The Best Kept Secret Of Medicine

best kept secret

I have been off the diabetes drug, Metformin, three years this month. This is after the doctor wanted to put me on a second drug in December 2014 when my A1C was 7.2. That drug was strongly linked with causing liver damage. In fact in June 2015 when I went back, the doctor ordered a test of my liver function before my visit.

What did I do? I made simple lifestyle changes. I watched what I ate. I monitored my calorie intake and I started walking. Which led to running. My weight fell off. I have lost almost 70 lbs from my heaviest weight. Diet change and moving more will do more for you than any pharmaceutical pill. Drugs are designed to control your symptoms, not cure your illness. After all, Big Pharma won’t make any money off you if you’re healthy. If you want to get well make small changes daily so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Small changes lead to big results over time.

Say No To Drugs

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It’s amazing and disgusting how many drug commercials there are on television these days urging you to “ask your doctor about” their latest drug and then reeling off a list of horrible possible side effects. Yes, sometimes Big Pharma is necessary. Yes, some illnesses can only be treated with some kind of medication.
Many of today’s common ailments can be treated by a simple lifestyle change. A good diet and getting off the couch can lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, help lower the rate of heart disease and reverse diabetes.
I was on Metformin for several years to “treat” my diabetes. It wasn’t until I figured things out three years ago and started losing weight through watching what I eat and running that I actually started to see an improvement. Most times drugs are designed to treat symptoms, not the cause of any disease you may have.
You can presecribe yourself a healthier life simply by changing the way you live. Below is something I tweeted.
“Instead of asking your doctor if the latest “wonder drug” from Big Pharma is good for you, why don’t you ask your doctor if a healthy diet and active lifestyle is good for you. Side effects include well being health and happiness.”

A Short Cooking Video

So we’re venturing into new territory.  I’m not really comfortable being on video, but vlogging seems to be the big thing and we’re looking to share our health journey so we’re probably going to be making more of these.  Future vids will be longer and, hopefully, better than this one.  We’ll call this one an experiment.

I’ve been thinking for a while that I need to upgrade my diet.  Good nutrition is vital to a healthy life.  We’re eating more whole foods now, and less carbs and upping our protein.  This is having a huge affect on my sugar levels.  I test my sugar an hour and two hours after eating and my sugar is amazingly stable.  The highest number was 108 and it’s averaging around 90 to 100.  As a type 2 diabetic, this is fantastic.  Since this is working so well I’m going to continue eating this way.  I will be sharing more of my experiences.

April is a huge month for me.  First, I will turn 50.  And I will be in the best shape and fitness of my life.  In fact I have a new hashtag ready to roll out…#FitAt50.   Also in April I will have been medication free for 3 years.  Big things are ahead and I will be sharing them right here.

 

Three Year Fitness Anniversary

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I started my health and weight loss journey three years ago this month. Right around the beginning of March. I was a type 2 diabetic and after a check up with the doctor in December 2014, my A1C was 7.2 The doctor wanted to put me on a second medication for my diabetes. I’d been on Metformin since August 2008. I don’t remember what this second medication was, but when we did our research we found it was strongly linked with causing liver problems, even outright liver failure.

Enough was enough.

I didn’t even want to be on any medication never mind another potentially health threatening drug. That winter was brutally cold, but around the beginning of March 2015 the weather turned milder and I went out every day walking. At first two miles, increasing to three. Then I started running, just very short distances at first using a personalized version of Couch To 5k. I hadn’t even heard of C25K at that time. At the time I started running I also joined a calorie counting app called MyFitnessPal and started tracking my calories. As I started getting serious about running my weight started to fall off. My fasting sugar numbers also started coming down. At the start of all this my fasting averaged 120. By early April it was dropping into the 60’s. I cut my Metformin dosage in half. My FS was still in the 60’s so on April 21st 2015 I stopped taking Metformn all together, but kept monitoring my daily fasting sugar, which stabilized into the low 70’s to low 80’s.

