When you hit 50 it’s easy to think, well this is my lot. I’m carrying double the weight I was in high-school (and more), my blood sugars are rising every year as is my BP, but that’s all part of getting older. Right?
Everyone stacks on a bit of extra baggage as they get older, there’s nothing I can do about it, maybe I’ll just laugh it off and grab another beer.
Plus, I’m too old to start exercising, my knees and back won’t hold up. I mean, who’s ever seen a happy looking jogger?
And there is no way I’m eating nothing but lettuce and bran crackers to try and peg back a few pounds. Stuff that. If you’re like me you have probably had busy periods, even decades where you have been under pressure, busy with work and always grab the fastest easiest meal options which lets face it is usually fast food, on the run. It sneaks up on you.
This was me 100%
From my mid 20’s until I was over 50. Back in the mid 80’s I was turning 20, I weighed 11st (154lbs – 70kgs) I had been like that for a few years, was fit, played rugby, the world was my oyster.
Fast forward to the mid 2000’s, one move from the UK to Australia, 2 businesses and 2 kids later, a lot of beer and prawns on the barbie under my belt and I had filled out nicely:
A little too much time in the good paddock as they say down here. But that wasn’t the end of it. Another 10 years, job stress and way too many pizzas, drinking every night and paying zero attention to what I was eating saw my weight peak at:
19st (271 lbs – 123kg)
A spectacular effort, but the worst was yet to come.
You see I never got sick, ever.
Never caught so much as a cold so I never went to the doctor, EVER. I was pretty active, could go out cutting firewood on the weekend, or walk for hours hunting deer, but I was still the size of a VW Beetle
Then in 2019 after spending a few years semi retired in a small rural town in Tasmania I applied for a gig with the local council. We had sold our business a few years prior and had been treading water ever since. The job as a business mentor came up and I thought that would be a bit of fun and would get me out of the house, I’d built and sold several businesses in the past, so this was right in my wheelhouse.
A Shock to the System!
So part of the pre-employment conditions was to get a medical.
HR: Who’s your doctor?
Me: I don’t have one.
HR: How come?
Me: I never get sick, haven’t been to a doctor in 25 years.
HR: Oh, you should probably use ours.
So off I went into the city for a check up.
The first nurse checked my BP, went white as a ghost, called in another nurse to double check and she confirmed, blood pressure 180/120
Me: is that good?
Nurse: We better check your blood sugar…. 16.8 mmol/L
Me: that’s not good is it?
Nurse: You need to get to your GP today, like right now…
On the bright side the drug and alcohol test came back negative.
So in 30 minutes I’d gone from what I assumed was a fit-ish, healthy-ish 50 year old to a basket case potential coronary on legs with liquid syrup for blood and full blown type 2 diabetes .
The GP got me on a regime of meds that steadily increased in strength over time to bring down my blood pressure and glucose levels.
Not once did they mention dietary sugar and starchy carbohydrates that were causing the problem
Just keep amping up the dosage, come and see us every other week to get a new prescription. Admittedly they never told me to keep eating all the doughnuts I could manage, but then again they never told me not to either. There was literally no mention of diet whatsoever.
Why is that?
I had heard someone refer to the whole medical system as the “Sickness Industry”, they do really well when they are treating sickness rather than fixing it. I thought at the time, that’s a little cynical, I know good people who were nurses, but the more I dug into it, the more it became apparent that the big pharma companies and the doctors whom they influence were doing more to enhance their bottom line than reduce the size of mine.
I’m not a huge fan of taking pills.
I’m also as tight as three coats of paint, so forking out hundreds of dollars a month for metformin, amlodopine, valsartan, sitagliptin and empaglifozin to stay alive wasn’t my idea of fun. Something deep in my ancestral DNA writhed in pain handing over the cash every month which might be related to my not too distant Scottish ancestry. Who knows, but I’m confident I was contributing heavily to the Pharma rep’s company Mercedes.
So what did I do to lose 44lbs in 4 months and reverse my type 2 diabetes?
It all started with research.
How do I reduce blood glucose levels?
How do I get my blood pressure down?
How do I do these things naturally?
So I went on a google frenzy, following every rabbit hole trying to sort the marketing bull from the real advice. Lots of information lead me straight to expensive supplements or the latest miracle berry that promised to solve all my problems overnight. However, some of the information I was finding looked promising.
One doctor in particular, Dr Gary Fettke was resident in a small city (Launceston Tasmania) which was 10 minutes away from where we lived, so his narrative grabbed my attention more than most. His lectures talked about the damage processed sugar and carbohydrates are doing to people around the world and that a low carb lifestyle was producing sensational results in his practice.
Now the medical establishment were not happy with Dr Gary, they tried everything to get him struck off and removed from Launceston General Hospital for the serious crime of… wait for it… giving nutritional advice. He’s a fully qualified surgeon who deals with the aftermath of advanced diabetes and yet the “Machine” was unhappy with him prescribing a healthy diet as the answer to most people’s type 2 diabetes and weight issues. The cheek of the man!
But I guess there is no money in eliminating medications and people getting their health back.
So I listened.
I dug deeper.
I found out about what happens to starchy carbs when you eat them (hint: they turn into sugar), I listened to how the food chain has been polluted by ultra processed foods and how the food industry demonised all the things we should be eating like meat, fat, butter and eggs so they could replace them with more profitable chemical ridden alternatives packed full of sugar.
I found out about seed oils and the inflammation they cause, how they came into circulation and replaced the healthy fats that have a beneficial impact on our bodies.
If you’re over 50, you probably remember the 70’s. How many obese kids were in your class. I can’t remember any.
