2.15.2013

Diabetes as a Way of Losing Weight Review

Since the moment I hit puberty I’ve been a big fat fatty. I mean huge. I can’t tell you how many times in my early teen years I was asked what my bra size was. Not sure why my mom was so concerned about that either. Near the end of my sophomore year of high school I decided I really wanted to hold hands and kiss and possibly even more with a girl. So I set out to lose my excess tonnage. That summer I lost 60 pounds and grew 7 inches taller. I went from a size 42 waist to a size 32. Let me tell you, it was awesome.

I managed to keep that weight off all the way up till my honeymoon, and then it all just started packing back on. We had 3 children within the first 3 years of our marriage and I gained the same “baby weight” as my wife but never lost it with each birth, just added to it with each subsequent pregnancy. By the time I was 34 I weighed over 300 and had actually shrunk an inch in height. It was as if my very bones we’re on strike due to the excess load put upon them.

I went on another strict diet and exercise program for 14 months. I ended up losing 75 pounds, down to a mere 265 which was still morbidly obese but was no longer super morbidly obese. More than that though, I felt healthy. I could climb stairs 2 at a time without breaking a sweat, take walks and dance with my wife and had hope of living long enough to see my grandchildren. Then…I just stopped.

Over the next 7 years I packed it all back on again. This leads me to the new and revolutionary new diet program I have recently discovered. Diabetes. Over the last 12 months I have been able to eat anything I wanted in whatever quantities I wanted. I never walked more than 50 steps in one go (and that normally required a 5-10 minute rest period). And I was happy as a clam. There were 2 side effects though. One, I found myself peeing constantly. Every 90 minutes about a gallon of urine was released. This of course made it to where I was drinking gallons of water every day. This was no big deal except on road trips. The other side effect is I lost 52 pounds. That is 100% accurate. I didn’t even realize it until I got sick and went to the doctor and weighed in at 285. I couldn’t believe it, so I had them weigh me a 2nd time. 1 pound a week for an entire year. Wow. Best diet ever.

Then I went to the doctor for my annual physical. She drew blood and took note that my blood sugar count the year before was 124. I guess if you measure above 126 twice in a row, 3 months apart then you are officially diabetic. But hey at 124 I must be perfectly healthy. It was right after this 124 blood draw that I started noticing I was peeing and thirsty all of the time. 1 year later and the 2nd set of blood work came back. My doctor sounded completely panic stricken when she insisted I come back in immediately to go over my blood work. My blood sugar level was 495!

She said this explains the weight loss. See your blood cells need sugar in them in order to give you energy and help your muscles rebuild, etc. So your pancreas releases insulin which helps sugar in your blood go into your blood cells. But when you’re a big fat fatty like me your blood cells get so clogged up with fatty tissues that no matter how much insulin your pancreas releases the sugar won’t go into the cells. So your body thinks (quite stupidly) that you don’t have enough sugar in your system so it attacks your fat build up and puts that into your blood stream also. But that sugar can’t get into your cells either. Now that sugar along with the pound bag of M&Ms you had for breakfast is floating around your blood stream and your body can’t absorb it so it jettison’s it into your kidney and you pee it out. This makes you weak all the time, pee all the time, yes you lose weight but you are destroying your kidneys and your pancreas will soon realize that it no longer serves a purpose and will stop producing insulin. This is the reason diabetics normally have to go on insulin.

So as fantastic as the weight loss has been it just wasn’t worth risking organ failure and death or at least having to stick myself with needles every day and the potential for insulin shock, etc. So for the last 6 weeks I’ve been on 2 different medicines (which will be reviewed at a later date), I monitor my blood sugar twice a day, and I’m on a low-carb diet (as directed by my nutritionist). The side effect of all of this is I’m hungry all the time, can’t eat what I want, feel miserable all the time (the side effects of the meds are horrific) and I’ve actually gained 8 pounds back. If this isn’t irony I do not know what is. But my blood sugar is down around 120 so I've managed to stave off death and dismemberment for a while (this is always a bonus).

For weight loss I have to give diabetes 4 stars, I’m sure the same would apply to cancer, most major organ failures, and ebola virus. Considering that it’s KILLING you though and I have to change that to a Big Fat Zero. And if you're experiencing unexplained weight loss, frequent urination, constant unquenchable thirst then for hell's sake go see your doctor, immediately.


3 comments:

Barbara said...

Sorry to hear about the diabetes. You might want to read Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis. Check out wheatbellyblog.com.

Once you get off the appetite stimulating effects of the wheat, you shouldn't be so hungry.

Good luck with your treatment journey.

JustJim said...

Barbara thank you for your kind words and advice. Things are continuing to progress well. My 2-a-day grilled breakfast sandwich habit is not helping but isn't something I'm willing to quit yet!!

RJ said...

I just read your blog. My pancreas stopped making insulin all of a sudden for no reason in 2005 and I became an adult type 1 diabetic overnight. I have been living with it for 8 years now and it hasn't been easy to make all the right choices but my levels have been good and there are a lot of lower carb/reduced sugar alternatives out there for you to help control your levels. Suddenly you will realize how much sugar is in EVERYTHING from Ketchup to Fruit Juices to Spaghetti sauce (and don't even get me started on how bad most BBQ sauces are!). Still, you will win the fight if you are dedicated to it.

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