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Monday, November 13, 2006

xita's Story

One of the forums I read daily at the moment is the ADA Adult's Type 2 Message Board. I was late arriving there, as I disagree quite strongly with the ADA dietary guidelines (see Diabetes Authorities and Diet ); so I was pleasantly surprised to see that my preconceptions were wrong. Just a different group of diabetics struggling to gain control. Of course, most had not heard of Test,test,test so I've tried since my arrival to remedy that. Politely, as they are moderated, but regularly and often:-)

Today "xita" - a person I had never heard of before, posted her story. There are so many parallels with my own path on this journey it was eerie reading it - but I'll let her tell it herself.

First, she (I'm guessing from the name) wrote:

I have been diagnosed with diabetes since March. When I was diagnosed my A1c was 10.4 I finally had another test and my new A1c is 5.1 I am so happy I needed to tell someone. I have followed this and other boards for information. I am not sure I would've been able to do it without the internet. When I started this journey nearly 8 months ago I weighed 256 pounds. I am now 193. It's been unbelieveable since I never thought this was possible. I had given up hope on losing weight and here I am still losing weight. I will go back to the doctor in December to see what she has to say as far as medicines are concerned. Currently I take 1000 mg of Metformin twice a day. I've mostly low-carbed it. I eat my meter as they say. It was really hard at first but now I really don't struggle much with my food. I've learned to love vegetables! Anyway, thanks for letting me share my story.

When others answered with congratulations, this was her answer:

Thanks a lot to everyone! I find celebrating milestones keeps one motivated.To answer your question Morris, I'll try to be brief in explaining some of the things I've been doing. At first, I was depressed and didn't know what to do. It took a full month to begin seeing some real results. I felt frustrated because it seemed like nothing I did was bringing my numbers down. That first week was especially hard because I got a meter but I had to wait a week till I had some classes on diabetes.

Kaiser set me up with three classes. They really helped me a lot but so did my research. There are some things that I learned at Kaiser that really helped me with my diet. I learned about portion sizes and that I should always aim for half my plate to be vegetables. They also taught me which foods were carbohydrate and which ones weren't. They told me which vegetables were high in carb and should be measured. This is their suggestion on
how to eat right. I scanned that sheet and put it online for people. One of the suggestions I liked also was balancing the protein, fat and carb. I always try to balance my meal. I made some edits to this food chart. This is the bible I followed at first. I added peas and pasta to that chart as well as coloring the carbs pink. I also suggested having no more than 2 of the carbs during a meal.Another thing I learned at kaiser was to eat every 4-5 hours and if I didn't that's when I should snack. I also snack when I am hungry but I try to have good snacks (a piece of fruit before exercise, nuts whenever).However, that wasn't bringing me down completely.

Then came the internet and I found
Jennifer's Advice.

I started measuring after everything, starting with breakfast because it is the most important meal since we are all more insulin resistant during that time. It was depressing because I didn't know what I could eat, everything seemed to spike me to nearly 200. Once I got it down, I started testing at 1 hour after breakfast and found that I was still spiking too high. I concentrated on not spiking above 140 at 1 hour. I realized that I could only have about 11 grams of carbohydrate in the morning. I went from having a big bowl of cereal to 3/4 of a cup.

At first it was very depressing and I felt like I wasn't eating anything. I had to go buy a small bowl so I wouldn't notice the difference. I also found that Kellog's Protein + cereal was the lowest carb around and it was tasty. I now vary it with some low carb atkins bars. I have protein in the form of either a string cheese or egg beaters. I also have calcium in the morning with some low carb Chocolate Almond Milk. Once I controlled that breakfast number, it seemed like the other numbers worked themselves out easier.

With practice I learned that I can rarely consume more than 20 grams of carbohydrate a meal. BTW, I do not count vegetables (excluding peas and corn and starches) as carb. I eat plenty of vegetables at lunch and dinner. I just can't manage to work them into breakfast much. It was really hard at first but I started finding it easier and easier to do. I don't crave certain things anymore and I never eat things that I can't find nutritional value to. Things I haven't eaten in months: chips, candy, pizza, donuts, cake. I try to treat myself with low carb fudge bars, low carb ice cream, and that low carb cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory (Steve's Low Carb Cafe in the la area also has low carb cheesecake). Some things also don't seem to spike me, home made pancakes (2 small ones).