You just need to look at beach photos from to 50’s and 60’s or watch video of high school sports from that era, everyone was thin, I mean everyone.
The food pyramid. Eat your 5 veg and 2 fruit a day, red meat is bad, butter makes you fat, so eat margarine, there’s too much cholesterol in eggs, don’t eat them. The food recommendations went against everything our previous generations had always eaten.
Studies secretly funded by large cereal manufacturers with a deeply religious aversion to meat consumption aided by the sugar industry paid for studies with a pre-determined outcome that governments were guided by. The zealot’s agendas were adopted.
As the demon “Fat” disappeared from our food products, so did the taste so in stepped the sugar and cereal suppliers to fill the gap. 99% fat free, usually meant 20% sugar.
I learnt so much, followed Dr Gary’s peers, watched all the videos on the Low Carb Down Under youtube channel and branched out onto the channels of the presenters. Googled the topics they were talking about and found even more people who agreed with the conclusion:
STOP EATING SUGAR AND CARBOHYDRATES!!
So I did.
It wasn’t easy at first, but I’m GenX and we’re as far from a snowflake as you can get. I pushed through and it didn’t take long to adapt.
Gone were all the things that were trying to kill me:
- Cakes / Cookies
- Sodas (Fizzy drinks, cool drinks or cordial we call them down here)
- Fruit and Fruit Juice
So did that leave anything to eat?
Did removing all the yummy things in the list above also remove my will to live?
Far from it.
There are a million things you can eat while avoiding carbs and you don’t have to worry about the quantity. No weighing out 100g of this or 50g of that.
All the steak you can eat. Sounded good to me, and it was.
All the green stuff you can handle, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, salad greens the list is endless.
All the meat you want – Beef, Chicken, Lamb, Pork, Turkey, Seafood, Deer, Rabbit, Bacon, more Bacon and even more Bacon
All the great stuff the Quakers conspired to remove from the average diet – Eggs, Butter, Cream, Cheese (but not that abomination with fruit in it) are all perfectly fine.
Vegetables – any non starchy veg are ok. No potato, but just about everything else is fine. Cucumber, celery, carrot, beets, beans.
You can whip up a side salad, or a roast dinner with all the trimmings.
So that’s what I did. Just cut carbs and sugar and upped the amount of meat. Simple.
What about exercise – remember I’m old.
Well, first of all let’s remember that 50 isn’t old. I’m still mentally in my 20’s but i’m not about to start running marathons or get back on the rugby field.
But I can walk.
So that’s exactly what I did.
Very short walks.
As the diet started to work and the pounds started peeling off, the walks got a little longer.
I got one of those fitbit trackers so I could brag about my progress (so shoot me I’m human) and tracked my walks.
There is a scientific theory that whatever you track and measure gets better.
My walks steadily progressed until I was doing 5kms (3 Miles) both morning and night. I took ear pods and an audio book or music and barely noticed I was exercising.
I say exercise, it was a gentle stroll, with our Spaniel Bentley and listening to a book as I went was a lot more productive than sitting in front of the TV with a tray full of processed junk food.
So that’s the big secret.
That’s how I lost 44lbs without really trying,
How I reversed my type 2 diabetes
Now in terms of reversing my Type 2 diabetes. At the start my Hba1c tests were in excess of 11% so by any measure, full blown type 2 diabetes.
This test works out your average blood sugar levels over the past 3 months or so.
After 4 months after losing all the weight, my A1c readings came back at 5.1%.
My GP could not believe it. She said, whatever you’re doing, just keep doing it. She had never seen such a fast turn around.
5.1% is normal.
What’s a Normal Hemoglobin A1c Test?
For people without diabetes, the normal range for the hemoglobin A1c level is between 4% and 5.6%.
Hemoglobin A1c levels between 5.7% and 6.4% mean you have pre-diabetes and a higher chance of getting diabetes. Levels of 6.5% or higher mean you have diabetes.
So moving from an A1c of 11 to 5 means I had reversed my type 2 diabetes simply by dumping sugar, carbs and taking the dog for a walk.
I’m convinced that anyone can do what I did.
Just dump sugar, avoid carbs and walk a bit.
If you hate veg and salad, well toughen up princess, you can go carnivore. All the meat, eggs and butter you can handle.
Can’t walk to the garden gate? When the weight starts to drop off, walk half way and build from there.
Only got one leg? No excuse, get some crutches or a wooden leg on wheels and get it done.
No legs? Nope I’ve got nothing. Oh wait, you can smash out a few laps of the block in your chair.
Seriously though it really doesn’t matter where you are starting from, whether you are just trying to tone up your dad bod, loose your moobs or need a crane to get up off the couch, the only thing stopping you getting your health back is the thing between your ears.
Are there more things you can do.
Sure there are.
I talk about those in my daily emails and sometimes in longer blog posts on here.
Am I a saint. No, I slip every now and then. I’ll tell you about that too.
You should subscribe. It’s free & I’ve got nothing to sell you.
My mission is to share how I did what I did, so people can replicate it. No drugs, supplements or gym memberships required.
I’m thinking about starting a support group, probably on Facebook, I don’t know yet, but details will be in the Carb Survivor Daily emails when I do.
P.S. The daily email sign up is to the right of this article, you might need to scroll up a bit.
P.P.S I usually share something useful, or an update on how I’m going or sometimes just something funny I came across. it’s usually Keto, LCHF, Carnivore or low carb/no sugar related and sometime its an absolute pile of nonsense, but you’ll probably smile and we all need that.
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** Please read my disclaimer, I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist. I share what I’m doing right or wrong for informational and entertainment purposes only. I’m a funny guy, I can’t help it. You should alway seek independent medical or nutritional advice and do your own research.