In about 12 months or so I lost 50 lbs, a total of 60 lbs from my heaviest. All through running and counting calories. No special diet. Especially no gimmicky fad diet. And I didn’t have to give up any of the food I enjoyed. It was all about calories and portion control.

These days people seem to be looking for some magic formula, or a magic pill to help them lose weight without putting in any effort. But it doesn’t work like that. Not if you want to maintain your weight loss. I’ve been maintaining for two years now and I am not going back to who I used to be. Not ever.

I created this group to share my story and to encourage and hopefully inspire anyone else who is looking to do the same and who is not afraid to put in some effort. Losing weight is a simple enough process, though I wouldn’t say it’s easy. It starts and ends with the mind. As the old saying goes…

“If you think you can, you’re right.
If you think you can’t, you’re right.”

Your mindset will determine your success. Once you get your mind set right and develop a “no-matter-what” attitude, the sky will be the limit. Let me help you get off to the best possible start.

To join my group The Weight-Loss Mindset on Google+, click here:  The Weight-Loss Mindset

To join my group The Weight-Loss Mindset on Facebook, click here:  The Weight-Loss Mindset

For more information about our coaching services for groups, 1:1 and 2:2, click here:  Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life Program

The Decision To Start

Two years ago I decided to start running for my health. It was one of the most important decisions I have ever made. Because of that decision I lost 40 lbs and got off diabetes medication. I could have just stayed as I was, wishing I was slimmer, wishing I could get my sugar levels under control.

Instead I made a choice. I started small. The first day I ran I couldn’t even run a quarter of a mile. But I was out there every day. Walking and running. At first walking much more than running. Gradually I increased my running time and distance until I was running more than I was walking. Then one day I didn’t need to take a walking break at all. Now I run a few times a week. I run anything from 4 to 6 miles. Sometimes I can run longer distances. It may not seem much compared to some runners but my running has taken me to a totally different place, emotionally. 


I no longer wish I was slim.

I am slim.

I no longer wish I was off diabetes medication.

I am off diabetes medication.

All this because I made a simple choice.

One day while I was walking I chose to run.

Whatever you are thinking of doing, whatever you wish you could do, just start.

Start now.

Start small.

Start while you’re afraid.

Just.

Start.

 

Two years from now you’ll be so thankful you did.

 

running

My Continued Fight Against Diabetes

So after a 5 mile run I came home to great news. I got my bloodwork back before my latest doctor visit tomorrow. My A1C was 5.2. December 2014 my A1C was 7.2 and my doctor wanted to put me on a second medication, one that’s strongly linked with causing liver problems.

No, thank you!

I had already been taking Metformin since August 2008. Well, that was the kick up the butt I needed. I joined @MyFitnesspal and started running and by April 21st (my birthday) I was able to stop taking Metformin altogether. I have been drug free since then. I lost a total of 35 lbs since I started that health journey. I have had no problem maintaining my weight loss.

In June 2015 my A1C was 5.8. Last August it was 5.3 and now it’s down to 5.2.  For those that don’t know, the A1C is a blood test that gives a three month snapshot of how your body’s blood glucose level is.  There seem to be some slight disagreement on the exact numbers but generally if your A1C is 6.5 or higher you are considered diabetic.

To anyone who is type 2 diabetic: You CAN beat it. You CAN get off medication. You CAN live a healthy life. But it isn’t easy. It requires a serious lifestyle change. It requires hard work. It requires dedication. The only question is…are you willing to do what it takes to turn your health around? I did. I’m living proof that you can do anything you set your mind to.IMG_20170627_145423_787

So you’ve just been told you’re a type 2 diabetic. Now what?

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My first piece of advice:

Breathe.  Don’t panic.  Don’t freak out.   Don’t shut down.

