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.
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