My Fight With Type 2 Diabetes
- My Story
- The Struggle
- Decision Time
- The Silent Killer
- At Rock Bottom
- Time to Research
- Time to Change
- My Caveat
- Sorting The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
- Foods to Avoid
- Foods to Eat
- Diets Don't Work
- Keeping The Gut Eco-System Healthy
- How I Cook
- How to Eat
- Eat Less
- Sustenance or Poison
- Fasting & Frequency
- Hitting a Wall
- Size Matters
- Reason for Excercise
- My Friend GLUT4
- Don't Need The Gym
- Mind & Body
- My Own Training
- Eating After Training
- The Equilibrium
- Sleep, Zzz, Zzz
- Stress & Cortisol
- Final Words
The first time I found out that I had type 2 diabetes was in 2010, I was in the BMI Edgbaston Hospital for hip surgery, which consequently had to be cancelled due to high blood glucose readings and was sent home without the operation. This came to me as a major shock, I was in denial for quite some time.
For 4 years I struggled to get my diabetes under control, it was a bit hit and miss. My GP called me into the surgery one day to tell me that my drugs (Metformin, Gliclazide and Pioglitazone) were not working that I'm going to need to go on insulin to control my blood sugar levels and if I carry on the way I am, I'll probably live another 15 years. My blood glucose levels were the worst in the whole surgery.
I went home very depressed that day, thinking this is not what I wanted to hear. I had to put my thoughts into perspective. I have 2 young children who need their dad and also the last thing was I didn't want to be a burden on my family, should I lose my eye sight or any of my limbs.
The thing with diabetes is that it's a slow and silent killer, damaging you from the inside, because you don't feel any pain. With pain you'd at least know there is something going wrong, but with diabetes you only find out after the damage is done.
Although I was doing physical training and I was getting nowhere with my weight loss, I couldn't understand why!
From the beginning of 2014, I started researching and looking into ways to control my diabetes. I discovered that the reason why I couldn't lose the weight was because of my medication, it was keeping my insulin levels elevated. When insulin levels are high it's impossible to lose weight.
It was time to make drastic changes to my life style. The only reason I could see for carrying on taking my medication, was so that I can continue living the same old life style. From November 2014, I stopped all my medication and adopted a very low carb diet.
WARNING: I do not advise anyone to stop their medication and follow this method. Please consult your GP for advice. This is only my own personal journey which I took and was fully aware of the risks and implications. I am NOT a medical professional.
I experimented with different foods and how they affected me by checking my blood glucose levels whenever I ate something different. After a lot of testing, I knew which foods were good for me and which ones were bad.
I don't eat rice, pasta, bread or any grain products. No potatoes, fruits or fruit juices, anything that is high in carbohydrates. I never touch diet drinks or low-fat products as they are full of sugars and artificial sweeteners.
The food that I eat now are full fat products, wholesome foods, organic where possible. Moderate amounts of protein, meat, fish, poultry and eggs. Plenty of leafy greens, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli and various other vegetables. Very small amounts of carrots and onions.
The problem with dieting is that, this is a short term goal. After you reach your desired weight, most people slowly slip back to their old ways and put the weight back on. The key thing to remember it's about life style change, can I maintain it for the next 20 years? That should be the plan!
Full fat yogurt with live culture plays an important role in my diet, I'm always conscious about topping up the good bacteria. I have to be careful with fat as they are high in calories. I try and eat all the healthy fats like nuts, seeds, cheese, avcados, etc.
The way I prepare my food is mainly by shallow frying with Kerry Gold butter, grill or I steam cook the veg, I don't use oils.
It takes about 20 minutes for the brain to register food in the belly, eat slowly and allow all your senses to experience the food that you’re eating. By chewing well you help your digestive system with the breakdown of the food, making it easier for nutrient absorption.
Do not allow yourself to go too hungry, otherwise you'll eat more than you need to. If I know I get very hungry at 2pm then I'll eat 1pm. Do everything you can to eat less, even if it means changing your dinner plate from normal size to a bit smaller size one. After about 6 weeks you'll find that it's very difficult to overeat, if you do you get a sickly feeling. What happens is your digestive sack shrinks and you feel full on less, a bit like a gastric band effect.
My relationship with food has changed totally. Food can be a poison or it can be to heal, it all depends on the choices you make. Before I use to "live to eat", now I "eat to live".
I only eat three meals a day, that is breakfast, lunch and dinner. In between those times I go into a fast mode, there is NO snacking. Only water, black tea, green tea or black coffee is allowed.
Following this diet I lost quite a bit of weight, but it came to a plateau. The stubborn belly fat would not budge, despite all the hard training that I was doing.
Later on I realised that the flaw in my plan was "portion size", although I was eating all the healthy foods, there was simply too many calories. You can never burn-off calories with just exercise, you would have to spend the whole day just exercising just to keep things in balance.
Exercise plays a very crucial role in control of type 2 diabetes. Exercise has many functions, one of which is to regulate blood glucose levels. If I see my blood glucose high for any reason, I would do a couple of resistance exercises just for a few minutes. That brings my Glucose levels down pretty much immediately.
