“Hello, my name is Jay and I am a diabetic…”
A year ago, those were some of the hardest words I had ever spoken. As a matter of fact, I refused to use the word “diabetes.” For some reason I found “diabetic” more masculine than “diabetes.” I know there are worse things that your doctor could tell you but at that moment I could not think of anything worse. Diabetes maybe influenced by genetics, but my parents were not diabetic. It is most likely a self-inflicted disease, at least in my type 2 case. For 50 years I ate what I wanted and did not exercise as I should have.
A year ago, I weighed 265 pounds. My A1C was 10.5 (normal is between 4.4-5.6.) my triglycerides were 537 (normal is under 150, better yet under 100). My doctor, bless his heart, thinks that drugs are the only answer to disease. When I asked for an alternative he assured me that I would be on drugs the rest of my life. He agreed that diet and exercise would help but pill popping was my new lifestyle. Not what I wanted to hear. Fortunately, I refused to believe it and the rebel in me was screaming, “Prove him wrong!”
For the next 3 months I researched every possible treatment that did not include pharmaceuticals. Through trial and error I established a regimen that I believed would reverse this disease. During this time I stopped taking 3 of the 4 drugs he prescribed.
In building my regimen I focused on four areas. Diet, exercise, supplements, and motivation.
Diet was a no brainer. I eliminated as much sugar, potatoes, rice as I could. I also discovered that grains were not my friend, and sugar substitutes were worse than sugar itself. Pure stevia is the only sugar substitute I use. Maybe the biggest and most important moment for me since the initial decision to beat this disease was the moment I realized that I would never, ever eat what I used to eat in the way I used to eat. Could I ever eat pizza again? Sure but not three times a week. I now eat pizza once a month, or every other month. Because it’s a treat, I only eat the best I can find and I enjoy every single bite! I praise God that I have very little temptations that I cannot overcome. Coffee is my go to alternative to desserts (praise Jesus for Keurig K-Cups!)
Exercise is always a challenge. Can you make it priority so that when life is hectic that you still exercise? At 50 years old you have to start slow, avoid over exercising while avoiding injuries. I found that walking 3 miles a day was key. When I started I struggled to get past the 1 mile mark. Eventually I could easily blow past the 3 mile mark and go 4-5 miles. One benefit that I did not anticipate was how walking strengthened my back muscles to the point that I now have very little back pain. A couple of years ago I stopped playing basketball due to back pain. There are weeks where I play 3-4 nights in a row for 2-3 hours at a time.
In the past year I have tried several different supplements. My favorite is Ceylon Cinnamon. I also find vitamin D is very important especially during the winter. Of course the best method of taking supplements is through the food that you eat. Most diets are focused on avoiding certain foods. I try to focus on foods that not only cause no harm but foods that heal. I find it incredibly motivating to eat good food that I know is helping me heal.
Losing weight and getting in shape is difficult but maintaining is near impossible. Staying motivated is even more daunting. I find this one mantra very helpful.
“Win the next 3 days, win the day, win now. Win every battle.”
I can manage now and up to 3 days but pass that I get overwhelmed by the task. If I win now, win todayand win the next 3 days I will win the rest of my life. One difference in my life this year is that I now recognize that at any given moment there is a potential temptation. That becomes a battle between my appetite to feed the disease or the will to kill the disease. I want to destroy the disease yet at any given moment I can justify giving into the desire of my flesh. When I do give in, I lose a battle. Lose enough battles and you lose the war. I don’t know how many battles I can afford to lose so why lose any? Ultimately, I have found that the taste of victory is so much sweeter then any dessert and it does not raise my glucose level! Proactivity is vital in getting healthy and staying healthy.
Today I weigh 65 pounds less, my A1C is 5.5 (normal), my triglycerides are 88. Am I diabetic? Yes, but I am as healthy or healthier than most non-diabetics. I hope to prove that type 2 diabetes can be cured but that will take me 5 years to prove. By the way, I have been drug free for 9 months. I praise God for my diabetes as I believe it saved my life and I now have a better quality of life. I see this as a microcosm of how God takes something bad and brings glory to Himself. My diabetes was self-inflicted, my healing/progress is God-inspired, God-directed and God-willed.
Happy anniversary to me.
“Hello, my name is Jay, and I am a recovering diabetic!”