This journey before we came across Keto was a long and winding road. A few times we pretty much just fell off a steep road onto the craggy rocks below that left us bruised and battered. And much less healthy.
Since we are considered “seniors” we have had plenty of years behind us, which means we have tried everything. Weight Watchers (both joined, and I even am a “Lifetime Member”), Nutri System, The Daily Plate (now called LiveStrong), the DASH Diet for diabetics, and a myriad of other fad diets that came along over the past 40 years or so since America became joined at the ever-expanding hip to carbs. In spite of temporary results from all those diets that resembled success, everything always reverted back to the same old failed outcomes that left us in worse state than when we began each new experiment. Because all of them remained carb-loaded, which guaranteed eventual failure.
One instance that really pushed us on our years-long quest to search for the REAL truth happened back in the early 1990s. Our church went on a missions trip to a village in Mexico situated in some mountains at a very high altitude. After being there over a week, hubby flew home with the rest of the folks on his team, and about a week after he got home, he started experiencing pain in one leg. First trip to the doctor, was told “It’s probably some kind of bite” so he was prescribed antibiotics. Pain kept increasing, red “hot” spots on his leg, and then swelling. After about the third trip to the doctor, they finally realized he had been walking around with a blood clot in his leg for over two weeks. Then it was “GO DIRECTLY TO THE HOSPITAL, DO NOT PASS ‘GO,’ DO NOT COLLECT $200!” He was there for a week, on the blood thinner heparin through I.V. drip.
Well, while there, blood tests also revealed elevated blood sugar levels. One lady who did the testing told him he might be ‘pre-diabetic.’ Another one said “If your blood sugar is elevated, you are ALREADY diabetic, no ‘pre’ about it.” So a dietitian was called in to advise us on how to address it with diet. She gave me copies of the “YES” and “NO” foods, how much of the different nutrients like protein, fat, carbohydrates, etc. It was VERY low fat and MUCH REDUCED sodium, of course. Oh, and of course, were told he needed to “move more and eat less.” MOVE MORE, EAT LESS. Translation: You are a lazy glutton or you wouldn’t be in this condition. Because that is how dietitians are trained to handle diabetes. But we didn’t know any different.
So I took the sheets home with me, and also bought several books that she recommended, and I began following everything TO. THE. LETTER. Because we didn’t know any better. And apparently neither did she.
Well, fast forward several months, the blood clot was under control, thanks to prayer for healing and common sense precautions like wearing the right kinds of socks, and being prescribed blood thinner meds. But the diabetes? Well, after following the advice of the medical community and that “diet” sent home with us….which recommended eating a BOATLOAD of “healthy” carbs every day, you know, ‘healthy whole grains, lots of FRUITS and vegetables which included high-carb ones like potatoes, and limiting things like meats, eggs, salt, etc., he gained SIXTY (that’s a SIX followed by a ZERO!) more pounds, and his blood sugar literally sky rocketed! And that was while he was taking diabetic meds to boot!
It was apparent we were going to have to take this in hand ourselves because clearly the medical community had no clue how to manage diabetes in any other way than had been miserably failing for decades. And now we were living proof.
Fast forward again, in 2018, my brilliant hubby had researched for months by reading and watching presentations by doctors who now had living, breathing proof in THOUSANDS of their own patients that the only way diabetics should be eating is the ketogenic regimen of low carbohydrates, HIGH FATS. I know, it scared us, too. Because how many decades had we been brainwashed to FEAR THE FAT and embrace the “healthy carbs?” But these were more than opinions handed to us on a sheet of paper, these were RESULTS in case after case after case. So when hubby announced to me that he was going to go on the Atkins diet (we started out following Atkins, which is basically the root of the modern low-carb movement), I was on board. It could not possibly be any worse than the advice we had already followed that made things worse. When you get down to mere hundreds of calories a day (which still included plenty of carbs!) and walking 8 miles a day, pretty sure that indicates someone is NOT a “lazy glutton.”
I was not diabetic myself, but I had packed on at least 55 extra pounds, which were causing lots of other problems that were concerning. So we both went low-carb. Our start date was March 12, 2018. By August, 2019, I had already lost my goal of 55 lbs. a few months earlier, and my husband had lost over 140 lbs. He is now down by over 155 lbs. Oh, but, the important thing–after being on low-carb for THREE DAYS (that’s a 3!) his blood sugar levels were completely normal! THREE DAYS! Later his A1C hit within the normal range, too. And the diabetic meds are in the rearview mirror!
Fast forward again (our fast-forward button is going to get worn out soon) and after over three years, we are still going strong. Still eating low carb. I maintain within about 3 lbs. up or down from my final goal, my boyfriend-husband wants to lose maybe 25 more lbs. to get down to his high school weight! And we LOVE eating ketogenic because we are NOT HUNGRY ALL THE TIME like we were while still eating all those “healthy whole grains, fruits and vegetables.” When we get asked by people who doubt the success they can see with their own eyes, “Yeah, but will you be able to maintain it?” I just have to kind of blink my eyes because I don’t even know how to answer that. We already are maintaining that. And we know people who have for over TWENTY (that’s a TWO followed by a ZERO) years!!! So, no worries.
I’ll just slap me a ribeye on the grill and call it GOOD, thanks very much. (And a side of bacon never hurts, either).