In December of 2015, at the heaviest I’d been -260lbs, I was diagnosed with Type2 diabetes. Prior to that, I had been having a few different health issues but didn’t know what to attribute them to. Once I received my diagnosis, all was made clear. I didn’t really begin doing something about it in earnest until January of 2016.
It was tough in the beginning. The initial diabetes meds I was put on had me feeling like I had a weak bladder, or was incontinent. I would also experience energy dips which left me feeling drained and foggy. So, I decided to see a dietician who specialized in dealing with clients with diabetes. She told me to take half of my medication in the morning and half at night to combat those energy dips. She also had me eat measured doses of carbs throughout the day to deal with any potential sugar spikes. That was working!
Over two years my diabetes check-ins with my GP would yield different results based on how strict I was with my diet. I would dramatically drop my A1C one visit, then it would be back up the next. Eventually I would begin going to a park around the corner from my job, with my TRX kit, and eventually some sandbags, to get a workout in. I would get out there 3-4 days a week. But, I knew I could do better and that those park workouts weren’t my best effort. I have shin pain and needed some cardio which was easier on my legs so I decided to join the gym across the street in December of 2018 and go 5 days a week. A friend from work joined me and it was on! We went 5 days a week religiously and gains were being made. I was dropping pounds and inches and gaining lean muscle. This brought little change to my diabetes which wasn’t high, but I was still diabetic according to my A1C levels.
Up until May of 2019 I was in the gym 5 days a week, but in May I decided to try something new and eat a diet which consisted of 80% plant-based foods, 20% whatever else I wanted to eat. That was the initial plan but a health issue caused me to have to eat vegetarian all the time. I was still in the gym 5 days a week, but now, I was eating a majority plant based diet, and enjoying it to be honest. Because of that health issue, and the fact that I’m stubborn and wanted to see if a plant-based diet could really affect diabetes, I stopped taking ALL MEDICATION. I don’t recommend anyone do that, but I did. And that’s when things changed.
My most recent check-in, my GP let me know that my blood work had my A1C low enough that I no longer needed a metformin prescription. My doctor was astounded and told me that I was one of only a couple of his patients able to reverse that A1C like that WITHOUT medication. I beat diabetes.
Now here’s the thing… I didn’t stop eating ice cream (occasionally). I didn’t stop eating certain things I’d enjoyed. I didn’t drink soda, or eat a bunch of sugar added foods, but I didn’t cut out certain comfort foods. I even had a Fatburger- a turkey burger, but with the chili and cheese and all the fixings. I ate at Salt & Straw multiple times. I didn’t do anything extreme! I really ate sensibly and treated treats, well, like treats. And I kept those treats’ portions sensible as well. When I went to Salt & Straw, instead of having two scoops, when I wanted two different flavors, I would have their kid size single half scoops. That would be two flavors, one half scoop each in the childrens’ size. But, what I found was that was actually more than enough for all 230lbs of me.
I was going to wait until November to share this information but this is a journey and I figured I would take ya’ll along with me through it instead of doing the “scientific” thing and waiting until a second check-in to make sure my results held. I’m still on blood pressure meds, but I’m confident that I’ll be off of those soon as well, as long as I keep eating like I have been.
In another post, I’ll share some of my favorite recipes that I found and have been cooking which have allowed me to adopt a “flexatarian” lifestyle. People laugh when I use that word because I wouldn’t consider myself vegetarian yet. I love fish and lamb too much still! Oh, and oxtail. Now, the vast majority of my meals are entirely plant-based, but I have had some fish, some lamb, beef a couple times and when Popeyes finally has their new spicy crispy chicken sammich in stock near me, I will be having that- spicy crispy chicken sammiches are my jam. Specifically Wendy’s spicy crispy chicken sammich!
So, that’s it. No more metformin. No more finger pricks. But I know that it can come back if I’m not intentional about my lifestyle and to that end, I’m a “mostly vegetarian” for life now. Who knows, one day I may go full vegetarian, but today I will tell people I’m a “flexatarian.” If you have any questions at all, leave them in the comments below and I’ll answer them. I hope this helps someone because there are far too many of us out there struggling with Type2 for quite a few reasons. Not just diet.