This protein is my best friend, it brings the glucose into the cell without the need for insulin. Just what I need, through muscle
contractions, this activates GLUT4 (a Glucose Transporter) to come to the cell surface (membrane) for the uptake of glucose from the
blood stream for reloading the cell with energy.
Type 2 diabetes is being insulin resistant, the muscle cell doesn't allow it to come in anymore. Muscle contractions put the cell in a predicament where by it has no choice but go out hunting for glucose in the nearby vicinity.
Resistance training can be done using weights, body weight, isometric or dynamic tension exercises, you don't need to be in the gym. There are multi-level adaptations to these exercises going from not difficult to extremely difficult.
I like to do my training in the morning on an empty stomach in a fasted state. I find that I getter better mind and body connection
When I'm doing the training, I have to keep the mind focused on every move as though I'm doing it with my mind and breath. I engage every muscle group in the body even on something like single arm bicep curl.
Before I start any training I always go through some deep breathing techniques to get me into the mood for training. Without oxygen
there is no fire, oxygen helps in the fat burning process.
In my everyday life, I use 2 types of breathing. When I'm in busy areas I do shallow breathing because of the polluted air. When I'm in the park or near lots of greenery I go into deep breathing mode. This is something that I just do naturally now.
I use a training programme that incorporates resistance and cardio and HIIT (high intensity interval training) at the end. The reason
why I do it in that order is because I know I'm running on an empty tank.
Fat is my body’s next source of energy it needs to be accessed by doing the resistance training to enable the breakdown and make it usable. Now it's in the blood stream, 86% of fat leaves our body through the lungs, meaning we breathe fat out, therefore cardio is an essential part for expelling the fat. Anything not used will go back and get stored. We know with HIIT Training fat burning goes on for longer even after the training.
What I do is, let's say I'm on the stationary bike. If I'm going to do 12 x 3 minutes rounds on the bike. For 2.5 minutes I'll do the cardio in aerobic (with air) mode and then the last 30 seconds in anaerobic (without air) mode, as fast as I can. Then come off the bike to do some body weight exercises (upper, middle and lower sections of the body), then repeat the process again.
I recommend diabetics to eat straight after the training. I found with myself it seems to have a lowering effect on the blood glucose. My breakfast is 3 scrambled eggs made with 10 grams of Kerry Gold.
By combining diet and exercise I'm managing my type 2 diabetes, but being diabetic and trying to lose weight is a mountain of a task, because of the insulin issues compared to a normal person. We have to find the right balance between what we eat, how much we eat, exercise and fasting.
Sleep is very important for us too, this is the main time our hormonal activities take place for any building and repairs. We need to support our immune system as much as possible.
Too much exercise can stress the body, signalling in the production of cortisol, which then acts upon the liver to release more stored
sugar into the blood stream, making it think that it is in a "fight or flight" situation. It's a domino effect, causing insulin levels
go up because of the sugar, now the body has gone into a "store mode" and you will never lose weight.
We need to avoid things that cause us stress and anxiety, that includes being around negative people, try to be around happy positive people.
This is why drinking water is so vital for us, we need to keep hydrated before training, during training and after training. If the body detects dehydration, it will go into stress mode and you will never see the fruits of your training. Drinking water helps curb hunger pangs too.
My main target is to put diabetes into remission by cutting down my body fat, especially the visceral fat and liver fat that has
accumulated over the years from bad eating habits.
Since being on this life style change of diet and exercise, I never felt so better. I cannot remember last time I had a cold, flu or even a headache (touchwood). I don't even bother with the winter flu jab, never had it?
Some people will read through this and think "yeah right, not for me mate!" which I understand.
There are those who truly want to do something about it, but don't know how or where to go, looking for a way out. I'm sharing my journey for exactly those people and I'm there to offer any help I can to them.
There are others who will think, it's in the family, has been for generations and that's how I'll go down as well. Diabetes is rife in my family too. The thing to remember here is that, the gene has to be switched on. The gene lays dormant for many years, until we present the right environment and only then it switch's on.
For example we hit the age of 40, we've bad eating habits, we've sedentary life style, mid-life crisis and the waist size is getting bigger. I think you've got the picture. So what can we do to turn it off? Do the opposite. Change you’re eating habits, more exercise, lose the weight, you'll feel good about yourself, now you're much happier. You've just changed your environment.
Don't let diabetes dictate your death. You just need to be motivated to change a few thing here and there, do it gradually and live a normal life. Good luck and my best wishes to you all.
I've come from 3 drugs to no drugs, from high diabetes to pre-diabetes. The way I've done it is by putting my family before my plate, I put theirs needs before mine. Change is what we need, the question is how BAD is YOUR need.
There is a lot information out there, so go and get clued up, do something about it. If you haven't gone for change, then you are following the normal path, you already know the outcome. Do something different, by doing so you are removing yourself from that predictable path.
I do what I have to do, like I said for me it's like climbing a mountain. I don't look at the top, I see where I am and I keep going, I take small steps, baby steps, sometimes I run, but I keep going.