Wellness: I Reversed My Type 2 Diabetes and Changed My Life
On President's Day 2010, my family and I set out to go on a few mile cross-country ski adventure at one of our Cleveland Metroparks locations. Unfortunately, I quickly learned I would not be a participating member of our group. I was a fat, out-of-shape, 42-year-old diabetic man whose body would not and could not keep up with his beautiful, healthy family. Having been told the year before by a doctor in Breckenridge, Colorado that, due to contracting high elevation pulmonary edema (HAPE), I needed to cut short another family trip and immediately head back to Cleveland's lower elevation, this was my last straw.
Several days later I began a program that dramatically affected my quality of life and changed my entire outlook on how diabetes and obesity can be controlled.
The Lifestyle 180 team at Cleveland Clinic has given me my life back and changed the entire dynamics of my family. Within three weeks of beginning to work with the team, I dropped more than 16 pounds, was taken off of ALL of my diabetes medicines, and found I was beginning to learn how to recognize and release tension. My health was beginning to return. Even though I had seen multiple dietitians and nutritionists, and been taught for many years how to count carbs and read labels, I had not been able to get control of my disease. The simple and repeated messagea of Wellness Center’s chef Jim Perko and registered dietitian Kristin Kirkpatrick of eating nothing with more than two legs (I thought – “No red meat, you've got to be kidding? I'll starve"); no food where sugar is listed in the first five ingredients (I had to throw out most of what was in my refrigerator and cupboards); and eating only whole grains is very easy to follow.
Over the course of the summer, I have gone from a waist of 126.5 cm. to 103cm. In addition, I was part of the Cleveland Clinic Pan-Ohio Hope Ride team and rode my bike from Cleveland to Cincinnati (another truly amazing life journey) I also ran in the Chagrin Falls Blossom Time Festival with my family as well as Race for the Cure.
This weekend, I will compete in my first ever triathlon at Portage Lakes. Every where I go, people will stop and ask me what I have done to change my life, and how it has impacted me and my family. Cleveland Clinic’s Lifestyle 180 program has been a gift from God guided by some extremely talented professionals who care about you and your health.
I am now once again an athlete who fits the image of his profession as a financial advisor and auxiliary police officer. I no longer ask myself, “Will I be around to see my son and daughter grow up?” But rather, I ask, “How can I encourage others to take the small steps that will give them a whole new outlook on the world?”
Jim M. lives outside of Cleveland.
©2010 ShareWIK Media Group, LLC
Help for a root cause of some Type II Diabetes is Free: Use It
Granted, I am not a doctor, and I do not profess to be an expert in any aspect of nutrition or diabetes. But I do have a parent who died of adult-onset diabetes and alcoholism, which is a pretty danged lethal combination. And I have, at various times, my own issues with compulsive behaviors, including those involving food, especially sweets.
A friend says we chocoholics/sweet toothers “seek sweet things because we are 'missing the sweetness in life.'"
Ending up with diabetes would not be sweet. This much I know.
My dad’s diabetes required multiple insulin injections daily. Growing up in the South, with sweet tea that was its own glucose tolerance test, it was amazing his diabetes showed up as late in life as it did. He was overweight, and loved that syrupy sweet tea as well as those little Co-Colas that he spiked with bourbon. He also loved to eat that white-flour, fat-and-salt-laden diet so typical of the South in the Depression: biscuits with gravy, fatback, sorghum syrup, plus anything fried, pickled, cured, or smoked. He ate that way until he died, and died, in part, because he ate that way.
When he quit drinking for three months, his doctor told him that if he ever started drinking again the alcohol (sugar) would kill him. He started back the day before Thanksgiving 1981, and was dead within 24 hours. The change in his body chemistry was just too much, too fast.
I have often thought how different our lives would have been had my dad been willing to reach out to Alcoholics Anonymous. While I have been told there was an outpost of AA in my hometown, I would bet that there was not a lot of awareness of Overeater’s Anonymous, and the healing, life-changing opportunities this practical and spiritual, and free program offers to help anyone with food issues, whether they are bulimic, anorexic, morbidly obese, or just aware that obsessing about food takes up too much of their time.
Writer Lee Culver, on the website Nutrition for the World, says it well:
Eating and food are important parts of every culture. However, for many, food also becomes a means of relief in times of stress. Often that food is high in calories and fat leading to weight gain, obesity, Type-2 diabetes and other health related issues. Overeaters Anonymous provides group support for those seeking recovery and offers them new tools to cope with the triggers that once drove them eat in a way that felt out of control. There is not one personality or body type that is representative of someone seeking recovering in Overeaters Anonymous. However, all who join have found that they are powerless when it comes to food.
“There are no weigh-ins, no fees, and no pre-packaged meals for sale at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting. The organization does not offer a quick fix or a one-plan-fits-all program toward weight loss. Overeaters Anonymous recognizes that there are often many complicated reasons for compulsive over eating. At each meeting members share their successes and struggles and find support there in a group setting. The 12-steps and 12-traditions lead the participant to examine areas of their lives to find the emotional sources that lead them to over eating.
WHAT I KNOW:
From personal experience I know, too, that people who live with a person who has food issues can affect the person struggling with food issues. We tried to control my father’s eating. His drinking. His spending. And every effort to control just made the situation worse.
To succeed in helping someone with an addiction to food or any other substance, the entire family system needs support, as in having family members look at Al-Anon or Codependent's Anonymous for help in letting go of trying to control the person with the food issues, whether the issue is overeating or anorexia or bulimia.
The family members find comfort and clarity as they discover their roles and responsibilities in perpetuating the addiction.
The bottom line: the issues are deeper than the food. The consequences – diabetes, heart disease, stroke, to name a few -- are life-threatening. And more often than not, there is a family dynamic that needs to be addressed so the family doesn’t consciously or unconsciously undermine the person in recovery. There is free help for the person with food issues; there is also free help for the family members who want to help.
Carey Sipp's first book, The TurnAround Mom – How an Abuse and Addiction Survivor Stopped the Toxic Cycle for Her Family, and How You Can, Too, guides fellow “children of chaos” to create the kind of sane and loving home life that helps prevent next-generation addiction and abuse. Her book is available at Amazon.com
©2011 ShareWIK Media Group, LLC