Rick is a good friend who lives in Estero, Florida, our home for half of the year. Following is his story of overcoming diabetes.
“For many years my doctors would tell me during annual physicals that my blood glucose was elevated. They cautioned me about the effects of Type 2 Diabetes on my body if the blood glucose level got to a level of 126.
“A level of 126 was something that I never spent much time thinking about. That was always in the future and if it started to approach 126, I could always control it with diet and exercise. The problem was that I never did.
“At the completion of my last physical in December my doctor told me that for my age I was in very good physical condition. But the day following my physical, the doctor’s office called and wanted me to come back. The lab results were in and my doctor felt that we needed to talk about them.
“I learned that the future was now and that my blood glucose level had reached 126, the threshold for Type 2 Diabetes. My doctor wanted to put me on medication to control my blood glucose, but I was able to convince him that I could control my blood glucose with diet and exercise.
“My first step was to control my diet. I’ve always had a sweet tooth and sometimes I was obsessive-compulsive when it came to desserts. The first thing I did was to completely stop eating all desserts. For me it was easier to quit all desserts than to just try to control the amount I ate.
“The second step was to watch the balance of my diet. I focused on good carbohydrates and stayed away from the bad carbohydrates. My wife bought two cookbooks, ‘The Ultimate Diabetes Cookbook’ and ‘Diabetes Meals by the Plate’. With the information in the cookbooks we continued to change my diet to one of better carbohydrates.
“The third step was making sure that I exercised daily. I walk daily, increasing and decreasing the pace as I walk. I think the important factor here is that you don’t have to establish an extensive exercise problem, walking daily works very well.
“Now for the good news: With the changes I’ve made to my diet and exercise, I lost 20 pounds in a three and a half month period. At a follow-up doctor’s visit four months after making the changes, I found that my blood glucose had fallen from a level of 126 to a level of 100. The other important number was my A1C, which was at 6 in December. The range for A1C should be between 4.0 -6.0; mine is now 4.0.
“I continue with the changes I’ve made to my diet and I will continue to exercise, probably for the rest of my life. The other good news is that with the changes I’ve made, I’ve probably extended my life. The changes were very easy and something anybody can do – all you need is the motivation.”