Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My New Way of Eating: The Diabetes Miracle

 

I promised you all a report on my new eating plan several weeks ago, and then life got super busy . . . and blogging got pushed to the back burner. We're still busy - Vacation Bible School starts tonight - but today marked the 8-week point and the end of the first step of my new lifestyle, so I thought I'd take a few minutes between dinner and VBS to tell you about it.

First, the name of the book I'm following is The Diabetes Miracle: 3 Simple Steps to Prevent and Control Diabetes and Regain Your Health . . . Permanently by Diane Kress. Diane is a registered dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator who has been working with diabetics for over 30 years. She's also a type-2 diabetic herself. I first saw her book over a year ago on a trip to Vancouver for a ladies' retreat. I stepped into a bookstore during some free time and, as I often do, sauntered over to the health section to see what was new concerning diabetes. I picked up this book, and the premise of the diet intrigued me: rest your pancreas and liver for 8 weeks to "reset" your metabolism and retrain those organs to respond correctly to the carbohydrates you eat. I didn't buy it until this past May. I just wasn't sure I wanted to do something that restrictive (you'll see what I mean in a minute!), and I was afraid I'd start it and give up.

I had the book shipped to Sam & Juliana's and picked it up there when we were in Lancaster for Andrew's graduation. Wes had been telling me he'd do the diet with me, so we decided that when we got home from Lancaster we'd start this new way of eating and give it an honest try. We started May 20th and haven't looked back!

I am convinced. Not only have I lost weight at a slow, steady rate, my blood sugar levels have been absolutely normal since the end of the first week. I lost 12 pounds in the first 8 weeks, which is 1 1/2 pounds per week, completely normal, effective weight loss by any standard. It came off slowly, not 8 pounds in the first week and then 4 pounds over time - it was literally a pound or a little more every week (although I wasn't supposed to be weighing at all! LOL), which makes it easier to keep the weight off.

The first week was rough. The way you get your pancreas and liver to rest is to eat very little carbohydrates at all. Sort of like the Atkins diet, which really bothered me at first, because so many people consider that the diet where you eat a pound of bacon every day or some such nonsense. We were allowed a 5-gram "carb counter" at each meal, which is the equivalent of 1/2 slice of high-fiber bread or a small plain Greek yogurt cup - no more than 5 grams of carb per meal and one 5-gram serving before bed. I can't go into the why of it all in one blog post, but it worked. By Day 5, my blood sugars went down into the normal ranges - as in normal for everybody - and have stayed there the entire 8 weeks (I still take some medication, so my diabetes is not "gone" or "healed"). For lunch we have cheese, meat, and veggies, and for dinner we usually eat chicken, beef, fish, or pork with 2-3 non-starchy veggies, things like asparagus, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, or a salad of some sort. I would usually have a yogurt cup after lunch or dinner, and then we'd have a before-bed snack of yogurt and nuts or some low-carb granola snack that has a net carb count of 5 grams.

I've felt quite well the entire 8 weeks. I only occasionally need a short nap, whereas before I started this eating plan I was taking a long nap every afternoon. I visited my doctor around week 5 for my regular quarterly lab work, and he was very supportive of my eating plan. He wrote down the name of the book, and told me that this type of diet is perfect for a person with diabetes, because our problem is not with metabolizing fat (which is what the typical diet emphasizes), but with metabolizing carbohydrates (the typical diet, even for diabetics, is very high in carbs). He encouraged me to keep eating this way and to add more exercise. He cut my two medications down by one pill each and said I could reduce it more myself if I saw the need (too many low-sugar episodes). He was also glad to know I'd lost some weight. So I have his whole-hearted approval and I'm ready for the second step of the plan.

This second step allows more carbs - 11-20 grams per meal, which is the equivalent of one slice of bread, a 1/2 cup of brown rice, 1/2 cup of a starchy vegetable, such as green peas or rice, or a small piece of fruit. Today I had the most delicious apple! ;) The science behind this step is to train my liver and pancreas to respond correctly to the right kind of carbs, and to help them release and handle insulin in the proper amounts. I feel like I'm being really bad, eating so much carbs - but I'm willing to follow the plan and trust that the author knows what she's talking about. I'm very glad to be able to have fruit again!

I have to admit, I haven't followed anything other than the carb amounts perfectly. I still don't drink enough water - although I'm drinking a lot more than I was - and I haven't been faithful to exercise properly (which the doctor says will help me reduce my medications more). And I'm supposed to drink green tea every day - and I hate green tea! I'm experimenting with ways to make it more pleasant to drink - any ideas would be appreciated!

