By Amanda Akesson & Dr. Bret Scher, MD.,
Is it possible to reverse type 2 diabetes in only three months, even if you have suffered from the disease for years?
If you look at Jim’s fantastic results from following a keto diet, the answer is yes! Here he shares his insights and tips for people with type 2 diabetes who want to try keto:
I have learnt that you must change your thinking to change the outcome, and that commitment is also a big deal.
Having had family members and friends with diabetes and seeing how it affected their lives, I decided that I didn’t want anything to do with the disease, and so became committed to making a change.
I put the letter from my clinic, which brought me the bad news, on my dresser and I circled 11.3 A1C in red, and I wrote less than 5.7 (my A1C goal) in green right next to it to remind me. I also made a copy and put it on the wall in my workout room, I liked working out when I was younger, but not so much now. In hindsight I probably should have put one on the refrigerator and pantry too!
Goals need progress measurements that pinpoint the exact problem you’re trying to fix. So I bought a couple glucose meters and put one at work and one at home. This is a very important tool, since it tells you exactly what is happening to your blood sugar, so you don’t have to guess.I also bought some urine strips to measure ketones, and at first I checked daily. Once I had a feel for how I did with the keto strips and glucose meters, I started checking every 3-4 days.
The internet sources I trust are Dr. Fung, a kidney specialist, and Diet Doctor. Do take a look at these and listen to videos. You can type in Dr. Fung on YouTube. There is much to be learned about how our bodies process sugar.
The untruths about type 2 diabetes:
UNTRUTH #1 The ADA (American Diabetes Association) says that “Type 2 diabetes is a chronic, debilitating and progressive disease.” It’s not, and I proved it to myself as well as my doctors, family and friends.
UNTRUTH #2 “You will need metformin for life.” I am 100% off metformin, and I quit it after one month.
UNTRUTH #3 “If you lose some weight, you’ll be fine.” I have lost weight while my blood sugar spiked! All calories aren’t created equal!
What you need to understand
TRUTH #1 Type 2 diabetes means that you have too much sugar in your blood. Period!
TRUTH #2 Your diet got you into this mess, and your diet will get you out of this mess.
TRUTH #3 Diabetes isn’t your fault The US food guidelines have been wrong since 1982.
TRUTH #4 However, it’s your responsibility to fix it, no one else can fix this but you.
TRUTH #5 You can and you will reverse type 2 diabetes, or vastly improve the condition.
What to do about type 2 diabetes?
First of all, it is possible to reverse type 2 diabetes. I did it and so can you.
Personally, I had prediabetes/diabetes for over 6 years. In January 2018 I was 240 lbs (109 kg). In July of 2018 I was 223 lbs (101 kg) and my A1C 7.3. In February 2019 my A1C was 11.3, and my weight was 203 lbs (92 kg). Today I am 185 lbs (84 kg) and my A1C is 5.4.
Here are my thoughts and tips to reduce blood sugar:
1. You must want to do it. I can’t overemphasize this enough. You must want to make good decisions, but you also don’t need to be perfect. During my 3 months I blew it half a dozen times and went backwards for a day or two.
2. Set goals! My goal was to be under 5.7 A1C in three months (under 5.7 is non diabetic).
3. Understand what diabetes is, how it works and what you need to do to get rid of excess sugar in your blood. Learn from the websites and videos which you trust.
4. Monitor your blood sugar (every 3-4 days). Your glucose meter determines whether what you’re doing is working. Your urine keto strips determine if you’re in ketosis. If it’s not working, changes are required. It is also helpful to keep a diary.
5. Exercise is a good thing, but it won’t cure diabetes. It’s a hack that can be helpful.
6. Do intermittent fasting. You don’t have to go crazy. My longest fasts were 16-24 hours, pretty easy to do. This is what forced my body to tap into stored fats and sugars…
7. You need to eat LOW CARBS. Carbs is sugar to your body, and your body doesn’t care if you eat a candy bar or mashed potatoes or an ear of corn.
8. Choose a low-carb diet. I chose KETO, but you don’t have to. The paleo diet, the Mediterranean diet… Eat what you want but – no more than 20-50 carbs a day. You also need some portion control.
The key points to recap: be committed, set an aggressive goal, use your glucose as an honest indicator of where you are at, portion control matters but what you eat matters most, make good decisions and keep correcting often.
My 6-month goal is to weigh 175-180 lbs (79-82 kg), my A1C to be under 5.1, and to have 6-pack abs. The last one is the coolest goal, however I’m gonna nail them all!
Good luck all, you can do it!
Thanks for sharing your amazing story Jim! Not only have you dramatically improved your health, but you are an outstanding example for how others can do the same. Your “truths” and your lessons learned are inspiring and can serve and guides for other following in your path. Keep up the great work!
/ Dr. Bret Scher, MD
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