?
The aim of treatment in Type 2 Diabetes is to reverse your diabetes, at least if you have only been diagnosed for a few years. If you have type 2 diabetes increasing your insulin sensitivity may put your diabetes into remission but that is not quite the same thing as a cure.
What do I mean?
If you do manage to reverse your diabetes, and there are no guarantees on that, it is not certain how long you will stay in remission for.
Improving insulin sensitivity & Type 1 Diabetes – are you mad?
If, like me, you have Type 1 Diabetes this is not going to cure your Diabetes but consistently increasing and maintaining high levels of insulin sensitivity has been shown to reduce the risk of complications of your Diabetes. Perhaps even better than this it makes your insulin more predictable more of the time and that makes your Diabetes a little easier to manage, and what is there not to like about that?
If you don't want to learn more about diabetes and how you can manage it, then you are not going to enjoy my stuff
No, I am not going to lecture you and give you lots of notes to take, although if you want to take notes that is cool.
One of my favourite quotes about Diabetes was made in around 1908 by Dr Elliot P. Joslin; the father of modern diabetes medicine and he said “the diabetic who knows the most about diabetes, lives the longest“, forgive me – this is a quote and language matters did not exist in 1908. I think this is still true today, even with the amazing advances in insulin, Diabetes medications and technology.
Bite Size Chunks
My coaching programmes include a knowledge base of materials and you get drip fed this information in bite size chunks.
As we both know, when it comes to Diabetes things are not always what they seem and the learning materials in this programme are based upon some of the latest and best in research and evidence. You are unlikely to see this entering your clinic for some years to come now that healthcare has been disrupted so much by COVID.
If you are looking for "The Easy Way", I don't want to help you.
It’s important you understand what I’m telling you.
I can help you, I just won’t. I’m capable of it, but I refuse to do it.
Because when I hear someboday say, “What’s the easiest way”, what I’m really hearing is “I am not fully invested in my own long term health and success” and that means that I am not fully invested in your long term success either and that does not work well for me, or for you.
Look, living with Diabetes is hard, it will always be hard; at least until you increase the number of strategies & tools that you have in your diabetes management toolkit. That is why just 61.1% of adults living with Type 2 Diabetes in the UK achieved a HbA1c of 58mmol/mol (7.5%) or less in 2020 and for Type 1 Diabetes that percentage of adults achieving optimal diabetes management was just 30.4% (NHS England. National Diabetes Audit, 2019-20).
It would be easy to blame COVID for these low percentages, but sadly the data has been hovering around these levels for years! That suggests that for most of us the treatment is not adequate. But what if we could change things a little, what if we could stack the odds of you achieving your Diaebtes management goals consistently in your favour?
I can give you access to almost 5 decades of experience in Diabetes and some of the latest in Diabetes research that will give you more freedom from Diabetes faster than you can achieve on your own.
Just imagine what it feels like to sleep through the night, or to have an abundance of energy, or to have less fear of going hypo (low) or to be able to eat mountains of fruits and vegetables and not worry about the impact on your blood glucose levels and achieve great time in range and HbA1c’s.
Improving your insulin sensitivity makes this possible but it takes HARD WORK to improve your insulin sensitivity and HARD WORK to maintain your improved insulin sensitivity.
But I do not have all of the answers to every challenge you face, and if I don't have the answer you need I will be honest and I will tell you. I will also go away and look for evidence and research to help you, I may not always find it. But I will always be 100% honest with you, no snake-oil, no assumptions. Just 100% honesty to help you get the results you deserve.
Your Still Here? Good.
Here is what you can expect from me.
- Actionable strategies that you can use right now, for free to help you to improve your quality of life with diabetes.
- Blatant sales pitches (but not high pressure).
Can you believe that I just told you that you are going to receive sales pitches from me?
Well, why wouldn’t I tell you?
I make my money by selling my coaching services to people like you, people who are living with Diabetes, people who want better, people who want more. I will try to sell you my coaching services and I won’t be subtle about it.
However, it is always preceded by really powerful strategies that you can use right now.
The idea is you will say “this free stuff really helped me, I think I will try the paid stuff”.
Pretty simple, right?
Call it an ethical bribe, I demonstrate how much I can help you by actually helping you.
How Do I Know if Your Stuff is Any Good?
Well, the smartest thing to do is to get some of my free materials.
If you like it, you will probably like my trainings.
If you don’t, you probably won’t.
