Hey Cynthia! I’ve been reading your book Intermittent Fasting and am part of the FB group. In one recent comment I shared how I was transforming my health and you asked to know more by email so here goes (with a little family history so you understand my motivation, sorry it got a bit long – small novella).
I turned 56 on Feb 5th of this year. My dad was born in 1924 and my mom in 1937. They grew up in extreme poverty, neither finished high school and both picked cotton as children as their families were sharecroppers. However, my parents worked hard and moved up to be middle class to have a better life.
Unfortunately, throughout their lifetime they didn’t have good diets or nutrition. Consequently, I grew up eating mostly processed foods, drank almost nothing but soda as a kid and diet soda as a teen and adult. (I suffered with chronic bladder, kidney and constipation issues as a kid.) My parents had chronic health issues. My dad had 3 types of cancer and then strokes shortly after being diagnosed as T2Diabetic. He was left an invalid for the last 15 years of his life (passed in 2017) with first my mom caring for him and then myself. My mom developed Parkinson’s while caring for him before succumbing to cancer herself in 2009.
Two days before this past Christmas my older brother died at age 67 due to complications of his T2 Diabetes. The last few months of his life were pretty rough and as a family we were there to witness it. I myself had become increasingly ill after having Covid in December 2020 and January 2021. I missed 7 weeks of work with Covid and almost 4 months from work during the entire year of 2021.
I was already a T2Diabetic, had high BP and was considered obese at 221 lbs. I had long Covid and had to go on additional BP meds as well. I was not doing very well at all. I became increasingly depressed and suffered anxiety most days. My favorite uncle who was diabetic contracted Covid before Thanksgiving and passed in the hospital shortly afterwards. Then watching my brother suffer and pass too young was my wake up call.
I knew on my current trajectory I would pass younger than all of them. I had to make some real changes if I were going to save my own life. So during the month of January I was really shifting my mindset, struggling with anxiety, missing more work and then my birthday came Feb 5th. I made up my mind that I had to move forward. I began searching for podcasts to help me get started. I really believe that was God leading me because I never listened to podcasts before but I was feeling open to it. The first podcast I found was Dr. Morgan Nolte’s ‘Reshape Your Health’. You already know her so you know how easy she is to listen to and I was immediately drawn to her style. I listened to some of her first podcasts and then started searching for interviews she did that stood out to me.
Before I even listened to her interviews with you she had mentioned you while talking about intermittent fasting. So then I looked you up and found your podcast to follow too. So now I’m following both of you and listening to your podcasts while I’m at work. My job is physical but also mind numbingly repetitive so I went from listening to music and audiobooks to also adding in podcasts! By the way this changed some of my focus on audiobooks to those health related. I had been listening to some on neuroscience, affirmations and the law of attraction in the months prior. Watching my brother suffer put me on that path. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was preparing myself mentally for the physical shift I was about to make.
In those first few weeks of listening to both you and Dr. Nolte I began thinking about what small changes I COULD make in my diet. It all felt so overwhelming and I was hearing so much new information. So, I started with small changes at first like drinking water instead of just diet soda. I began eating less junk food and after hearing you talk about fasting through breakfast I realized that rang true for me so the next day I began fasting through breakfast! This all would have been the week of Feb 13th. That same week I listened to Dr. Nolte’s interview with Dr. Ben Bikman on Reversing Insulin Resistance. This was completely new information to me and I had been a diagnosed diabetic for just over 5 years. (I rarely went to a doctor and believed I had been a diabetic longer than that.)
His book Why We Get Sick was included in my Audible membership so I listened to it that same week finishing it on Friday, Feb 18th (I can see that in my listening history). My mind was racing the next few days with all this life changing information and I kept thinking what am I going to do now? I can not unhear what I just heard. So, that Sunday night after work on Feb 20th I came home and went through my pantry and fridge cleaning out everything that was highly processed in boxes, bottles and bags with lists of ingredients I didn’t understand and was full of GMO-soy. Even my Atkins shakes had soy! I got rid of all of it.
While I was at it I had heard you talk about plastics and cleaned out most of my tupperware type containers because I did have a few glass storage ones. I did a HUGE purge of food and storage containers, plastic drinking glasses, etc. The next day was my day off from work and I went shopping. I bought fresh, whole foods – salmon, beef, eggs, organic veggies (cruciferous) and raw nuts like pecans and walnuts. I replaced my canola and vegetable oil with Avocado and Olive Oils. I kept it simple because I really don’t cook. I’m learning now, slowly but I grew up with parents who prepared mostly processed foods or ate out so that is what I did too.
