Beating Diabetes

Many people have asked me about my weight loss and many know that I am a diabetic.

So, I decided to write this so people can get a head start on reducing their glucose levels and consequently, on the road to losing weight. I also know how difficult it is to start and like me, you won't until you are ready. At one point I really wondered if I would ever be able to do what I needed to do to lower my blood sugars. So, with this comes a prayer that if you are ready, you will start now.

First, go ahead and buy the book, The Diabetes Solution by Dr. Richard Bernstein. Also, you can check his website at I have been a diabetic for about 13 years. When I was first diagnosed, I took it very seriously and began to do what I needed to keep my blood sugar in check. I found Dr. Bernstein's book and got to work. His concept, which seems very simple is carbohydrates are bad for diabetics ALL CARBOHYDRATES. The more carbs you eat, the more medicine you need to take to control your Diabetes. Sounds simple, but amazingly not many in the diabetic community follow this line of thinking. This includes the American Diabetes Association, whose low-fat, high carb diet has been the mainstay of many educators. Dr. Bernstien's plan helped me tremendously. I adhered to the regimen for 2 years. I reduced my blood sugars, lost weight and felt better. But, as so often happens when weight loss is the goal, once you get there, or close, you go back to the old ways. Weight loss recidivism is extremely high, and I was not the exception.

For the next 10 or so years, I did my own thing. I was working hard to lose weight. All kinds of diets, cutting back, exercise, praying which resulted in continuous frustration that I did not have the self-discipline to beat the weight. I had almost given up. But, as a healthcare worker I had witnessed the negative results of poor glycemic control-blindness, kidney disease, amputations, heart trouble, you name it. And here in the South, it's hard to find someone who does NOT have Diabetes or at least is on their way to it.

On October 27, 2009, I'd had enough. But, I realized my most important fight now was not with the weight, it was with Diabetes. I did what I had dreaded for months, pulled out my glucometer and checked my blood sugar 350. Then I did the other thing I dreaded, had the lab work done. My Hemaglobin A1c, (HbA1c) a measure of long-term blood-glucose levels, was 9%.

A quick primer on blood sugars and HbA1c. Normal people have blood sugar below 100, usually around 80-90. Normal HbA1c is below 6. If your blood sugar is above 100, you are considered pre-diabetic. This is the condition that is most treatable, and easy to deal with if you do something about it NOW.

Anyway, I ordered the new and improved Diabetes Solution, twice as thick as before, and got to work. I decided that I would no longer worry about my weight-I would just concentrate on blood sugar. If I could control my blood sugars, I figured the weight would come off as a side effect. This has happened.

The Results:

When I started in October here's where I was physically.

Blood Sugar 350 HbA1c 9% weight approximately 240 lbs., (I had weighed more, but my blood sugars had gotten so bad that the Diabetes caused me to lose weight. This is not good!) Triglycerides were high, I also have high blood pressure & high cholesterol, although they are controlled by medicine.

Now, almost 6 months later, my blood sugar ranges between 98 and 125. My HbA1c is 5.8%. My triglycerides are below normal. I am working on my cholesterol and blood pressure to try to control them without medication, but I'm not there yet. My weight is 207. I haven't seen 207 since high school. (update Feb. 2011 weight is 197)

Many people have asked me what I eat and what I don't eat. The simple answer is "as few carbohydrates as possible." I shoot for less than 25 carbohydrate grams per day.

Here is what I don't eat.

  • Milk
  • Fruit (including tomatoes)
  • Bread
  • Potatoes (ugh!)
  • Sweet Potatoes (ugh! ugh!)
  • Rice
  • Grits (dang it!)
  • Dessert (man!)
  • Sweetener Packs, yellow, pink & blue (they all have 1g of carbohydrate, each pack is 96% sugar)

Here is what I do eat.

  • Cream
  • Butter
  • Beef, sautéed, broiled, baked, roasted
  • Fish, sautéed, broiled, baked, blackened
  • Pork, sautéed, broiled, baked
  • Bacon or Sausage fried
  • Chicken, sautéed, broiled, baked (and any other way I can think of)
  • Vegetables (the ones I like are below)
  • Cauliflower
  • Squash
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Lettuce (any kind)
  • Cucumbers
  • Ranch Dressing
  • Mushrooms
  • Liquid Sweetener (EZ-Sweets)
  • Low Carb Tortillas
  • Pork Skins (I especially like Cinnamon flavored)
  • Diet Drinks

The most important thing is to read the labels on everything you buy.  Never buy low-fat, they always have higher carbs, and usually higher calories. Use lots of spices when you cook. There are many more things to eat in Dr. Bernstein's book, so get it and read it. If you are ready, it will change your life and help you beat Diabetes!

Disclaimer: I am not a physician. Every person is different. All diets, especially for diabetics should be followed closesly by, and approved by your physician. So, be sure to check with your physician before you start any diet or exercise program.