Tomorrow will be 22 months to the day (March 5, 2017-January 5, 2019) that I realized that I was metabolically very unwell; having a resting blood pressure in the hypertensive emergency category and uncontrolled blood sugar which was topping 13 mmol/L (235 mg/dl) after a meal. As I have said in every podcast and interview that I have done since and have written in several articles, what I should have done at that point was to go straight to my doctor and let him put me on the medications required and then have changed my diet and lifestyle, but I was frightened with the prospect of coming out of denial and decided instead to immediately change how I ate and recover my own health. That was a risky thing to do as my risk of heart attack and stroke was very high and in retrospect it is not what I would have done. It is certainly not something I would recommend anyone else to do! Knowing what I know now, I should have started on medications and then adopted the same dietary and lifestyle changes and as my health improved, had my doctor lower the dosages and then eventually discontinue them. But that as they say is water under the bridge now.
In my first entry in “A Dietitian’s Journey” simply titled “The Beginning” I set the following goals;
(1) blood sugar in the non-diabetic range
(2) normal blood pressure
(3) normal / ideal cholesterol levels
(4) a waist circumference in the “at or below” recommended values of the Heart and Stroke Foundation
Will I meet all these goals? Who knows?! But I won’t know if I don’t try and the alternative of a life of medication for blood sugar, blood pressure and eventually cholesterol too does not appeal to me!
March 16, 2017 I posted my second entry titled The Road to Better Health about why I decided to add a walking routine to my dietary changes and this was where I posted my first video.
You have to see this to believe it!
It’s not only how I look but how I sound! Its evident that I am unable to walk at a reasonable pace and talk without being out of breath.
Here is my second video, posted July 25, 2017, just 4 months into eating a low carbohydrate (not ketogenic) diet. As you can see, I had already lost some weight and could talk without being totally winded while walking.
At this point, I had lost 10 pounds, my HbA1C (3 month average blood sugar level) was down from an average of 12 mmol/L to 8.5 mmol/L. My blood pressure which had dropped to ~140/80 mmHg had begun to rise to in the 160/90 mmHg range so I decided to ask my doctor to put my on Ramipril (Altace) until diet and weight loss is sufficient to maintain it at a normal level on its own. My goals at that point were;
I still have at least another 30 pounds to go to get to the “goal weight” that I set at the beginning of this journey, and am now aiming to lose another 40-45 pounds instead in order to reach my ideal (healthiest) waist to height ratio.
By my one-year anniversary of following a low carbohydrate diet, this is what I had achieved;
So far, I’ve lost;
- 32 pounds
- 8 inches off my waist
- 2 inches off my chest
- 3 inches off my neck
- 1 inch off my arms
- 1/2 inch off my thighs.
- I no longer meet the criteria for Type 2 Diabetes
- I have blood pressure that ranges between normal and pre-hypertension
- I have ideal triglycerides and excellent cholesterol levels.
While I’m still overweight and have approximately another 20 pounds to lose to reach a healthy waist circumference, I am not as desperately unhealthy as I was this time last year.
I am alive, much healthier and committed to continuing this journey.
July 25, 2018, a full year after the previous video above and 16 months into A Dietitian’s Journey, I posted the next video update. By this point I had lowered the amount of carbohydrate in my diet down considerably in order to achieve the metabolic recovery I sought. The difference between the very first video from March 16, 2017 and this one is remarkable; not just in the way I look, but how I sound!
By this date, I had lowered my fasting insulin from when I began where it was 54 pmol/L (7.8 μU/ml) to 33 pmol/L (4.8 μU/ml) which was in the ideal range, between 2-6 μU/ml. My HbA1C had dropped from 7.5% to 6.3% which was finally below the cutoffs for Type 2 Diabetes, which is 6.5%. Using diet alone and without taking any medication, I was finally in partial remission of Type 2 Diabetes.
This brings us to today. Five months have passed since the last video update above and tomorrow will be 22 months since I began A Dietitian’s Journey. I recently achieved my last two health goals of (a) having my waist circumference that is half my height and (b) having lost the last 20 pounds. Yesterday, my doctor took my blood pressure and it was in the normal range (still taking a “baby dose” of Ramipril) and next week I will be having my HbA1C done, which will be the first time since I voluntarily started on Metformin after having reached partial remission from Type 2 Diabetes with diet alone. I chose to do this for several reasons, including my dad’s recent Alzheimer’s diagnosis and it’s relationship to glucose dysregulation, as well as because I was still having difficulty lowering my early morning fasting blood glucose due to my liver’s gluconeogenesis (making glucose) in the wee hours of the morning.
Yesterday I taped a 1/2 hour talk with a Pharmacist colleague in Prince Edward Island who is holding a one-day workshop in Charlottetown on Saturday, January 12th, called Keto Solutions Bootcamp. Since I was unavailable to appear ‘live’ that day, I taped the segment yesterday that will be shown during my scheduled slot.
I gave her my word that I would not post the video until after the workshop but posted a screenshot instead.
UPDATE: January 13, 2019
Here is the link to the video:
Some final thoughts…
I have also demonstrated that even for someone who was overweight and obese for YEARS, it is entirely possible to achieve a healthy body weight eating whole, real food.
I didn’t deprive myself. I ate burgers and pizza, Chinese, Thai, Indian and Canadian food, and even some treats once in a while like batter fried fish and New York Style Cheesecake; all adapted to be low carb (see the recipe section for details).
As I coach my clients to do, I ate if I was hungry but didn’t eat just because it was “time” if I wasn’t. I ate delicious real food with a wide range of diversity in tastes and textures and made sure to get sufficient micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) not just “macros” (protein, fat and carbohydrate). I didn’t have bulletproof coffee once and never ate a “fat bomb”. Yes, there is a lot more to a low carbohydrate diet than bacon, cream and butter!
If you’re curious to learn more, please have a look around my web page. Have a read of some of the articles under the Food for Thought tab. Most are fully referenced and written in my “Science Made Simple” style so that anyone can understand.
If you are interested in knowing more about the packages and hourly consultations that I provide, please click on the Services tab to find out more. Should you decide you want to get started, everything you need is there, including the Intake and Service Option Form to download and complete. If you would like a password protected one to secure the completed information so you can email it to me, please drop me a note and I will be glad to send it to you.
Finally, if you have questions about how I can help you, please send me a note using the Contact Me form on the tab above and I will reply as soon as possible.
My “A Dietitian’s Journey” is my “sample set of one” (n=1) account of what I was able to accomplish, but everyone’s journey is different. Some people take less time than I did to reach their goals and some take more depending on where they start from, but this is about recovering one’s health and achieving a healthy body weight and the way I look it is if it took us years to get to the place of ill-health we begin from, are we not worth the investment to take whatever time it takes to get well? I think so!
Please let me know if I can help you restore your own health or help a loved one.
To your good health!
NOTE: This post is classified under “A Dietitian’s Journey” and is my personal account of my own health and weight loss journey that began on March 5, 2017. Science Made Simple articles are referenced nutrition articles, and can be found here.
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