The Type 2 Coach Finds His Why

PAGE, You Have Diabetes!

One fateful April day, just shy of my 54th birthday, those three simple words changed my life forever. Leading up to that day, I kept telling myself that I needed to lose weight and get in shape. I knew my family history dictated that I needed to be extra careful and be aware of the signs and symptoms of diabetes, yet I continued to live a lifestyle I thought I deserved to live. I used to joke around with friends and co-workers by describing myself as overweight, middle aged, and balding, but a great athlete nonetheless. I enjoy grilling out and cooking, and I enjoy indulging in my chef like creations on a regular basis. In fact, I just enjoy indulging period. I was completely convinced I could still eat anything I wanted and correct it with a little exercise or eating “good” for the next few days thinking this would make all of the bad go away. Listening to my former reasoning I’m reminded of Bruce Willis (John McClane) in the original Die-Hard movie recalling his wife’s invitation, “Come out to the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs…” just before all hell breaks loose.

Apparently, all hell broke loose in my body… there were no laughs to be had…

I went to the gym, occasionally, I walked and even jogged a little, occasionally, somehow convincing myself that it can’t happen to me. That somehow, I would evade the disease that has ravished my family over the past twenty-five years.

FAMILY HISTORY…

I can still recall the day my sister and I had to convince my mom that her best and only option was to have her lower leg amputated. We were all devastated, knowing she would be limited to a life of confinement, a life of struggle to enjoy the simple everyday pleasures of life. She was so young, in her late 60’s, and by all accounts as mentally sharp as the day she received her Master’s degree. She was a competent woman who struggled with the same choices I struggle with every day; she loved a well-prepared dish of just about anything.
There were good days and bad days in her journey, but she tried to follow the Doctor’s orders and took her insulin and medicine religiously… It didn’t matter. In the end, the disease took her life.

At the age of 62 my father suffered a heart attack. We all chalked it up to the fact he had been a smoker for much of his adult life, that he enjoyed potato chips and French onion dip the way a fish loves water, and Frank Sinatra had nothing on Dad when it came to enjoying a “splash” of Jack Daniels. After successful bypass surgery, he regained his zest for life, changed his diet, and went back to work at the CPA firm he had helped build into a success. Dad had never been diagnosed as diabetic prior to his heart attack. He struggled with high blood pressure and weight management, but all of those were attributed to a lack of exercise and disciplined eating habits. However, underlying all of those conditions was the full onset of Type 2 diabetes, so far undiagnosed.

The adult onset of Type 2 diabetes that had taken the life of my mom at such an early age had taken control of my dad’s life as well. In fact, he spent the last 8 years of his life traveling to the dialysis center 3 days a week to obtain treatment for his failed kidneys, compliments of this disease.

I knew ALL of this, I lived it with them, I watched the decline, the daily struggle, the loss of hope, and yet… I did nothing to prevent myself from following the same road map to ultimate struggle and decline.

UNTIL I HEARD THOSE THREE WORDS… YOU HAVE DIABETES

While I knew I was pre-diabetic and my family history was not good, I had always managed to escape my annual physical with a simple warning, you need to drop a few pounds and get moving, replace white bread with whole wheat, use a sugar substitute and stop drinking high calorie sodas. My blood sugar was hovering around 110 -120 and my A1C, while a little high at 6.6, was within an acceptable range that should be correctable by implementing the recommended dietary and exercise changes.

With the exception of chips and salsa, my absolute favorite indulgence, I adhered to the Doctor’s orders and ate more fish, less red meat, more whole wheat, less “enriched” white bread, I even ate turkey bacon and sausage! But my weight had remained the same, in fact, it seems I had been packing on about 5 pounds per year for the last ten years, I’m not a math genius, but my feet can tell you they were carrying around an extra 50 pounds. I began to recognize my need to change the following Thanksgiving, six months after the doctor had provided me with new diet and exercise guidelines. We had all convened at my mother-in-law’s home and per the American tradition, we all ate way too much and then added dessert!

As we completely ignored our doctors’ orders for a single day, our discussion turned to diabetes. Our niece had just been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, a dangerous but controllable condition both my wife and her sister had experienced during their pregnancy. My mother-in-law had been dealing with diabetes for the last several years and we discussed my parents, and the challenges we all faced in the coming years.

