No Celebrity Diet Required

This is for all the people that choose to use a celebrity diet to lose weight or any other special diet. Just eat as the Canada Food Guide advises. I got close to following the guide lines, but the results were awesome.

In March 2015, I had an appointment with my doctor for a routine check-up and review of my blood tests. My blood glucose (HbA1C) level was high. My doctor informed me that I had higher blood glucose than normal but there was no direction as what I should do. At the time, I didn’t know, but I was at the pre-diabetes level of blood sugar. My girl-friend was making or buying lots of cakes, cookies, etc. and serving them to me. I was happily consuming them plus candies, chocolates, etc. I figured that the problem was caused by the sweets I was consuming.

I decided to cut out cakes, ice cream and to reduce cookie and chocolate intake. I figured that it was simple to reduce sugar levels.

I had another blood test on September 19th, 2016. My HbA1C level was 6.35. We are talking almost diabetic level.  Normal HbA1C level is below 5.7; pre-diabetes level is between 5.7 and 6.5; with diabetes level being 6.5 and over.  My doctor prescribed 250 mg of Metformin twice daily.

Another blood test on December 19th, 2016 showed my HbA1C level at 6.45. My Metformin dosage was increased to 500 mg twice daily.

I asked my doctor if there was a program to learn about lowering blood sugar to prevent diabetes and she told me that, yes, there was.  It is a program given by the Quebec government and it is free. My doctor signed me up for the program for people with Type 2 diabetes.

I attended a class in January 2017 where they explained the Canadian food guide and recommended diets for diabetics. I made some minor changes to my diet; eliminating fruit juices, cookies, chips, etc. from my diet.

As part of the program, I had an appointment with a health nurse in March 2017, she informed me that my latest HbA1C level was at 6.55, diabetic level. She also informed me that a second reading at the same value or higher at my next test in three months would define me as a diabetic. When my weight was checked, I was at 200 lbs (90.7 kg), with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 2.5; so I was overweight; fat. Normal BMI is from 18.5 to 25.0; which translates to 144 lbs (65.3 kg) to 195 lbs (88.5 kg) range for my height (6’ 2” / 1.88 m).

That was my wake-up call. Something had to be done. After procrastinating since 2015 I needed a plan. Failing to plan is planning to fail. So, I reviewed all my eating and drinking habits and decided what I would have to do.

The main message from the free course given by the Quebec government was that a Type 2 diabetic had to:

  • Reduce carbohydrate intake to between 165 and 240 grams a day if you eat 2,000 calories per day (225 to 325 grams a day when not diabetic);
  • Reduce calorie intake to 2,150 to 2,650 kcal per day;
  • Reduce salt intake to 1,500 to 2,300 mg per day;
  • Moderate exercise for at least 150 minutes per week;
  • Follow the Canadian nutrition guide.

One other issue I had was high blood pressure. After years of off and on smoking, mostly on, I quit for in September 2016. That helped in reducing my blood pressure. Reducing my weight, reducing my salt intake and exercising more would also reduce my blood pressure.

So, first off, I reduced one of the huge contributors of carbohydrates. One of my problems was the type of beer that I was drinking. Three of the draft beer that I was consuming has carbohydrates levels equal to 75% of the carbohydrates that a diabetic could have daily. I switched to light beers and/or clear alcohol.

So, I created an Excel workbook and imported carbohydrate, calorie and sodium details for all food that I was consuming. The spreadsheets were updated to incorporate new food items when required. I also incorporated the Canada’s Food Guide recommendations.  I keep a daily record of my food, drink and snack intake in the workbook. The carbohydrate, calorie and salt intake values are calculated and the graphs are updated. Along with other test results I was able to produce the spreadsheets and graphs shown below.

At first, I was measuring blood pressure and blood sugar levels every day. Over the months up to now, I reduced the number of blood pressure and blood sugar readings. Now I take measurements once a week.

I weigh myself once a week.

I changed my diet to try to follow the carbs level outlined by the program. Over three months I reduced my blood sugar level (HbA1C) from 6.55 to 6.2 (June 2017). I am hardly ever near the recommended value for consumption of vegetables nor fruits as recommended by the Canadian food guide. Still got work to do!

I could reduce my calorie and carbohydrate intake by a good margin if I didn’t drink, but that is my only vice. I don’t smoke, I can’t sing and I don’t have a girlfriend, so I’ll keep the one vice.

I have a dog, so I presently walk her about 2.5 to 3 kilometers a day. In the summer, I walk the course playing golf, exercise cutting the grass, doing yard work and chores in the house. In the winter I obviously can’t golf or work in the yard. But I still walk the dog, shovel snow and do house hold chores. In the winter I walk about 6,000 steps a day and I am moderately active for about an hour each day. I can also do some simple exercises with 10-pound weights if I want to. So, in the warm weather I can lose weight, while in the cold weather I just maintain the same weight. As I understand it, weight loss / gain is dependant on 80% calorie intake and 20% exercise.

Anyway, by September 2017, my HbA1C level was down to 5.9. Still pre-diabetic but getting there. My weight was down to 175 pounds. I only want to lose 5 more pounds which will melt off easily once I start playing golf in the spring.

Now it has been nine months since I started my new life style and I have no intention of changing it. I never radically changed my diet; I only reduced carbohydrate intake and reduced portion size. I just stopped eating most cookies, cakes, juices, etc., but I’ll still have the occasional treat.

And to finish it off, my latest HbA1C level test was at 5.6; in the normal range. I have stopped taking the Metformin (for high blood sugar) and will monitor my blood sugar at regular intervals.

So, this just shows that you don’t need a special diet. Just follow the Canadian Food Guide and exercise a moderate amount to stay healthy.