‘How did you reverse T2 Diabetes?’
July 2011 marked the start of a MAJOR life change to reverse type 2 diabetes.
I weighed 285. I was taking 3 shots a day, 7 oral meds. I was considered well-controlled in the world of T2 diabetics.
This part of the story is hard to write simply because it was so wild.
I had a basic goal, but no real, detailed plan. I didn’t care. I was learning as I moved forward. If I waited for a concrete plan, for the moment I was totally comfortable with all of the details, I never would have started.
To the casual observer, my journey had to have looked like a total shit show.
But it was MY shit show.
The next 3+ years would be a frantic, chaotic, successful, mess.
I was finally ready to do the work needed to make changes. A much different feeling than the forced enthusiasm and hope that were present when I usually started a new diet.
This was different.
Entirely different. This was soul-deep and relentless and essential. This time I was not driven by fear or despair or guilt.
My desire to LIVE was finally bigger than my fears.
My only goal was to reverse T2 diabetes.
Focused on that thought alone, I picked ideas that provoked and energized me:
- Reverse T2 diabetes. Get RID of it.
- Choice between managing blood sugar or losing weight? Blood sugar. Every time.
- I was not doing this to please anyone. This was about saving my own life.
- No excuses. None. I was going to OWN my journey.
- No whining.
- Give 100% effort.
- Stay open-minded about solutions.
- Think long-term lifestyle shift. New habits, not quick fixes.
Then I spent 3+ years learning all I could about food, exercise and myself.
I eventually got down to a handful of ideas that continue to work;
- Let true belly-hunger be my guide.
- Keep working to have a peaceful relationship with and around food.
- Exercise will be a habit and a priority in my life.
- Stay focused on the healthiest, smartest food choices for my needs and goals.
- I have a small handful of people in my life to whom I remain accountable. They have unconditional permission to remind me to get back on track.
- Food is fuel. Not a reward.
- Say no to social situations where food will be an issue for me.
‘You have come too far to take orders from a cookie.’
I needed to share this background with you. This was the foundation that had to be built if I was going to be successful in reversing T2. I absolutely HAD to cement lifestyle changes for this to work long-term.
“HOW did I reverse T2?”
I talked to my doc and told her my plan; I was going to get off insulin and reverse T2 by eating less and moving more.
She sent me away for 3 months to lose weight, learn how to move more. I KNOW full well she was genuinely skeptical that I would stick with it. I never had before.
I worked hard and then showed her proof of my commitment.
I went back to see her with improved numbers, weighing less, signed up for a 10K with my friend Hannah. I showed her my food journals.
I wasn’t screwing around. I wanted off insulin. She could help me or I would figure it out myself. I told her that, in those exact words. Then I asked her what the plan was.
‘OK. You really are serious. Here’s our plan…”
Getting off of all meds would take close to 2 years.
We decreased insulin in small increments weekly over many months. It was NOT a fast process. I would decrease the daily bolus then we would watch my daily fasting numbers for 10 days or so. IF my numbers stayed steady I could decrease the bolus again… Repeat process.
There were periods of 25+ days where I could not decrease the dosage. I wasn’t losing weight, my diet wasn’t tight enough, I had been sick or maybe I wasn’t exercising consistently. I would figure out the issue, work to get it corrected and we would start the process of decreasing dosages again.
At one point it finally dawned on me that I was trading one drug (Lantus, Metformin, Byetta) for another (food and exercise).
STAYING off diabetes meds would rely TOTALLY on ME maintaining serious lifestyle changes.
At the same time that I was eating better and working my way off of insulin, I started MOVING more. I was a hot, sweaty, mess. All the time. I didn’t care what I looked like working out, or what anyone thought of me. I was starting to see the scale and my glucose readings drop. Seeing results strengthened my resolve and dedication.
I started learning to run. I bought a bike. I met the Gums. I started lifting weights. I met Spencer, my running coach. I was buying REAL running shoes and then actually running in them. 🙂
And then the days I had been working for finally began to arrive…
February 2012 I was OFF insulin.
May 2013 I was off of all meds.
This past October my Doc said the most incredible words…
You are no longer diabetic.
She gave me a hug. Told me I could put my glucose testing kit in a drawer. I weighed 164 and BMI was ‘normal’.
My HgbA1c was the lowest it had ever been. We were both proudest of that single number; it was ALL because of diet and exercise. It reflected my lifestyle change. I had chased a low HgbA1c for over a decade and FINALLY caught it.
I left her office and went out to my car.
Bawled for about 10 minutes.
The odds had been against me. BIG time. I had purposely ignored that fact for several years. It was finally hitting me.
But the BEST feeling of all??? Knowing I had developed solid habits that I could use to keep healthy and active for the rest of my life.
I got home. Hugged and chatted with my dad. Ate a healthy dinner. Got up early the next morning to go for a run with Hannah and Spencer.
(You thought this was THE END? Hell no! I am JUST getting started.)