One Year in Remission: 10 Things I’ve Learned

Today, a year ago, I received my blood results, confirming that I had put my diabetes into remission. Finally, I could start to recover from the fear and shock of the diagnosis.

Here are some things I have learned:

1. Contrary to what people say, I did NOT gain back the weight (I originally lost 23KG). My lowest weight was 69KG. It then stayed at 70KG for a while. I then gained back 2KG to 72KG, which seems to be the weight at which my body is happy, for it stayed there most of the year. At one point, it climbed to 74KG, but I did three alternate days of fasting, and it came back down.

2. Most of the battles are mental. Not eating sugar seemed impossible until I did it. I found a sixteen-hour fast impossible until I did it. Then it seemed totally normal and a 24 hour fast impossible until I did it, and so forth. It also seemed impossible to give up wheat bread until I did. Keeping focused on what I wanted to accomplish (remission) and also why I wanted it (to be there for my daughter and wife) were key for me.

3. Stress is a killer and makes losing weight far more difficult. I learned to meditate, practise gratitude and find other ways to keep stress at bay. When stress crept back in, I found everything harder to do.

4. Contrary to what people say, I don’t feel like exercise helped me lose weight or even keep it off, but there are many health reasons to exercise. It certainly makes me feel much better, both physically and especially mentally. For this reason, I keep it up as part of my lifestyle and suggest it to anyone… I do think, however, that it should be done for the joy of doing it rather than to punish yourself for any perceived lapses.

5. Sharing the process helped. I had a friend who was there for me when I needed him. My wife was also very supportive. I felt a lot of shame about the weight and the diagnosis, so sharing wasn’t easy, especially when I wasn’t sure I’d succeed. However, doing so with those close to me made things easier.

6. I have stayed with the low carb diet, even though from my studies, it seems like I probably could up the carbs a fair bit. There are two reasons for this – 1. I figure carbs made me sick in the first place, and I don’t want to go back there, and 2. I hardly ever crave them anymore. When I do, it’s the memory of eating experiences rather than the need to eat any given item. When I have eaten whatever it was I craved, it hasn’t given me satisfaction.

7. I believe enough fat is the key to success with low carb. Not only is it filling, but it is luxurious and makes food more enjoyable. I love food, so I had to find ways to enjoy it to keep going. Fat really helps. Spinach tossed in a pan with a pile of Irish butter is better than spinach. Cauliflower whipped with obscene amounts of cream and then baked with a cheddar layer on top is better than plain cauliflower. You get the idea…

8. Sweet things are WAY too sweet for me now. My daughter is an avid baker, and I’ve tasted some of her efforts. Even a small tastes unpleasantly sweet to my adjusted palate. The sweetness of cream or 90% dark chocolate is about right for me now, and I can enjoy them without worry.

9. Focusing on what I have rather than what I have given up helps me keep my head straight. In other words, rather than moan about not eating the croissant at the coffee shop, I try to enjoy every bit of the coffee and every bit of the company of those with me.

10. There are many benefits for being in remission besides the obvious avoiding of the terrible diabetes outcomes. These include feeling happier, more energy, better sleep (no longer snoring or waking up to pee), less anger, exercise is easier (don’t have to carry around excess weight), head is clearer, etc. I feel better all around and want to keep it that way.

Upwards and onwards!

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *