My Type 2 Diabetes story

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I’m sharing this because it may be useful to others.  I am 54 year old male.

About 2.5 years ago, my doctor diagnosed me as pre-diabetic (A1C = 6.4).  He told me to lose weight.  I did not.  In fact I really did not take it seriously and made no changes.   About 1 year ago (Summer 2017) he told me that my numbers were not good (A1C = 7.2) and he put me on Janumet (50/1000).  I took the pills but made no other changes.  I never took my own blood glucose measurements. 

In January 2018 my A1C was 7.9 and he threatened me with taking injectables.  I was also starting to feel peripheral neuropathy in my feet.  That got my attention.  At the time I weighed 270 pounds and was an avid power lifter in the gym regularly bench pressing 405 pounds and going to the gym 3-4 days per week.  I had no dietary considerations at all and was probably around 3000-4000 calories per day.  The diagnosis and threat of having to inject myself provided great motivation.

I doubled up on the Janumet going to two 50/1000 tablets per day.  This made me have to take daily Imodium because my stomach could not handle it.  I started running/walking in addition to lifting.   I dramatically altered my diet to drop calories (initially to about 1200/day), spaced meals to 5-6 smaller feeds per day, increased certain vegetables, and dramatically cut back on carbs.  I eliminated sugars as much as possible.  And I drank more water.  I also started taking Blood Glucose measurements 5-7 times per day.  I read a lot and joined several diabetic discussion boards.

In the first 3 months I lost about 40 pounds and improved my overall cardiovascular fitness.  I started running local races for motivation.   My self BG numbers dropped quickly.  I kept lifting weights but my emphasis shifted to running.  At this point I was actually RUNNING as opposed to jogging.  My next A1C taken in early April was 5.0.

In the next three months I continued my diet and exercise regimen but started re-introducing a small amount of carbs.   My running caused me to lose an additional 20 pounds.  As of today I am at around 205lbs.  I run a lot, now averaging 40 miles per week and I race when I can.  I have run all sorts of races including half marathons.  Running is absolutely necessary for me to keep my BG numbers in check.  When I don't run they creep up.  I still lift in the gym but far less weight.  I still watch my diet very closely especially to avoid (not eliminate) carbs, but my total caloric intake is up somewhat by design.   The peripheral neuropathy has reduced a lot.  My A1C in early July was 5.2. 

I am now off most meds including blood pressure meds that I used to take.  I still take 500mg metformin per day but as a taper.  If my BG numbers stay good – they have so far - I will be off all diabetic medications by the end of July.I am aware that Diabetes will not go away.  I am aware that if I go back to my previous lifestyle it will resurface.   But I am managing it.  The bottom line is that lifestyle change (diet and exercise modification), meds, and self-testing have had a HUGE impact. 

I know that not everyone is the same.  But I hope that my story can help some people.

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7 Replies

  • Posted

    Oh, and one more thing.  Per doctors orders I stopped drinking any wine or beer.  I shifted to hard alcohols only (Whiskey, Tequila, etc.)  This has helped my numbers as well.
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  • Posted

    Firstly can I say congratulations on both the massive shift in life style and also losing the weight that was causing you health issues.

    My weight crept up to 190lb which put me in the overweight BMI category and more recently I have just felt uncomfortable with the additional lbs that I was carrying - the winter layers never really came off over the last few years.

    I started the Keto diet early June knowing that my annual T2 review was due in late July so it gave me 6 weeks to see what impact the diet would have on the deep A1C reading. My mmol was down to 38 and the doctor has halved meds and we have agreed to do another test in 3 months. My target weight was 168lb and I'm just 2lb shy of that now and will get there in time for the next blood test. 

    I'm hoping that I can drop the meds completely after the next test and then have to figure out how to maintain everything without continuing the full blown Keto diet.

    I think that the moral behind both of our journeys is that T2 needs to be taken seriously and that you possibly will get back more than you put in, if you make the effort. 

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    • Posted

      I agree.  T2 needs to be taken seriously because it is serious.  The longer one waits to address it the worse the symptoms will get.  And once you get it under control its important to be diligent to stay on top of it. 

      Keto diets can definitely work but not on a continual basis.  Even low carb (Atkins) is tough on a continual basis.   But I know that in my case my body has adjusted.

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  • Posted

    Great story, thanks!  One of the lessons I suggest is that people should get the meter much, much earlier than most doctors (and guidelines) suggest.  Once you can see it going on every day, good actions are much easier to initiate.

    But it's interesting that the weight lifting alone could not push off the insulin resistance, which they tell us is half of type2 diabetes.  Of course with that may carbs/calories per day, the insulin side is an issue, too. 

     

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    • Posted

      Using the meter is a good point.  Once I started using it I was able to learn how my body responds to different types, amounts, and timings of foods.  The meter also shows the impact of exercise.  It’s takes a bit of experimentation at first.  I was also highly needle phobic but overcame that quickly.  These days I can usually anticipate my BG readings within about 10% based on food and exercise.

      The running has a more positive impact on my blood sugars than weight lifting.  However I believe that BOTH lifting and running done in a regimented program provides the greatest benefit.

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  • Posted

    what kind of foods do you eat know , and what do you not , i think this will help others and hope you keep it up . its easy to think it will never catch you until it dos 
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    • Posted

      I used to eat everything pretty much indiscriminately.

      Now I eat a lot of fish, a lot vegetables (especially broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cucumbers, peppers, lettuce), Greek lite yogurt, some peanut butter, sugar free jello at night, some cheese, egg whites, an occasional glycerna bar, some chicken, some beef.  I try to 4-6 meals per day and no more than 1500 calories per day on most days.

      Now I minimize bread, pasta, rice, chips, high carb vegetables (corn, peas, etc), tomato sauce.  I do not consume candy, ice cream, cake, regular soda, chocolate, French fries, etc.

      There is no question that my T2 diagnosis has forced me to be much healthier overall.  I feel that I caught and addressed the disease in the initial 5 year window and by making rapid lifestyle changes was able to have a great impact.

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