Editor's Note: This article is reprinted with permission from Beyond Type 2, as part of our continued alliance.
Written by Juan Carlos
I started the year 2020 weighing approximately 176 lbs and after the Christmas holiday, I knew I needed to change. I could tell I wasn’t feeling like myself.
Although I knew wasn’t taking the best care of myself, I was a runner and noticed some hormonal changes that impacted my ability to hit the pavement. Not only that, but I was consistently feeling low on energy, had mood swings, and was irritable.
After a visit with an endocrinologist, my tests concluded I had hypothyroidism, high cholesterol, and prediabetes. Everything with my health was out of balance.
Seeking the Right Kind of Help
My father died as a result of several diabetes-related complications. I witnessed his quality of life worsen in the last months of his life and decided I didn’t want the same to happen to me. It was up to me to do my best to prevent prediabetes from progressing into type 2 diabetes.
I knew I could make the changes I needed to. It was a matter of asking myself: what was in my control?
One of my first action steps was to join a gym. Fortunately, this gym had a nutritionist onsite available for its members. However, they didn’t give me the right guidance or the right nutrition plan; rather, he gave me a plan for someone who is focused on building muscle and lifts weights every day — a diet mostly high in carbs and protein.
I needed a plan that would help me eat in a more balanced way with fruits and vegetables.
This treatment only exacerbated my problems.
In February, I went back to the endocrinologist for my follow-up appointment and he told me that I was very close to developing type 2 diabetes because my hypothyroidism, glucose, and cholesterol levels were getting worse. He recommended I see a new nutritionist with more experience with people with diabetes and other health issues.
An Expert Made a World of Difference
The specialized nutritionist I chose took the time to explain hypothyroidism and prediabetes in the context of nutrition to me. She broke down how glucose management can be achieved through diet.
I learned about carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
I learned a lot about how the thyroid gland works, the difference between hypo and hyperthyroidism, as well as insulin and leptin resistance.
I also learned how to manage my blood glucose in the morning after waking.
Unlike the previous nutritionist, she took the time to ask me what I wanted to achieve and helped me set reasonable, measurable goals. The diet plan she created for me didn’t consist of unusual, unattainable, or expensive foods, either. It was truly personalized to my life.
At my first visit, my numbers were:
Weight: 171.3 lbs (77.7 kg)
BMI: 28.5 kg/m²
Fat: 33.3 kg
Muscle: 29.2 kg
Metabolic Age: 49 years
Visceral Fat: 13 kg
TSH: 28.52 mg/dL (the normal range is de 0.19- 4.92)
Glucose: 104 mg/dL (the normal range is s 55 – 99)
Between my first and second visit, I lost 9 pounds just by managing and regulating my diet and my habits. As of July, after implementing every recommendation, I reached approximately 140 pounds, my thyroid ranges dropped to 0.11 and I have lowered my glucose out of the prediabetes range.
Though the methods I used weren’t dramatic, the outcomes have felt so. I feel and look better, and my mindset has improved. The way I view my life, and my relationship with food have changed for the better.
I’m proud of myself for not only achieving my goals but being willing to seek help to help me avoid the fate of my father’s.
Never be afraid to seek help from an expert. My nutritionist helped me get in the habit of monitoring my glucose and control my eating out of nervousness and stress. She also gave me exercise tips and ways to deal with the mental health challenges of making lifestyle changes.
Prediabetes was a close call and I know there are probably many others who are struggling with theirs or feel like they can’t overcome it to prevent type 2 diabetes. You can, just like I did:
Weight: 141.76 lbs (64.3 kg)
BMI: 24.2 kg/m²
Fat: 23.9 kg
Muscle: 38.1 kg
Metabolic Age: 34 years
Visceral Fat: 8 kg
TSH: 0.11 mg/dL (the normal range is de 0.19- 4.92)
Glucose: 87 mg/dL (the normal range is s 55 – 99)
A Positive Side to the COVID-19 Lockdown
2020 has certainly had its ups and downs, specifically because of the pandemic. But thanks to the COVID-19 lockdown, I was able to eat better because being at home gave me the ability to prepare my own food — no restaurants, no fast food, no gyms, no intermittent fasting, no keto diets.
My nutritionist helped me realize I didn’t need to stop eating bread, nor did I have to starve myself. It was simply about adopting better eating habits with established schedules, having a great exercise routine, and sleeping well.
All of this took a commitment from me to bettering my health, remaining consistent, and disciplined. Having support helps enormously with that, but it all starts with me.