The following is a guest post from my friend Bill Rust, who has lost 100 lbs and cut his A1C by HALF since starting the LCHF lifestyle. I’m very honored to share this here on my website – Bob Briggs
Diabetes Saved My Life!
by Bill Rust
Yes, you read that right. Some of you already know what I mean by that, others are probably scratching their head and saying, “What? How can diabetes save someone’s life?”
It’s really very simple, being diagnosed woke me up, it made me take a look at myself in the mirror, both figuratively and physically. You see, I knew I was overweight, I weighed 300 lbs, and at 6′ 2″ tall I really didn’t think I was “that” big.
I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea in 2013, but other than that I had never had any major health problems. Oh, I had a few minor illnesses here and there, but nothing serious.
I was 40 years old, and I felt invincible! But, then in early September of 2014, I had to go see the doctor about a sinus infection. Since I was almost due for my yearly physical they decided to go ahead and draw blood for the lab work. Sitting there talking to the doctor as she looked over my lab results, she asked me if I had ever been diagnosed with diabetes and I said no. She then told me my fasting blood sugar was 202. I didn’t know if that was good or bad, I knew nothing about diabetes. She said she was going to run an A1C, the results should be back in a few days, and I should prepare myself for the diagnosis of being diabetic. She told me to watch what I ate and to start exercising, but she did not tell what to eat or what to avoid.
I drove home with a lot on my mind, and when I got there I started searching the internet for answers. Like most newly diagnosed diabetics I went straight to the American Diabetes Association website. After all, they are the experts, right? According to them I didn’t have to give up many of the foods that gave me diabetes, I just had to eat them in moderation, and the medicines I would have to take would keep my blood sugar from getting too high. I thought, “Wow, great news!” I even looked at Weight Watcher’s D meal plans. They are convenient, and all I have to have is a freezer and a microwave! I had a plan, and it was going to work!
Now here is where things started to change for me. I was in a Facebook group for sleep apnea, and they were the nicest people, and helped me adjust to a lifetime of wearing a CPAP mask to sleep with. So, one day I asked in there if anyone knew of a diabetes support group that was just as good as that group. One woman answered me, saying she could add me to some groups she’s in. She added me to about four groups.
I started browsing around in each group. One group was talking about eating fat to control diabetes, I said, “yeah, right. Keep doing that and you’ll all be dead in a year from heart attacks. So, I went on to the next group. They were posting all these desserts and other great looking foods! AWESOME! However, all of those posts were followed up with post about their sugar skyrocketing, then they over-corrected with insulin, and now they are too low, and to bring their sugar back up they ate the same food that cause their sugar to skyrocket! Didn’t make sense to me at all! Back to the “fat” group. Those people were talking about their low blood sugars, weight loss (yeah, weight loss eating fat), and better health. I decided to stick around and do some reading. I started asking questions and they gave me answers backed with science and studies. Not just articles written by someone who was being paid to sell magazines, newspapers, or to get hits on websites, but actual science based articles with links to the studies! I asked a few more questions, got a few more answers.
All of that happened within just a few days. Finally my doctor called and told me I was diabetic for sure with an A1C of 9.7. She put me on 500 mg of Metformin twice a day and told me to watch what I ate. Just like during my visit, she didn’t tell me what to eat, or what not to eat. She told me to come back in six weeks for another A1C.
The saddest thing about this phone call, as I learned later, she didn’t even tell me how dangerous an A1C of 9.7 was. I posted in that “fat” group what my A1C was, and immediately they showed concern for me and told me what I was doing to myself. Their concern convinced me they had my best interest at heart, and they were genuinely trying to help me. They told me to do something my doctor never mentioned, get a glucometer and start testing my blood sugar. I followed their advice on that immediately, but I still wasn’t sure about eating the fat. Yes they had the science, but they were trying to convince me that what I had been taught the last 40 years was wrong. Not an easy task. But, little by little they started chipping away at the misinformation I had been given.
I actually started to admit they were right. But, still I wasn’t committed. I did keep checking my blood sugar though. One day I ate a cheeseburger, tater tots, and drank a Mountain Dew. My blood sugar was 317! That convinced me to start dabbling in what this group was teaching, a low carb, high fat ketogenic diet.
See, I still didn’t know a lot about diabetes, but this group had taught me that 317 was dangerously high. I was stubborn though, I wouldn’t commit fully, I would watch my carbs some, but I just wasn’t ready to change my entire eating plan yet. One day someone in the group posted a link to a video made by a man named Bob Briggs. The video was Butter Makes Your Pants Fall Off. That video was my inspiration! Bob explained diabetes and insulin resistance in such a way that everything they had been telling me in that group finally made sense. I started LCHF that day!
When I went to the doctor six weeks later for my next A1C; this time it was 6.9. The doctor said, “I guess the Metformin is working.”
I knew enough from what I had learned in the group to know it wasn’t the Metformin. I also knew from what I had been taught that my doctor would most likely not be on board with LCHF, so I didn’t tell her what I was doing. For the next couple of months I ate a strict LCHF diet. Things were going well for me, and I was losing weight, a LOT of weight. By Christmas I was down to 250lbs. In January 2015 My A1C was down to 5.7! I was enjoying this. I stayed active in the group, I kept learning, and I started teaching newcomers! I loved this. Of course the first thing I would tell people when they joined the group was, read our food list, and make sure you watch Butter Makes Your Pants Fall Off!
In July of 2015 I had another A1C done, this time it was 4.8, and I had lost more weight. By then I looked like a completely new person. I felt like a new person too! I finally knew what it was like to be healthy. I thought I felt good before all of this, I thought I was healthy. I know now how bad I really felt back then and how unhealthy I really was.
In January of 2016 I had another A1C done, this time it was 4.7! As of March the 20th I have lost 100lbs! I am more active, I can actually run now! I ran over three miles, that’s the first time I’ve done that since I was in the Marines 20 years ago! I’m happier, I can think more clearly, I can do things with my kids I didn’t have strength or energy to do before.
If it wasn’t for my diagnosis, I don’t know where I would be right now. If it wasn’t for that “fat” group, I would be on a downward spiral following the ADA guidelines. If it wasn’t for Bob Briggs and Butter Makes Your Pants Fall Off I would be dying a slow, painful death. Being diagnosed with diabetes was definitely a blessing in disguise.
Yes, at first it was scary, but because of the wonderful people in my “fat” group, and because of Bob Briggs and others like him, Diabetes saved my life!