Just for the fun of it, I decided to check my blood sugar later that evening. I knew it would be high after the meal we had enjoyed so I anticipated the worst, somewhere around 150 or 160. Yet knowing I had been focused on making better decisions and actually walking on a regular basis, I felt the worst-case scenario wouldn’t even be that bad… And if it was it could easily be attributed to the pecan pie, a la mode!

MY BLOOD SUGAR WAS 372 !

While I knew I was pre-diabetic and my family history was not good, I had always managed to escape my annual physical with a simple warning, you need to drop a few pounds and get moving, replace white bread with whole wheat, use a sugar substitute and stop drinking high calorie sodas. My blood sugar was hovering around 110 -120 and my A1C, while a little high at 6.6, was within an acceptable range that should be correctable by implementing the recommended dietary and exercise changes.

With the exception of chips and salsa, my absolute favorite indulgence, I adhered to the Doctor’s orders and ate more fish, less red meat, more whole wheat, less “enriched” white bread, I even ate turkey bacon and sausage! But my weight had remained the same, in fact, it seems I had been packing on about 5 pounds per year for the last ten years, I’m not a math genius, but my feet can tell you they were carrying around an extra 50 pounds. I began to recognize my need to change the following Thanksgiving, six months after the doctor had provided me with new diet and exercise guidelines. We had all convened at my mother-in-law’s home and per the American tradition, we all ate way too much and then added dessert!

As we completely ignored our doctors’ orders for a single day, our discussion turned to diabetes. Our niece had just been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, a dangerous but controllable condition both my wife and her sister had experienced during their pregnancy. My mother-in-law had been dealing with diabetes for the last several years and we discussed my parents, and the challenges we all faced in the coming years.

Just for the fun of it, I decided to check my blood sugar later that evening. I knew it would be high after the meal we had enjoyed so I anticipated the worst, somewhere around 150 or 160. Yet knowing I had been focused on making better decisions and actually walking on a regular basis, I felt the worst-case scenario wouldn’t even be that bad… And if it was it could easily be attributed to the pecan pie, a la mode!

WRONG!

PAGE, YOU HAVE DIABETES…

That’s actually where my story begins, the day after I received the worst news possible. I had witnessed the devastating effects of this disease first hand; I watched the life and hope drain out of my parents as they struggled on a daily basis to simply manage their symptoms. I knew the traditional treatment methods only treated the symptoms… There was no cure, no way to avoid the inevitable decline in physical health and mental clarity.

OR SO I THOUGHT…

I began researching diabetes, specifically adult onset diabetes, or Type 2 Diabetes as it is commonly referred to. The more I read the more I realized that for all of our medical advances, the epidemic was growing. Once diagnosed, even the most optimistic among us had resigned themselves to living with the disease and simply trying to manage the symptoms.

We have been taught and now take for granted that many of those affected by the most common form of diabetes, Type 2, will never regain their health. We treat their symptoms with medication, and still more medication, until they eventually fall prey to the complications of the disease: vision deterioration and blindness, dialysis due to failing kidneys, dementia, amputations, and ultimately death.

TYPE 2 DIABETES IS NOT A DEATH SENTENCE, IN FACT, CURRENT RESEARCH HAS SHOWN THAT TYPE 2 CAN BE PREVENTED IN THOSE WHO ARE PREDISPOSED OR PRE-DIABETIC AND EVEN REVERSED FOR THOSE ALREADY STRUGGLING WITH THE DISEASE.

I’ve written a book, TACKLE TYPE 2, not only about my journey to health and happiness, but also about your journey. I’ll share with you everything I’ve learned since deciding I was not going to meet the same fate as most other diabetics who have gone before me.

I mentioned those three words, you have diabetes, that changed my life forever; what I failed to say was those three words have changed my life in a positive way, they allowed me to begin living my best life ever.

Now my goal is to impact the lives of millions around the world, to educate people about the disease and highlight simple changes that can arm them with the information they’ll need to overcome the challenges all diabetics must face.

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Weight Loss

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Lifestyle Management

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Weight Maintenance

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