By April 16, 2011, I had found an Atkins book. It was an older book, “Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution”. I tried to soak up every word and in doing so I learned that it really wasn’t a diet after all. Dr. Atkins showed me in his pages that I didn’t have to count calories, that I wasn’t going to have to starve myself, and he didn’t even mention exercising until chapter 21. This sounded like the plan for me.
I called Dr. Christie and told her that my fear of needles had over-rode my fear of change and I had decided to just do it. She told me to get a journal and record everything I ate, along with testing my blood sugar levels upon waking, before a meal, one and two hours after a meal and at bed time. She gave me an appointment each Friday to go over my food and my meter. She even told me to toss my jolly ranchers and use almonds instead for low blood sugar. I remember wondering why hard candies were even suggested to me in the beginning. You would think that someone who had been diabetic for several years would know things, but that’s the funny thing about denial, it walks hand and hand with clueless.
Some really strange things happened in the beginning. I learned that if I ate bacon and eggs instead of grits for breakfast I didn’t get such high after breakfast readings. It was like I was being introduced to diabetes for the first time. I thought it would be hard to “forget” what my old doc said about the whole grains, but with all the good foods I was eating, I didn’t really miss them, ok, I did miss spaghetti and garlic bread a little, but I kept reminding myself about the insulin.
I don’t think anyone thinks the diagnosis of diabetes is “lucky”, but I think I was pretty lucky to get a second chance. I think I was also pretty lucky to have a false impression that I was destined to be fat. I blamed my hips and thighs on a “family curse”, so when Dr. Christie told me I could quit taking my starlix after two weeks I was ecstatic! Losing six pounds on the Doctor’s office scale was pure bonus.
I found out through the Atkins website that as a diabetic the weight loss would be slow going, but it didn’t matter, I didn’t even have a goal as far as the scale was concerned. Keeping track of my food and my blood glucose numbers was enough of a distraction to not worry about the weight. I started telling myself “get the numbers under control and the weight will follow”.
By June of 2011, just by not eating sugar and starches I managed to get taken off of my Lisinopril for high blood pressure, Starlix for T2 Diabetes, Simvastatin for elevated cholesterol, Ranitadine for GERD, had my Metformin cut in half, and she told me to only take my Glipizide if my morning reading was more than 100.
Keeping track of food and numbers can be hard but learning how each food affects your body is priceless information. I’ve learned that there are certain foods I will avoid for the rest of my life. I’ve learned that my life is more precious than any food. I’ve hurt feelings along the way by declining home made goodies or food gifts, but the feelings usually mend when I explain why even one bite or one taste could put me back on the blood sugar roller coaster. I never imagined my leap of faith would set me to path on a quest for knowledge, but I’m thankful it did. I’m also thankful for the kind lady at Atkins who told me early in my journey “Take what you need and leave the rest”.
There is a lot of info out there, it helps to remember that we are all as different as our fingerprints. One size does not fit all, for some, there are no “safe starches”. My best advice to anyone wanting to take a leap of faith and maybe get hold of the reins of life is to take it one bite at a time, be patient, and stay firm in your decision to improve your health, don’t worry about the scale, the weight will follow.
Anyways, here is a pic from July 2011, three months in, I think a see the early stages of a smile, and maybe a little happiness bloomin’ in my eyes.