Fat to Fatter to T2D

Hi t2ds, how are you tonight? Let’s talk about exercise a bit - a topic I hate. Yeah, I hate exercise, always have, even when I was skinny (160 lbs on 5’8")- that was 1970-1972 - I’m not kidding. I played various team sports - volleyball, hardball (pitcher), softball, football (Pop Warner), curling, bowling, etc. I had paper routes as a kid, rode my bike all over Winnipeg, walked and ran in the Miles for Millions - an all day marathon. I enjoyed those sports and games, and performed well enough at the junior high and high school level, but wasn’t good enough for university varsity teams.

Then in university (Queen’s in Kingston, Edinburgh and Osgoode in Toronto), I discovered beer and spectator sports, plus sitting around reading and studying. I gained another 20 lbs or so. Once I entered the real world of legal practice, I worked very long hours, ate on the run and ate late at night, joined, didn’t use and eventually quit several fitness clubs and got heavier and heavier - 180 - 200 lbs. In the 90’s, a decade I would like to forget, I entertained bankers to get legal work, and had a bit of a reputation for giving a good lunch or dinner - lots of booze, some red meat or pasta or both, plenty of good wine. And I reached a new level of 220 or so. Eating and drinking well sure helped get thru the nasty 90’s for me - dinner parties, nice restaurant meals, eating what I wanted when I wanted to eat it. Sound familiar?

By late 90’s I had all the classic t2d symptoms: peeing all the time, thirsty all the time, neuropathy in the feet, sleep, tired feeling, short tempered, blurred vision, round rashes on the belly, slow healing of cuts, etc. My wife diagnosed me and the GP confirmed it. My GP is a very bright young guy, and he put me on meds (lipitor, lipidil, metformin), testing, and diet right away, and in six months, I was in the normal range for the battery of A1c test, not just blood sugar. Since 98, I was “in control” at most times, with changes from time to time in meds, getting some exercise and refining the diet. But, I was creeping up in weight, even with training to walk the Rome Marathon for the Cdn Diabetes Assoc. in 04. I was hitting new highs, though my blood sugar levels were quite good. When my meds stopped working for me last year, I was upset and not keen on doing insulin. But, I regained control after a few months of playing around with the insulin levels and increasing exercise - but my weight kept going up - insulin and actos did some of that.

Now, I’m about 277, down from 290, and really trying to lose some serious weight thru a program at a local Metabolic Centre where I get exercise, nutrition and now, physio attention and direction. It ain’t easy, not when I’m as fat as I am now. We have a new dog, a 5 mo. old Golden, and I supplement boring exercise on the treadmill and recumbent bike with nice walks with the puppy, especially good for me a half hour after supper.

I expect I’m like many t2ds: I love food, all kinds of food, I eat for comfort, I eat to celebrate, I eat to relieve stress, I eat to help me sleep at night, I eat to relieve boredome, I eat compulsively, I graze before and after meals - I have every bad eating habit, and one by one, I’m trying to conquer them.

My GP says that exercise won’t achieve the big weight loss, it’s all about intake - eating less. I have to agree, but when I exercise, I’m usually less hungry. Besides, regular (3X a week usually) vigorous exercise really helps my legs circulation.

The point of all this is to show a typical t2d progression - nothing very unique about my experience, and that by itself, might lend support to other t2ds. When I get angry and resentful with my fate, I just think of those who have a tougher row to hoe than do I.

Hi Grant! I hear you and agree. I gained slowly over the past 20 years or so and am now in the process of losing it. I am down 20 lbs with 40-45 more to go.

Dori: Thanks for comment. Good for you on the 20 - for women, that is the hardest bit, the first 15 or so. Men have it easier in that respect. I’d be pleased to hear of your progress on the balance of your target, I feel good today myself, and I went easy on the weekend, and I seem to be lighter that last couple days - one belt hole. Keep it at, every single pound is hard work, fully earned!

And furdrmor, as I would say, it’s not as if t2ds like me have been gorging ourselves while the weight piled on: sure we were not perfect, but we were already eating low carbs, few if any desserts, no fat, no sugar, no flavour stuff - many people just assume that we were stuffing our face but deny it. Not so.

Well I always had “bad” eating habits. I am a junk food junkie. My weight crept up after having my children, working and raising a family, and getting settled into a sedentary lifestyle. It was a lot of factors not just overeating. Actually I ate “normal” amounts just of the wrong foods.

One belt hole is good. Like I say - we did not start out running, we had to learn to crawl before we could walk and walk before we could run. Everything in baby steps. The weight did not come on overnight and will not come off overnight. We just need to encourage each other.

Hi Grant, thank you for being so blunt in the details of your history. Unfortunately, they are not unusual. The very meds your doc prescribes for you, especially insulin are contributing to your weight gain. In additiion, they are doing nothing to stop the progression towards diabetic complications. The reason is that neither insulin or the other diabetic drugs attack the cause, over acidity of the blood and the damage that does to the pancreas, the insulin receptors and the nervous system. The answer is to alklaize your diet, 80% vegetables and friuts cut out fried foods, cakes pies and cookies. drink alkaline water, about 1 Gal per day, eliminate alcohol, sodas and bottled water they are all acidic. Continue to exercise and try to meditate 20 minutes per day. This is what I did to get rid of my type 2 diabetes. Good luck!

Hi Grant,

Your story sounds VERY much like mine. Only I’m a woman, shorter than you (5’-2") and old enough (52) that weight gain is a problem for me, anyway. I was diagnosed about 6 yrs. ago & did GREAT – for about 6 mos. Then I just became overwhelmed with everything and spent about a year “ignoring” the fact that I was diabetic. So this landed me on 7 different meds including insulin, actos & metformin … all of which encouraged MORE weigjht gain.

Last February I was told I would need to increase the insulin dosages (again) and something in me (finally) just said “No.”. And, I began making more intelligent food choices and returned to the dreaded exercise. The first time I got on the treadmill I walked for 15 minutes at 2.0 mph. But, I got on the next day and the day after that … I have now shed nearly 50 pounds and eliminated dependancy on all 7 meds, including insulin.

I am pleased with my progress, feeling (and looking) much better. I hope to shed another 30 pounds over the next year. I am now working to run 5K’s this spring with my 15 y/o daughter, and hope to work up to 1/2 marathons and then to marathons. I believe VERY firmly that exercise is an integral part of controlling diabetes. Cardio is the best way to burn fat, exercise builds muscle and steps up your metabolism, the weight loss produced by additional caloric deficit from burning calories in exercise assists your body in handling sugars/carbs; and making better food choices fuels all of the above!

Congrats to you on taking those initial steps. I am proud of you. And, I will look forward to hearing additional news of YOUR progress! BTW, it DOES eventually get to where you enjoy the exercise and the feeling it produces in you, I walk with our Old English Sheepdog and run with my iPod. I now actually do look forward to it and miss it if life gets in the way of a decent workout! It has become my “Me” time.

Laura & Robert: thanks for your comments. Congrats to you Laura on your success to date - the key is just getting started, & making small progress to build on - the human body is amazingly resillent if you give it a chance. Robert - I’ve not heard about this alkaline effect or blood acidity before, can you lead me to scientific confirmation of it?