I think this is where I am supposed to talk all about me so that you learn more about me and my journey and life with diabetes. So here goes:
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was on a very rainy family camping holiday in Scotland in 1977. Having Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) in a tent at the age of 5 years old is less than ideal, not least of which because nobody else in my family has Diabetes and we did not recognise the symptoms; neither did the emergency General Practioner we saw.
Long story short, 36 hours later I was rushed into hospital but fell into a coma on the way there. My parents and my older brother were told to say goodbye to me; I was not expected to recover. Yet somehow I did.
Treatment back then was crude by the standards we have today; blood glucose monitoring at home did not exist yet, human insulin was still a thing of the future and I was on just one shot of animal insulin per day. Daily hypo’s were just a part of my normal life, that was the only way we knew that I was having anything like enough insulin.
Around the age of 18 I completely disengaged from my Diabetes care. Skipping injections, skipping hospital appointments (for 10 years). I had grown up reading that people with diabetes had a limited life expectancy and I was going to enjoy the years I had without my diabetes controlling me.
The truth was that by neglecting my Diabetes, it really was controlling me. This truth was that I was so afraid of going hypo and having low blood glucose levels were so disruptive that I ran my blood glucose levels really high all of the time.
Eventually this hit me and it hit hard.
I was just 24 years old and I become sick with pneumonia and pleurisy, most likely caused by my outrageously high blood glucose levels. My HbA1c came back at 17.5% (in old money), I think that is something like 168 mmols/mol. My Diabetes was blamed for my life threatening illness.
I started to take better care of my Diabetes, by this I mean I missed fewer of my insulin shots and for a while at least I tested my blood glucose levels.
Then I became complacent again. This became my ‘normal’.
I would go through periods of taking good care of my diabetes and periods of ‘burn-out’ where I would ignore it as much as possible. Then a diabetes incident would happen; passing out with a hypo or an episode of Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) and I would engage with my Diabetes again.
When I was 30 years old my eldest was born. My wife had complications during the birth and required extensive surgery afterwards. During the next few weeks she was admitted to hospital on 5 seperate occassions and had 3 seperate rounds of surgery. My Diabetes was not my highest priority with a newborn baby and my wife in and out of hospital.
Then it happened. I came home from work. I picked my daughter up to give her a hug. And I passed out with a low blood glucose level whilst holding her. She was just 6 weeks old.
Luckily I fell backwards when I passed out and my daughter remained in my arms and was not harmed. I dread to think what would have happened if I had fallen forwards.
It was time to start taking much better care of my Diabetes. I had found my reason why. And she weighed just 6lbs.
This was the turning point.
The internet was only just becoming a thing, but I had more access than most because I was working as an IT manager for British Standards Industries (BSi).
In my spare time I began reading everything I could find about Diabetes. I was looking for information that would help me to live well with my Diabetes. This devloped into something of an obsession.
I loved learning how the human body works. I returned to university to study to train as a Chirporactor.
My 32 year old brain translated this as I could learn all about how the body works and gain a well paid profession at the same time.
After 3 years of learning neuro-musculo-skeletal medicine and even attending anatomy lessons in the mortuary I realised that I was not that interested in chiropractic adjustments after all.
I wanted to focus on Diabetes. I wanted to focus on how I could live better and help others with Diabetes to do the same. Sadly, and perhaps rightly so, the Dr’s teaching me were only interested in turning me into a chiropractor.
As I lost my inspiration to study Chiropractic and with a young family I decided to return back to the corporate world.
I started working in project management. But my passion to learn more about my body and my Diabetes did not go away.
I was working away from home a lot and this gave me time to exercise more.
I went from being the most reluctant runner ever to attend a Park Run to running a Half Marathon.
In a bizzare turn of events this led to me being invited to climb Kilimanjaro and in 2014, 18 of us set an unofficial world record as the largest team of people with Type 1 Diabetes to summit Kilimanjaro together, whilst raising money for JDRF.
My blood pressure had been going up and my cholesterol was becoming a problem too. I knew from my studies that my low carbohydrate, high fat diet could be a significant contributor to this. I began looking at ways to change this.
I significantly changed my diet for the Kilimanjaro climb. I had been following an ultra low carbohydrate diet for around 6 years and my HbA1c was cool, but there is some suggestion that keto diets increase the risk and severity of Altitude Mountain Sickness and that is potentially life threatening.