I can't tell you how grateful I am to my husband for doing this with me. He has lost 26 pounds (some of it due to his tests for cancer in May) and is looking so good! Without his help, I don't know that I would have stuck with the plan. If I'd had to fix one thing for myself and another for him, I would have ended up eating the carby things I would fix for him. I know myself. The remarkable thing is that Wes doesn't like very many veggies, and the ones he does like are the starchy ones, like corn and potatoes. So for him to eat things like asparagus and broccoli has been a huge adjustment for him. His mother even wanted to know where her son was and what I'd done with him! ;) But he is also feeling so much better, even though he isn't diabetic or anything close to being diabetic. So it won't hurt you if you aren't diabetic, but I think you should still probably check with your doctor if you want to do it.

So there you have it. Diane wrote another book before this one, called The Metabolism Miracle: 3 Easy Steps to Regain Control of Your Weight . . . Permanently, which is for anyone who has trouble metabolizing carbs, whereas the one I have is written specifically for type-2 diabetics. If you feel you might have trouble metabolizing carbs, you might check out her first book. It's very similar to the one I have and I am pretty sure it would be a help. Do be sure to check with your doctor!

I knew this would be long, so thanks for sticking with me! I hope it's an encouragement to you to take control of your health if you need to. I'm so glad I did! Feel free to ask any questions you might have. I'll answer them the best I can.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

9 comments:

  1. Wow, that's awesome! Way to go!!! I know it's hard to stick to stuff like that, but it sounds like it has been incredibly worth it for you!

    Kevin and I watched a show on PBS where a doctor talked about "Hunters and Farmers" and which your body type is and what type of diet you should focus on. He is a "hunter" and by eliminating wheat from his diet, eating sensibly, and exercising, he has lost over 20 pounds!

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  2. Thanks for sharing. I should probably reduce carbs just for weight purposes. It would be a big adjustment, though - I eat way too many carbs in general and sweets in particular. I tend to have low blood sugar, especially in the morning - I can't eat just a bowl of cereal or I get dizzy and shaky within an hour (although if I eat it as a snack after dinner, it doesn't affect me that way.)

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  3. I find this so fascinating, thank you for sharing your experience. I tried Atkins once, and my struggle is w/o carbs I felt kind of depressed, so I never made it past day 3. Perhaps if I would have stuck it out, my body would have adjusted. I'm not diabetic, but I am insulin resistant, which I'm sure you know, can turn into diabetes in a heartbeat. I am doing Weight Watchers (online only) and have lost 44 pounds, but I think I still eat too many carbs. I may check out the first book of hers, that you mentioned.

    Oh and I was wondering, what did you eat for breakfast? Did you find yourself getting hungry between meals? Did you have many low blood sugar attacks?

    And I'm the same as Barbarah, above, if I eat a starchy breakfast, I will feel dizzy or shaky within the hour, but later in the day it doesn't bother me as much. I wonder what that means.

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  4. Oh and forgot to say CONGRATULATIONS! on your weight loss and sticking with it. Sorry, I got so excited about your post, I forgot to say that in my first comment. :)

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  5. That book sounds very interesting, even if a person doesn't have diabetes. I'll keep it in mind! Thanks!

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  6. Susan,
    I am glad to know about this book and enjoyed reading your post. I don't care for green tea either. But I love regular iced tea. What I do when I make iced tea is use regular tea bags along with green tea bags(usually 2:1), which makes the green tea not as noticeable. Mix in a little Earl Grey tea and all the better, in my opinion.

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  7. I am so glad that this eating plan is working for you! I know you are thankful that Wes is doing this with you. It makes it so much easier. I will have to check out the metabolism book. I think my metabolism is slowing down as I get closer to 40.

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  8. just saw this on Pinterest. I was wondering if you have recipes that you have come up with on this diet. If so maybe you could pin them to pinterest.
    I have not got the book yet but I am thinking about it as I have type 2 also. It is not high and in fact my A1C this week was 5.1 even after thanksgiving. So I thought I might be able to get off the meds sometime. Just like to cook with recipes though.
    Thanks for the article.
    Nina-Nana

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    1. Hi, Nina!

      I’ve been posting low-carb foods to my Pinterest board called Low Carb Lifestyle. I only have 33 recipes in there, but I add them as I come across them. The author of the book I talked about has been putting some holiday recipes online, and I’ve been adding them. I hope you can find some new recipes that you’ll love.

      Your A1C is doing great! My latest one was 5.7, when I had just come off the first step of the diet. Since then, I’ve had a really hard time sticking to it, so I know my next A1C won’t be as good. I hope my doctor won’t be too upset with me! I’m going back to step one to try to get my body back in balance and lose some more weight. It’s just hard to do that at Christmas.

      I hope you continue to do well!

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Thanks for taking a minute to read my ramblings and leave a comment! I appreciate it!

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