Recently, I watched a video by a doctor who works with diabetics all the time (for a jaw-dropping fee) and helps them “reverse” their diabetes and get off their medications. He said that people who are successful at the very challenging task of dealing with their diabetes and losing weight share three key traits.
Obviously, I wondered if I have these all-important traits, which is why I was watching in the first place. The first trait is that you have to be desperate. You have to have reached the point where you think, “Enough is enough. I can’t live like this anymore.” I reached that point a year ago, on February 6, 2017, when my doctor said, “Your pancreas is wearing out.” I was so done with following the mainstream advice and seeing myself get worse and worse. Many of my diabetic friends and acquaintances have not reached this level of desperation yet, and I have made no effort to “convert” them to my plan of action. You have to be desperate to be willing to attempt it!
The second crucial trait, according to this doctor, is that you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to get better. I would actually add to that. A year ago I made a solid commitment not only to do whatever it takes, but to keep doing it for the rest of my life. One of the ground rules I set for myself was that I would not take any sort of “temporary” measures to deal with my health issues. Anything I did, I had to be willing to do for the rest of my life. Had I known what I was really getting into, I might have been daunted, but the decision had already been made.
The third essential trait was simply a willingness to fight for your own health, and to keep fighting no matter what happens. I have been fighting hard for a year now, and I don’t see things getting easier anytime soon.
Today was a case in point. Since it was a holiday, the kids wanted to do something, and we all ended up driving to a nearby town, where I dropped Spencer off to play tennis with his buddy Britton. I took Lucy and Jasper out to eat, and had to sit there with my cup of water and watch them eat food that I would have dearly loved to have, but today was a fast day so I had to be strong. Later, I got them some frozen yogurt for dessert and again had to watch them eat while my own stomach rumbled.
Hardest of all was when we picked up Spencer, and he was ravenous, so we went through a drive-through and then he sat beside me eating ice cream and very fragrant French fries while I tried to focus on driving! Do you have any idea how much I miss French fries? But I can’t have a single French fry any more than a recovering alcoholic can have a sip of wine for communion. (And lest you think that I shouldn’t have let my kids eat in front of me—well, why should they be punished because of my life choices?)
But my point is, I committed to doing whatever it takes, even if it means having to watch other people eat food I can’t ever have again, and even if I’m really hungry, because part of what it takes for me is regular fasting. On days like today, I have to give myself some little pep talks. First of all, no matter how tempted I may be to eat French fries or frozen yogurt, no food in the world is worth going back on insulin for. That makes it a little easier to resist temptation. I don’t ever want to buy another vial of insulin or have to inject myself again.
Then comes the realization of how fortunate I am. I am not helpless in the face of my disease. I know what to do, and I’m doing it. So many people like me are stuck watching their health decline, and they’ve been told it’s inevitable, and they don’t even know they could do something about it. I am so thankful I figured this out before I got any worse!
Which brings me to an interesting point. After a year of strenuous effort, I have reached the point where I can honestly say I am thankful for my diabetes. I’m thankful to have it, and I’m thankful I found out about it instead of just dying of a heart attack. Here are some of the reasons why:
—I have been SO motivated to beat this that I’ve figured out what it really takes for me personally to get healthier.
—I have had the resolve to eschew all refined carbohydrates, which aren’t good for anyone, but especially not for me.
—Thanks to what I’ve learned and put into practice, I should be able to stave off heart disease, dementia, and cancer for many years to come.
—I have lost 75 pounds and I think I finally know how to keep from “finding” them again, which is what has happened every other time, no matter how faithfully I stuck to a diet.
—I have learned that I need very little food to sustain myself, and that frequent fasting is a very powerful secret weapon, because it helps me lower my (natural) insulin levels.
—I have learned that food is really not all that important. Holidays and other celebrations are about being with people I love, not about stuffing myself with carbs until I can barely waddle from the table to my armchair afterward. I never have that “painfully full” feeling anymore, and I sure don’t miss it.
Tomorrow, I go to the doctor for my six-month checkup. I don’t know if my test results will meet my hopes and expectations, but whatever happens, I know I am so much healthier than I was a year ago, and if anything, more determined than ever to keep working toward even better health.