That is when I discovered how powerful a whole food plant based diet could be in improving my insulin sensitivity, which increased more than 17-fold. Oh and my cholesterol dropped and my blood pressure did too. I have now been on a whole food plant based diet for 7 years and it makes my Diabetes much easier to manage and has improved all of my metabolic markers.
The running continued and to mark 40 years of living with Type 1 Diabetes I ran 40 half marathons in a year. The final event of this foolish challenge was awesome; not just because it was the last run int he crazy challenge but because I created a team of fellow athletes with type 1 to run with me. This has now been repeated a number of times and the biggest team of athletes with type 1 to run the Swansea Half Marathon with me to date is 69.
This gave me an opportunity to help in setting up a research project called ExTOD 101 Research (which is still in peer review). This project has already changed the shape of education programmes about Type 1 and exercise and I am routinely involved in delivering this via the Association of British Clinical Diabetologists.
Post Graduate Degree in Diabetes Practice & 45 Years of Living With Diabetes
It was about this time that the Diabetes Research Group at Swansea University Medical School invited me to study an MSc in Diabetes Practice, even though I am not and never have been a Health Care Professional.
My research explored how fats, proteins and carbohydrates affect post meal insulin requirements and blood glucose levels. It turns out that we need insulin to metabolise amino acids, the building blocks of protein, and diets that are high in fat are linked to reductions in insulin sensitivity.
This is not a case of your Diabetes may vary. It has a similar impact in people without diabetes but you and I get to notice these effects.
But wait a minute, if you eat less carbohydrates you need to inject less insulin so that means you are more sensitive to insulin, right?
To answer this simply, let's think about what happens when you go out in the rain? You get wet. But if you want to wtay dry you put a rain coat on, don't you. An old fashoined name for a rain coat is an oil-skin.
Now, let's get back to that low carbohydrate diet, yes it is linked to smaller doses of insulin because you are starving your slef of carbohydrates.
However, the cells in your body do not need insulin to get enegy from fat, which is why low carbohydrate diets are popular.
But, once they have the energy they need they have to protect themselves froom getting more energy inside them than they can handle. So they form an oil-skin on the outside of the cell. This is just like you putting a raincoat on, but in this case it stops fats, proteins and insulin from attaching to the cell. In other words low carbohydrate diets appear to create insulin resistance, to learn more about this download this free report which explains the details.
We can measure insulin sensitivity with a (fixed) glucose challenge and then observe the amount of time (and insulin) it takes to return blood glucose to your pre-meal level. The longer it takes to return your blood glucose to pre-meal levels, and the more insulin it takes, the more insulin resistant you are. Another way that has been validated in the research is to use a formula and I have created this for you in this download.
Why is that important?
Insulin resistance is a common feature of all types of diabetes and the latest research from Sweden and the UK covering around 20,000 people with Type 1 Diabetes is now showing us that insulin resistance increases your risk of the complications of Diabetes (Nyström et al., 2017) even if your HbA1c is great (Helliwell R et al. 2021).
Fast forward to today, I’ve got clients in the UK, USA and Canada who have used my evidence based programme to successfully put them in the driving seat of their Diabetes and improve the quality of their lives.
Here's what I wlll help you with, specifically
My main focus is to improve your quality of life, I do this by improving your insulin sensitivity and that makes your insulin more predictable more of the time. In otehr words I give you more freedom from your Diabetes.
The programme uses a Whole Food Plant Based approach, combined with increasing your knowledge of your Diabetes. As your insulin sensitivity increases you can eat more carbohydrates without your blood glucose rising.
That sounds insane, doesn’t it?
It turns out that as you gradually improve your insulin sensitivity you can increase the amount of carbohydrates you eat without causing blood glucose challenges. In short the quality of the carbohydrates appears to be at least as important as the quantity.
I can already hear you thinking that eating carbohydrates will cause you to gain weight, but the truth is that most of my clients take some time to learn how to eat enough carbohydrates to stop them from losing weight! Yes, there is plenty of science and evidence that describes this too.
I also focus on how your Diabetes fits in around your life (or not) and together we design the solution that works for you.
I do this by genuinely showing you how to get more fredom from your Diabetes.
Here Is My First Sales Pitch To You
Go to my home page and read some of the articles on my site.
If you like them, sign up for some of my free trainings.
If they help you, consider buying some of my stuff when I make you an offer.
Pretty simple, right?
Thanks for reading this page, now it’s time to get more freedom from your diabetes!