Diagnosed 2 weeks ago. Off to a great start and how I'm doing it.

Pureld
By Pureld Latest Reply 2013-07-17 12:13:08 -0500
Started 2013-07-15 12:53:27 -0500

Hello all,

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?

Reducing Carbs

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.

Being Mindful

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.

Working Out

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.


10 replies

Rebelove
Rebelove 2013-07-17 10:03:52 -0500 Report

I'm taking away some very good things from this post. It sounds like, when you tackle a problem, you go all the way. In the case of diabetes, that can only be a GOOD thing! I look forward to whatever you bring us next…no pressure, though! Be well! :)

Pureld
Pureld 2013-07-17 09:48:48 -0500 Report

I lost another 1 kg and at a rate of about 800 grams a week! Bought a digital bathroom scale to really do some hardcore monitoring. I think the number game is a great motivator.

denipink
denipink 2013-07-17 09:43:32 -0500 Report

Pureld, You are a fine specimen :) Thanks for sprinkling your own, unique brand of Angel Dust on all of us here at DC. Now, where ever we go, we take a little bit of the very best of you!

Denise

Pureld
Pureld 2013-07-17 10:02:47 -0500 Report

Sprinkle sprinkle. I'm glad I can help. I've been hitting 30+ grams consistently over the past few days. Of course I'm not going for zero carbs. I'm listening to my body and I seem to do fine with 30 grams. If I'm working out I'll munch on a extra 5-gram wheat cracker.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2013-07-16 22:51:30 -0500 Report

Hey Pureld,

Thanks for the awesome post. Sounds like you are really taking great care of yourself. I was especially interested in how you are taking care of yourself emotionally, since I am a threrapist. I also use a lot of mindfulness with my clients, and use it my own life as well.

I am looking forward to staying in touch with you and hearing about how you're doing.

Gary

Pureld
Pureld 2013-07-16 23:07:28 -0500 Report

Thanks Gary. I first learn about Mindfulness from Jon Kabat-Zinn in his YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nwwKbM_vJc. Then I started using the book "The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook" (http://www.amazon.com/Dialectical-Behavior-Th...). Most recently I read "Sane New World" (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sane-New-World-Taming...) by Ruby Wax. Other than that I've gone to a few Buddhist talk + meditation sessions including one with Ajahn Brahm.

I've meditated in the past but it never felt like anything more than a relaxation technique. Now I understand what true meditation really is. The mind isn't resting but in a state of serene hyper-consciousness. And you are able to direct that focus at anything. It's this act of waking up the neomammalian complex that quietens the reptilian complex.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2013-07-17 12:13:08 -0500 Report

Hi Pureld,

Thanks for the follow up. I am really interested in knowing what you are up to with this. I am very familiar with Jon Kabot-Zinn, thanks for the video link. And I actually ahve that DBT book in my library, a grteat self-help book. I will check out the Wax book.

You might also like the books of Pema Chodron, if you haven''t been exposed to her yet. She is a great writer.

And yes, a great description of meditation. It's not about nirvana. I always tell clients that meditation brings you into your life, not out of it.

Thanks again, my friend. Let's stay in touch!

Gary

Tender Tips
Tender Tips 2013-07-16 20:47:03 -0500 Report

Thanks for sharing your strategies-it's always helpful and inspiring to hear how others are tackling this challenge of diabetes!

mytwinkidz92
mytwinkidz92 2013-07-15 17:09:07 -0500 Report

Wow- thanks for all those great tips! I appreciate your enthusiasm and how you worked things out for your particular ethnicity and circumstance- well done my friend!

alanbossman
alanbossman 2013-07-15 14:26:27 -0500 Report

Hi and welcome to DC family,great post sounds like you have taken the right steps to help yourself control your BS. Keep up the good work
Alan

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