I'm 31, Asian male and was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes on July 5. I've also had thyroid problems (was hyper for a few years now normal-hypo) and suspecting Hashimoto's. I just started my journey to become healthier and I'd love to share the really nice start I have and feel absolutely positive about.
Before I was diagnosed I already knew I was likely to be diabetic as I had slow healing wounds and got myself some Diastix which consistently turned out brown! For a week or two I was in denial and attributed my elevated blood sugars to my ardent use of Hydrocortisone cream which are known to elevate BG. Eventually I went to a doctor and was referred to an endocrinologist.
Found out my HbA1c was 8.5% which was typical of unmanaged Type 2 Diabetes according to my doctor. I was also put on 825mg of Metformin twice daily. Luckily I have already started on cutting down my carbs especially refined sugars way before my diagnosis. After officially knowing I have diabetes, I became even more motivated to get my body sorted out. After all I have a family of three dependents and I have to be healthy and be there for them.
What am I doing specifically?
Over a period of a month, I've tapered my daily carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams a day. It's hard but not impossible. I had to change the way I think about food. It's also important you understand it's not about eating less. It's changing the ratio of the types of nutrients in your diet. For example. I'm Asian and Asians eat lots of rice and noodles. It's staple. And living in the city means there are by default loads of refined sugars and processed food in your diet. A "normal" diet is unhealthy for a non-diabetic and simply poison for a diabetic.
What I did was I started eating only low GL (Glycemic Load) carbs and gradually reversed the ratio of carbs and proteins while increasing a bit more fat and a lot more fiber. This means whatever used to be "luxury" like meat is now staple and carbs are now luxury. It was easy to keep eating meat at first but eventually my body started to crave for the sweet stuff. And stress makes it even more difficult which brings me to my next point.
Having diabetes also caused other problems like depression which leads to more sweet foods (for the addictive dopamine kick) which raises blood sugar, makes you even more unhealthy and makes you even more depressed and so on… It's not enough to cut the carbs without keeping the mind healthy as well.
I have Borderline Personality DIsorder and am susceptible to sudden and overwhelming emotional outbursts. I practice Dialectical Behavioral Therapy on myself which is a form of CBT for people like me. In DBT there is something called Mindfulness and it's a skill I use whenever I feel stress welling up in me. I immediately stop what I'm doing (unless I'm crossing the road!) and practice mindfulness as soon as I feel the warning signs and whenever I have escalating arguments. The effect is life-changing. I'm now calmer and at the same time have less cravings. I think unhealthy food is simply our reptilian brain seeking comfort and safety (i.e. calories) when our human brain is on a holiday.
Apart from the obvious benefits of exercise it also helps get rid of the glycogen stores quicker. I want to do this because I'm trying to enter ketosis, otherwise why would I be eating a ketogenic diet? I know it's still a medically unproven thing (or is it not?) but since I'm cutting carbs I might as well go ketogenic to lose weight. I'm quite obese. I used to be sporty and slim but I hurt my spine and eventually had to give up sports. At the same time I was starting to be a geek glued to the computer and addicted to soda. So in the last decade I went from 24 BMI to 33.
Since I have back problems and am too heavy to break my knees running I chose to cycle. I have been doing 10 km twice to three times a week. Today is my third ride. I don't have a heart rate monitor but I try to push myself to near my maximum. I'd do it with enough intensity that I'd feel some soreness in my legs the next day. I find that with each ride my endurance improves. Half my ride I'm surrounded by nature so the fresh air and workout works wonders in helping my body release lots of happy hormones. I usually sleep better the night.
What have I achieved so far?
Over the last ten days I went from a daily average of 9-ish mmol/L to 6-ish. I broke my record today with 5.6. I also lost 2kg. The things I can't quantify are an increase in happiness, good moods, good sleep, nice dreams and a decrease in appetite, depressed feelings and emotional episodes. An interesting effect is that my sensitivity to sweetness have increased. It used to take a can of Coke to satisfy my sweet tooth and now even a plain cracker with 5 grams of starch tastes heavenly.
I'll update this post when I have new things to share.
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