I put myself on a limited, low carb diet starting that Monday, Feb 21st. I was fasting from 6pm until 11am – 1pm the next day. I was having two meals prioritizing protein and cruciferous veggies, using healthy, natural fats and having a serving of nuts a day. You had mentioned bitter teas so I started having black and green teas in the morning. No more chips, cookies, candy, but I was still drinking a few diet soda’s every day along with water.
The first few weeks were not easy but I was determined. I kept listening to my podcasts (actually getting a bit overwhelmed with info, ha ha) and was feeling more and more like I was on the path to health. Amazingly, fasting was easy as I’m not a breakfast person and wasn’t as a kid (back when I was thin). The feeling of taking charge of my health was great even if I wasn’t feeling the best but it was getting easier each day. I was exercising and moving. I had found a recumbent exercise bike on FB marketplace that was barely used and got it for a steal! I use it at least 6 days a week and love it! I have a Total Gym I use for resistance training and use it 2-3 days a week now although I had to build up to that because I was so out of shape.
On March 1st I went Diet Soda free and was drinking only bitter teas and water with either electrolytes or lemon. That was the hardest for me mentally. Getting enough protein and healthy fats kept me from feeling hungry so I didn’t want to snack and eat junk, I had ZERO cravings from the start – which was just weird, but amazing. I had believed that sugar was my addiction. Well, now I think in part that was true that my brain was addicted because all I was feeding it was glucose. However, once I switched my brain quickly adapted because it prefered what I was now feeding it! Feeling bad the first few weeks didn’t include cravings for me because I went cold turkey at the same time I began getting lots of protein! Sometimes I think slow changes can be the right way to go but for me I knew going all in was the way to success. I just knew I had to.
So now I’m in this transition and listening to all these podcasts, books (Why We Get Sick, Drop Acid, pre-ordered your book, and Estrogen Matters – I’m about to start HRT too) and I realize I haven’t been checking my blood glucose numbers. I had gotten so accustomed to knowing my numbers with Metformin and that they were in an ‘acceptable’ range, not healthy mind you but normal for me. I had listened to one of your interviews with Vinnie Tortorich and I think he mentioned how quickly your numbers could change. I had started feeling a bit light headed and sure enough my numbers were much lower for me in the 60’s and above. I immediately quit taking my Metformin and my 2nd med for high BP. I started testing several times a day for both blood glucose and bp. By the middle of March I was off 2 of my 3 meds and my numbers were in the normal range. My BG was averaging 72 – 105 without meds! I was shocked.
On March 28th I went to see my doctor and have blood work done. I went in all excited about the changes I had made and was eager (and nervous) to see the results. That day I went off my last high blood pressure pill. My BP when checked was NORMAL. My weight now 200 was 21 lbs down from my last visit. When the assistant was reviewing my medications and asking which ones I was still taking I answered none, talked eagerly about my lifestyle changes and how I was feeling. By this time I was feeling amazing and full of energy! My coworkers had been noticing and asking me what I was doing and wanting more info. I had been sharing on FB my changes and private messaging my cousin whose diabetes was out of control and she joined me in making changes (she’s also improving!).
My doctor was glad but I think pretty skeptical – until she saw my blood work. In her words my blood work was PERFECT. She was thrilled with my lifestyle changes, I was no longer T2Diabetic (as long as I stayed the course) and she encouraged me to keep going. My TG 50, HDL 58 and LDL 121. For the first time ever my Vitamin D was not below normal but was 100! I have always been Vit D deficient but not now. The only thing low was my Estrogen and so we talked about HRT (after hearing Dr. Nolte’s interview with Esther Blum and the one you did with the authors on the book Estrogen Matters). I was very anti-HRT prior to that but I want to preserve my brain function and health!
Other changes I made in that first six weeks – replaced my toothpaste with a cleaner option, threw out my makeup (and don’t miss wearing it), replaced my deodorant with a cleaner option, and started using stainless steel to cook with and for water bottles. I bought some blue blocker glasses (spectra479 which I think I heard you recommend) and their amber night lights. I also added in magnesium supplements, electrolytes and replaced my salt with Redmonds. I started walking on my breaks at work to get fresh air and to avoid sitting staring at vending machines PLUS I just have more energy and feel better when I do it, even on the days when I don’t feel like it.