I also learned to measure, I measure everything that might spike me, at first I couldn't touch black beans and I used to love them. Now, I can eat 1/3 of a cup without problem. And the thing is you get used to the portion size. I used to cry at the thought of eating so little but now a cup seems HUGE to me. And I believe that now that I have a better diet I am a lot less hungry and I eat a whole lot less.

I didn't set out to lose weight, I set out to control my sugar. It's miraculous but the weight just started coming off. One month I lost 10 pounds, some weekends it seemed like I was losing 5. I have now settled down and I am not losing as fast. I lose probably 5 pounds a month. I keep having to set diff goals because I keep meeting them. I wanted an A1c of 5 and I got it!! I wanted to lose 20 pounds, then 30, then 40, then I wanted to be under 200. Now I have a goal of being solidly under 190 by the end of December. I would like to be in the 170s by next summer. I don't want to push it.

Anyway, the keys to weight loss for me I believe have been, portion control, tons of vegetables, NEVER eating more than the serving size of anything (read the labels). I also do not eat fast food with any regularity, I try to eat home cooked meals as much as possible. I haven't been too much concerned with fat, I eat meat every day, I eat cheese. I just eat small portions.

Lastly, exercise, this is the area that I need to get better at. At first and for 5 months, I was doing exercise 3-4 times a week. It was hard to go more often than that. Since the summer, one reason or another has kept me from going regularly. I haven't really been exercising since July. I try to be active in my daily life. I am now motivated to hit the gym again this week since I am out of excuses and newly motivated by my great A1c!

Ok, this was not a brief response at all, hee.

I just want to share with you all and if anyone gets anything out of this, it will make me very happy. My own non-diabetic brother has lost 40 pounds, he was also morbidly obese. My mother has lost 10 pounds as well. Another benefit is that I believe I have prolonged my father's life. He's a diabetic and we didn't realize how badly he was off. Once I learned, I taught him and my mother how to cook for him. He was suffering from neuropathy in his feet and his hands were quickly going as well. He now feels better than he has in a long time, his feet don't feel like they're burning all the time. He went from an A1c of 12.4 to 6.4.

Note: xita later added: "My cholesterol was also borderline high according to my doctor, but I chose not to take medicine and thanks to my low carb dieting, it's now at 160, 93 LDL, 54 HDL, and triglycerides at 64. It used to be 183,112 LDL, 45 HDL, and the triglycerides at 127", now to continue:

My paternal grandmother died recently, she suffered from diabetes but lived into her nineties. My father's brother and sister also have diabetes. My own sister went through gestational diabetes.I have no doubt that my weight and my genes got me where I am. I am 34 years old, suffering from diabetes for god knows how long. I was in denial since I peed a lot and was morbidly obese.

I didn't realize how many in my father's family were diabetic. Still, I am glad I found out because diabetes changed my life for the better. I am healthier than I have been in 17 years. When I looked at bad food, I'd tell myself do you want that more than you want your foot? I would always choose my foot. I don't find that I need that motivation anymore, as much. The difference for me is completely mental. It's not about what I shouldn't eat, it's about what I can't eat. I want to live as well as possible for as long as possible.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Alan, this is xita, indeed a girl :)

Thanks for reposting this, I am glad you've started this blog and that my message spoke to you.

I feel very lucky that there is more information out there for us and that we can do research and find what works for us. After a while I too began to resent the advice of the ADA, but it's true the people there are just like any diabetic who is concerned enough to care. I am happy because you are right already people are responding and saying they'd never heard of Jennifer's advice.

I think sometimes people resist such an aggressive method (Jennifer's advice) because it really is scary at first.

There's so much that I've been through. I felt like I got the information when I needed it. At first getting down from the 200s was so difficult. I would cry. When I first read Jennifer's Advice I wasn't ready to try. I was terrified to test at 1 hour. But I couldn't get it out of my head. I could be doing damage to my body. It's not enough. So eventually when what I was doing wasn't so overwhelming, I started really testing... and at first that seemed so incredibly overwhelming. I hadn't seen a 180 in so long yet there it was... 1 hour after breakfast. More tears... but you know.. I am not so scared anymore. Humans can get used to anything. And I am also grateful that there are so many low carb options for us out there.

Anyway, we have to continue to be advocates because it works for some people. I am not against medication ... I am on it now. I just don't want to have more if I can avoid it. I don't feel like it interferes with my way of life. I think the effects of high BS would eventually affect my quality of life more than low carbing ever would.

Of course, I am fairly new at this and worry the honeymoon will wear off. It has been a while though since I've felt nostalgia for donuts.