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|The first thing that I found out is that
the Diabetic Clinic was of little help when
it came to the question of diet. The diet
sheets that I got from the Diabetic Clinic
were just a slowed down version of my old
way of eating. Disaster was still down the
road--a little further away perhaps, but
I was still going to get there. Within a
week, I was ready to chew a corner off the
kitchen table to get something to eat. Clearly
what was needed was not just a slow down,
but a complete turnaround. To be fair, I
now know that it is not the mandate of a
publicly funded Diabetic Clinic to turn people's
lives around. I have talked to quite a few
obese and diabetic people in the last 9 months
and have found that, for the most part, those
who are obese, or even just overweight, are
very defensive about their condition and
are offended if someone tries to give them
advice. A slim, fit, and non-diabetic health
professional cannot tell an overweight patient
to eat less and expect to get at the problem
successfully. I realized very quickly that
the only one who could change my health was
After reading some of the top people's writing on the subject of diet, I began the most exciting adventure of my life. I brought the kitchen garbage can over to the fridge and got rid of a lot of unhealthy stuff and began to stock up on more healthy foods. At the same time, I began a program of regular exercise. In the beginning, I just walked, but now I have a good mountain bike, a recumbent stationary bicycle, a rowing machine and free weights. At first, I hated the exercise, but now I enjoy it. A vigorous half-hour session gives me a great start for the day. This old boy will not be needing a rocking chair and a blanket for his knees for a long time.
Within 3 weeks of starting this new life style, my doctor took me off the medication for the Diabetes because I was able to keep my blood sugars under control without it. At the same time, he ordered me off the medication for high blood pressure that I had been on for 8 years. My blood pressure was back down to a normal range. Over the summer, my kidneys returned to normal and, by fall, my blood fats (cholesterol & triglycerides) were showing perfect figures. My hemorrhoids went away, along with the diarrhea, constipation, and heat rashes. My gums are no longer sore and my vision blurring sessions have ceased. The peripheral neuropathy symptoms have eased off and the Sarcoidosis condition has improved to the point at which I am taking only a small fraction of the medication for it. The sarcoid had caused a growth in my lungs taking up about 25% of them--I was constantly short of breath. Now, I can take my bike out and pedal 10 miles in an hour and 20 minutes--that's 4 miles of gravel road and 6 miles of surfaced road. When I went hunting in the hills in the fall, it felt good to be able to climb the high ridges again. Last, but not least, my arrhythmia has not occurred for the last 8 months or so.
55 days after starting this new lifestyle, I lost 30 lbs and, by the end of 4 months, I lost 40 lbs andů it has stayed off. Right at the beginning, my wife Leonie decided to join me in this new adventure and, over the summer, she lost 42 lbs together with her matronly look! I went from a 42-inch waist to 34 inches. Leonie went from a size 18 to a size 12. We have not felt this good in 20 years and we are no longer afraid of getting older. We intend to keep our newly found good health. That means that our lifestyle change (healthy eating and exercise) is permanent.
People who just refuse to give up all the things that make them fat have told me that it is not possible to maintain my new lifestyle. For me to allow the lard to return would take a conscious decision that would in effect mean that I preferred poor health over good. That is not going to happen. We like our new life. It feels so good to be able to get back to my knifemaking again and enjoy it.
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