I plan to keep changing out for cleaner options as I can afford and as I run out of items. I find cooking every day really easy because I keep it simple. I like clean eating! I still have so much to learn but I did slow down listening to too much and added back in listening to some novels and music. I know I’m on the right path and I made some massive changes pretty fast BUT it was the right way for me. My goal this year was to be off all meds. I did it in 6 weeks! Now, my new goal is to continue on the path to health, fitness and mental wellness AND cleaner living. The weight loss will come and I’m not stressing about it.
I am reading your book (and listening to it on Audible) and want to learn more about IF. I am working to be flexible to give my body what it needs because I know it will tell me if I learn to listen. Some days I only eat one meal AND don’t think about food all day which is AMAZING! Generally on my days off I would eat ALL day long and think about food when I wasn’t eating!!! Now, I spend my days off asking myself am I hungry? Let me drink a glass of water and see if it is real hunger, then I find I wasn’t really hungry and I go back to yard work or painting (I’m working on renovating my house). I also have a goal to learn one new recipe a month. I know myself enough to know what I will do. I have a lot on my plate working about 50 hours a week, commuting back and forth, tending to my flower gardens and renovating my house.
I’m also working to map out time to spend with OTHER people because I’ve always been a bit of a hermit – got that from my dad who would rather work with his hands, read or do anything other than socialize – unless it is with animals, we both prefer pets to people! However, I do understand I need to make the effort to connect more with people and family so that is also a priority.
I know I shared a LOT of info but you kind of have to know the backstory to understand why I did what I did. I know you understand already why the changes I made worked so quickly! I just never dreamed it could happen so fast. It’s crazy to me that more people don’t know this and I am definitely becoming an advocate and speaking out myself because I know it works.
Feb 5th – turned 56, started searching for podcasts – found Dr. Nolte, then you that week and just started listening
Week of Feb 13th – started making small changes including intermittent fasting (fasted through breakfast, easy change), no more snacking on breaks at work, heard Dr. Bikman and listened to his book –
Week of Feb 20th – purged pantry and fridge, started clean eating, no junk, no gmo, no soy, no seed oils, using IF, prioritizing protein and healthy fats, cruciferous veggies, nuts, etc
Mid – March – stopped taking Metformin and one of my meds for high blood pressure, numbers were normal on blood glucose, testing multiple times a day and testing blood pressure were in normal range with remaining diuretic
Week of March 27th – Now 6 Weeks In, stopped taking diuretic, had blood work done Monday, March 28th, blood glucose in normal range with no meds, blood pressure is normal (and I was excitedly talking while she was testing me instead of breathing slowly as I used to – ha, ha) with no meds, and according to my doctor my blood work was PERFECT!
My takeaway – if I can do this after 55 years of eating sugar and highly refined carbs, processed foods, almost exclusively drinking diet soda – anyone can! I had done low carb before but never correctly. I wasn’t eating enough protein, wasn’t getting healthy fats (low fat, seed oils) and had struggles with hunger and cravings anytime I had tried to ‘diet’ in the past. I had lost weight previously as I was over 325 lbs at one point – BUT it was a struggle. Then I got stuck for a decade in grief after losing my mom and my marriage falling apart immediately after. While I didn’t put the weight back on and that was a big ‘win’ for me, my health continued to decline anyway along with my mental health.
Change can be scary AND it can be breathtakingly exciting! We are always trying to exert control in our lives and here is one clear, sustainable path to do so in a way that truly will change our lives for the better! I feel more confident (even though still very overweight), stronger, mentally clear, happier (even on days where I don’t feel my best) and hopeful for the future because I now know I can achieve anything I am determined to. I am excited for what the future holds, excited to make changes to live cleaner, excited to share with others and so excited to be moving more and more while also learning to be still, to breath and to listen.
I have so much more to learn but what I have learned is you don’t have to know everything to start, you just have to start! I knew my why – save my own life. Really, no one else could do that for me and I had to take charge. No more pills, because I had found they just lead to more pills AND worsening health. Pills won’t make you better but worse. I would rather pay more for better quality food! AND stop beating yourself up for past failure when the truth is you didn’t know the truth! You had bad information! Once I heard the truth I knew it. I listened and knew. I dove in and tried it. It worked! Sometimes those ‘crazy’ people with their ‘radical’ ideas are just honest people telling THE TRUTH.
Thank you so much for sharing what you have learned, interviewing so many fascinating people who are also sharing what they have learned and helping me on this journey! I have encouraged others to listen in and get your book as well.
Thankful and Blessed,
Cheri Causey Dooley
Type II Diabetes is not in your genetics, it’s in your pantry! (what I’ve been telling people)