It’s twenty months today that I adopted a low-carb lifestyle and it’s hard to believe how very different I feel.
March 5, 2017, I was sitting in my office working on Meal Plans for my clients and I just didn’t feel well. I didn’t know what was wrong but for lack of a better term I felt “unwell”. I went and took my blood pressure (after not taking it for almost 2 years!) and it was dangerously high! I laid down and waited a bit until I took it again, and it was only nominally less. I was scared.
I decided to take my blood sugar too and opened a new package of test strips and took it. It was crazy high and I didn’t eat anything out of the usual. While I can’t remember exactly what I ate that morning, I’m guessing it was a few thin gluten-free crackers with peanut butter substitute and a bit of marmalade — which is what I usually ate along with a double espresso cappuccino made with low fat milk, without sugar. I just looked up the carb content of those crackers; 24 g of carbs for 3 and I probably ate 5 or 6, so, 50 g of carbs right there. Another 8 g of carbs for the 2 Tbsp of soya butter spread and 14 g per Tbsp for the Seville Marmalade — so altogether, that was 72 g of carbs, plus another 3 for the milk in the cappuccino. I had 75 g carbs for breakfast —’at least’ the 65 g of carbs that was recommended for me to eat as a Type 2 Diabetic.
Mid-morning, I probably had 2-3 ounces of cheese and a piece of fruit. Given it was early March, for sure it was an Ataufo mango — 25 g of carbs; a recommended combination of carbohydrate and protein…and not even the 45 g of carbohydrate recommended, as cheese doesn’t have any carbohydrate. The mots I would have had after that would have been some plain tea, so no additional carbs but knowing what I know now, my blood sugar probably continued to climb from breakfast for the next 3 hours, then I had the “healthy (recommended) snack” of protein and carbohydrate for another 25 g of carbs which would have caused it to rise some more. It was no wonder my blood sugar that day was 13.0 mmol/L (234 mg/dl).
I was a sick! I had out of control blood pressure and blood sugar that was anything but controlled! I contemplated going to my doctor but figured he’d either send me to the hospital by ambulance because of my crazy high blood pressure, or he’d prescribe at least one kind of blood pressure medication, blood sugar medication and a statin for my cholesterol (which he wanted to put me on for some time). In retrospect, I should have gone to see him and let him put me on the blood pressure and blood sugar medication and THEN changed my lifestyle. The meds would have protected me in the meantime until the dietary and lifestyle changes began to have their effect. But I didn’t. What I did do was instantaneously adopt a low-carb lifestyle — the same type of plan I had been designing for my clients for over 2 1/2 years.
The rest, as they say, is history.
All the details are in previous entries in “A Dietitian’s Journey”; all the lab tests, all my blood glucose and blood pressure readings and all my fat pictures! There it is in Technicolor for anyone to see!
The photo on the left (below) was taken April 21 2017 — 7 weeks after I began my current lifestyle and the photo on the right was taken last week or the week before.
Yes, I am a lot grayer, but the change in the shape of my face and my neck (I have a neck!!) is evident. When I look in the mirror, I now recognize the person that looks back.
Best of all I feel good and my lab tests and blood pressure readings indicate that I am much healthier — not just for someone diagnosed 10 years ago with Type 2 Diabetes (T2D), but for someone of my age without any chronic diseases! My T2D is in remission, which means that as long as I keep eating the way I do, it will stay that way. This is not a “short-term fix”. If I want to remain healthy, I need to keep eating the way I do. Does that bother me? No! The alternative is being as unhealthy as I was 20 months ago. No way.
Note: I use the word “remission” and not “reversal” because for Diabetes to be reversed, a person should be able to eat like a non-Diabetic and not have their blood sugar spike. For me, that’s not likely to ever happen because I was Diabetic for so long, so I use the term “remission”.
Remission is a good thing!
Having normal blood sugar levels and normal blood pressure is fantastic, and catching my reflection in a store window or on a store video camera isn’t an unpleasant experience.
Of course I’m not going to look like I did in my mid-twenties when I was last at this weight but to be someone of normal body weight, with labs that testify that I am not the metabolically unwell mess that I was 20 months ago is just fine with me. I’m not going to get any younger, so I will just have to keep getting better!
If you are wondering if it is even possible to go from being obese and metabolically unwell to being normal body weight and metabolically as healthy as reasonably possible, I hope my story encourages you that yes, it is entirely possible. Is it hard? No, not really. It takes learning how to do things differently, but if doing the same thing was making me sicker and sicker, I didn’t need my Masters degree to figure out doing the same thing was not going to make me better. There were years of scientific data before I began teaching this almost 5 years ago and now there is significantly more. Even the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) now recognize that a low-carbohydrate diet is safe and effective and has deemed it appropriate Medical Nutrition Therapy for the treatment and management of T2D (you can read more about that here).
If you have questions about how I might be able to help you please send me a note using the form on the Contact Me tab above and I’ll be happy to reply.
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To our good health!
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