Yes, it’s a scary diagnosis to be given.  Yes, it’s a life-changing moment.  Gone are the days when you could eat whatever you wanted without giving it a second thought.  Now you’re going to begin a system of trial and error.  Finding out what sends your sugar into orbit and what doesn’t.  The bad news is there’s no one size fits all.  A food item that spikes one diabetic’s sugar might not really affect you much.  The only way to find out is to keep testing after every meal.  You need to know the worst foods to avoid.  I can tell you common problem foods are pizza, white bread, potatoes and white rice.  And of course cookies, chocolate, cakes, pasta…and the list goes on.

Depending on the severity of your diabetes, there are a range of treatment options your doctor may choose.  You may be put on an oral drug, like Metformin.  That’s the one I was prescribed. There are a range of other pills your doctor may choose.  Or you may be put on insulin.

This is important.  Your doctor is going to give you a ton of advice.  Listen to it.  The absolute worst thing you can do is bury your head in the sand and just ignore your diabetes.  It’s a serious problem and it isn’t going to just go away.  With the right attitude it can be managed, and in some cases it can even be reversed,  I know this because I reversed mine.

There are two main causes of type 2 diabetes.  Genetic and lifestyle.  If your diabetes is genetic then there are fewer options, but it can still be managed.  My diabetes was caused by my lifestyle.  This is the one that can most likely be reversed.  By changing your lifestyle.

Basically I gained a lot of weight and was very inactive.  I didn’t really bother with any kind of exercise.  I was diagnosed in August 2008.  For several years I battled my disease.  At one point it got out of control and my fasting sugar was averaging 170.  That’s another thing.  The best way to see how you’re doing with your diabetes is to test your sugar in the morning before you eat or drink anything.  This is when you’ll have the most consistency.  Because your sugar is affected by not only WHAT you eat but also by HOW MUCH you eat.  That first thing in the morning test will give you the greatest consistency.

In December 2014 I went for a check up.  My A1C was 7.2.  The A1C measures your blood glucose over a 2 to 3 month period.  Non diabetics should have a number less than 6.0.  The higher the number the worse your diabetes is affecting you.  If you’re managing your diabetes you need to aim to keep that number as low as you can.  Mine was high enough the doctor wanted to put me on a second medication.  When we investigated this drug we found it’s strongly linked with causing liver issues.

No thanks!

This was the kick up the butt I needed.  I resolved to lose weight and get active.  In many cases simply losing weight and getting fit can be all you need to do to reverse your diabetes.  I joined an app called MyFitnessPal.  It’s a calorie counting app that lets you track the calories you’re burning.  It also helps you track the amount of nutrients; carbs, sugar, fiber, protein etc you’re eating.  A lot of people dislike the idea of calorie counting but I found it very effective and so simple to do.  The great thing about it is it makes it incredibly easy to maintain your weight loss.  Much better than the usual method of “going on a diet” by denying yourself certain foods until you lose the weight and then going back to your old eating habits…which is what caused you to gain weight in the first place.

A brief word about carbs.  You’re going to hear a lot about carbs.  Too many carbs will spike your sugar.  But your body needs a certain amount of carbs as they give your body energy.  Complex carbs are best.  There are plenty of sites out there that go into simple and complex carbs as this blog is going to be long enough already!  Switching to wholewheat bread and wholewheat pasta is a better option if you simply can’t give up those foods.

The other thing I did was start walking daily.  Walking led to running.  I followed a system called Couch To 5K.  Google it.  It’s a great way to start running if you think that would be a good way to go.  It’s a great calorie burner and the weight just seemed to fall off me once I started running.  Within a couple of months of this my fasting sugar was dropping into the 60’s!  I halved my daily dose of Metformin and my fasting was still in the 60’s.  I came off Metformin in April 2015 and I have been off it ever since.  I can’t guarantee you will have the same results I have but there is every chance you can get control of your disease and maybe you can also get off medication.  Good luck and I’d love to hear how you’re getting on.