How I got Here…
I’m 47 years old. I’ve been overweight since my late teens. Even though I was a competitive swimmer for 16 years, I never had the washboard abs of all the other guys around me. I just started to accept that I was a “big guy” which is code for fat with broad shoulders.
After I stopped swimming in my junior year of college, burning an extra 3,000 calories a day, I quickly added 30 lbs.
When I was in my early 20s, a doctor put me on high blood pressure meds. In my late twenties, topping out at 280 lbs, I found the Atkins diet and over a couple month loss 50 lbs. It was hard and not sustainable so after a few months I quit and the weight came back.
In my 30s, another doctor added cholesterol medication and a diagnosis of Metabolic Syndrome.
In my 40s, I got a diagnosis of non-insulin dependent Type 2 Diabetes. I then tried the Whole 30 and transitioned to Paleo. Again, it worked for a while. I lost 30 lbs but then I stopped and the weight came back. My doctor put me on Metformin to lower blood sugars.
I’ve been going to the same doctor for the past 19 years. He’s a good man. He’s given me fairly typical advice to exercise and watch my diet. Three years ago, I started working out at Iron Tribe Fitness three days a week plus walking. I ate healthy “most” of the time. Nothing moved the needle with my health, my lab numbers, or my weight.
It was pretty depressing. From what I’ve been told, diabetes is a “chronic and progressive” disease that would most likely lead to the following complications:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Nerve damage (neuropathy)
- Kidney damage (nephropathy)
- Eye damage (retinopathy)
- Foot damage
- Skin conditions
- Hearing impairment
- Alzheimer’s disease
Awesome. This honestly scared me. I really hoped there was some thing I could do.
What I’ve Learned in the Last Month
In December 2018, I googled “how to reverse type 2 diabetes”. I found myself going down a fascinating rabbit hole and learning so much that I started getting angry about what my doctor hadn’t been telling me. (In fairness, he probably isn’t even aware of this research).
I first found these two videos that clearly describe my health situation and give a very clear path to completely reverse Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
While there is a lot of detail and research, the path forward is pretty simple:
- Eat a ketogenic diet (high fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrate)
- Use intermittent fasting (time feeding)
That’s it. As Dr. Fung says, it’s all about reducing insulin in your body for longer and longer periods of time. Reducing chronic insulin will reverse metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes.
I’ve spent about 70 hours over the past month watching videos, reading articles, and, most importantly, implementing these strategies.
Over the past 30 days, using these strategies, I’ve lost 24 lbs. Most importantly, I feel like I have a sustainable path forward to lose weight and successfully reverse my diabetes.
How is this Different from the Past?
Although I’ve done various low-carb diets before, none of them stuck. Why is this different? I’ve found a couple of reasons.
Fat satisfies. The Ketogenic diet is significantly higher in fat than Paleo, Adkins, or the like. The additional fat when I eat helps to offset the hunger when I don’t. I’ve been experimenting with different lengths of intermittent fasting (16, 24, 36, 48, hours). After getting fat-adapted, I’m rarely hungry between meals or during a fast.
Fasting changes your relationship to food. Over the past few years, I’ve paid much more attention to what I eat. That creates an over-focus on what the next meal should be. Figuring that out three times every day is exhausting. Fasting frees me up to only have to focus on two, one, or, sometimes, no meals per day. That frees up a lot of time and mental energy to focus elsewhere.
Eating, or planning to eat, no longer dominates my thoughts. Fasting helps remove craving, bring a healthy perspective to eating, and shows you how your body is designed to work.
The long-term benefits keep me committed. Reversing diabetes is not a quick fix. Losing 24 lbs. this month was great but it’s only the beginning of a long journey. Now that I see a path forward, and it’s not only possible but enjoyable, I’m able and happy to focus on the long game.
The possibility of improving my health long-term is exciting and motivating. I want to be healthy for my kids and grandkids. I want to be proud of my appearance, something that I’ve never been able to say as an adult. This keeps me moving forward.
The Lies I’m Coming to Terms With
I’ve been getting lab work and going to doctor visits every 3 to 6 months for the past 10 years. My doctor continues to add medications which only make my body more toxic. Nothing he has suggested or done has actually healed me. That really pisses me off.
I have to go on a self-motivated YouTube binge in order to learn these truths…
- Type 2 Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, and Insulin Resistance are completely reversible. They are 100% a diet-based problem. They are not chronic, progressive, or permanent unless you continue to eat the same way.
- Metformin, the drug I’ve been prescribed to “lower blood sugars”, pulls the glucose out of your blood and jams it into your already glucose-overloaded muscles. Yes, your blood glucose lab work improves while your body becomes more and more toxic with sugar. How is that better??
- Being overweight is not a self-control issue. It is a hormonal issue of having too much insulin in your system for too long. You should have a fasting glucose of 80–100. In the last 5 years, mine has always been significantly higher than that. I’ve been insulin-resistant for decades. That’s what needs to change.
Here are some of the resources I’ve found valuable in my research:
- Diet Doctor: A wealth of information on Keto, fasting, recipes, testimonials. Here are dozens of doctor interviews.
- Dr. Jason Fung. He wrote The Diabetes Code: Prevent and Reverse Type 2 Diabetes Naturally and The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss. He runs the Intensive Dietary Management (IDM) Coaching Program in Toronto, CA along with Megan Ramos.
- Dr. Sarah Hallberg
Amazingly Informative YouTube Channels:
Hope you enjoyed this post.