Mark was diagnosed with diabetes about 20 years ago. Initially he took his diagnosis seriously, but was not able to successfully reverse his diabetes or control it. Frustrated with his inability to manage his disease by following his doctor’s recommendations, Mark went into what he describes as “diabetic denial” for 10 years. By 2006, he knew he had to try again to get his diabetes under control. Nothing was working and he was told insulin injections would be the next step.
One of Dr. Fung’s colleagues referred Mark to the IDM program for management of his diabetic related kidney disease in July 2013, and told him to look at the program’s website for more information. Mark was very curious about the program because he thought his type 2 diabetes was going to be something he was going to live with. No one had every indicated to him that diabetes can actually be reversed by means of simple lifestyle modification. Mark started following the blogs online, watching the video lectures, and begin to make changes on his own before his consultation in October 2013.
In July 2013 Mark weighed 211 pounds and his waist size was 51 inches. His hemoglobin A1c was 9.9%, and he was taking 120 mg of Diamicron and 2000 mg of Metformin everyday. The next step was insulin, and Mark was not keen on the idea of starting insulin.
Mark now weighs in at 179 pounds and his waist size has shrunk down to 44 inches. His hemoglobin A1c is now 7.4%, and that is after just returning from a six week hiatus from the program while he was traveling for business across North America. In three months, Mark was able to come off of all of his diabetes medications. He was also able to come off of all of his other medications in May of this year.
The following is an interview with Mark on his experience participating in the IDM Program.
IDM Program: What has been your experience with the program been so far?
Reversing my type 2 diabetes has been successfully accomplished in less than a year. After three months I was able to stop all of my diabetic medication. The fasting program is amazing. It is really easy to do. I don’t feel like I have really given up anything in my life to accomplish this except a few meals here and there. It has been a really positive experience for me, and is one that I share with so many people I know because in my circle of friends about one-in-four who do not have diabetes.
IDM Program: You are a very busy businessman, who has a job that keeps you on the go all of the time. How has this program impacted your performance at work? Do you think it would be easier to participate in the program if you were retired instead?
No, not at all. I keep busy all of the time, which keeps me from thinking about the fasting. I don’t even realize I am fasting most of the time. Giving up breakfast forever now has been so easy. Giving up a lunch is not a problem. With this program I can balance my eating. If I have to go out for a business lunch, I will do that. I will just eat a little smarter and try to stay away from the carbs. If I have to have a lunch and a dinner, I will have a lunch and a dinner. I monitor my blood sugar levels on a regular basis. If I find that they are a little bit higher than I would like, then maybe I will fast for two, three or four days in a row. Sometimes I will just do a prolonged fast for fun because it is just so easy to do.
IDM Program: We know you are always on the road for business meetings and conferences. How have you been able to make so much progress while you have been traveling for work?
I have been able to balance. It is a good balance. I usually can avoid having breakfast. I will just stick to my regular morning routine and have a cup of coffee. That is not a problem. If I know I am going to have a lunch and dinner that day, my lunch will be light. Most places will serve a salad. I will reserve myself for the full dinner.
As a mater of fact, I just came back from six weeks of fairly extensive traveling. Sometimes I ate every day. I would have lunch and dinner. If I had the opportunity to do a 36 hour fast here and there, I would. I am quite interested to see what my results are today during our appointment later on to see how I managed while I was away. I am hoping I will at least break even since I was not religious to the program while I was away. I think that is one of the greatest benefits of the program because it is not a program you have to be religious to. It is more of a change in your lifestyle than a program where you have to eat this or you have to do that. We are always told we have to do a lot of things. In this case, we are told we have to just not eat sometimes, but not all of the time. If you have to miss a meal or eat two meals or three meals, so be it. You just move on to the next day.
I am quite unorthodox in my fasting. When I say that I mean I don’t fast one-day-on, then one-day-off because I have to do what works for my lifestyle. I can mix it up my fasting days however I want. I feel that my progress in reversing this diabetes has been very successful. It hasn’t put any extra stress or strain on what I do. I feel much more energetic now than I ever have. On a busy workday I go-go-go! I never run out of energy by the end of the day.
IDM Program: In this program we ask patients to follow a diet that is high in natural fats and low in carbohydrates. What do you think about the dietary recommendations?
I think the food recommendations are great. I am really intrigued with the high fat. I watched a really great documentary called “Serial Killers” and it is about a fellow, who doesn’t fast, but is on a very high fat diet. He goes on this diet for a month. He says, “eat fat to lose fat.” I am certainly an example of a person who ate everything “low fat” and “low calorie” before and just became heavier and heavier.
When I chose to eat outside of regular mealtimes, I will have almonds or sunflower seeds. I am a spicy guy so I will put spices on my sunflower seeds and eat them like that. I find now when I eat, I get full so fast. I can eat all of the good food I want during mealtimes, and sometimes I can eat the bad food too. If I want a small dish of ice cream every now and then, I will have it and not think twice about it. The diet doesn’t stop me.
IDM Program: What are the PROs and CONs you have discovered about following this program?
There are no cons. I look forward to our monthly meetings. They are a real motivator for me to stay on track with things. I am much more focused on doing what I can. When I tell people about the program, I tell them to do the best they can and not to beat themselves up on this program. This program is not about that. Little results are as good as big results. This program is a lifestyle change. I was 55 years in the making to get where I was in terms of my diabetes and weight gain, and I knew I was not going to be able to change it all in a month or two.
I am amazed in the change that has happened in the last year. It has been quite remarkable. The program itself is very good and provides good guidance. The blogs are also very, very useful. As soon as the blogs come in, I read them. Even if I am in the middle of work I have to stop and grab my coffee and read the posts!
We would like to thank Mark for sharing his story for our Patient Profile this month. He has had tremendous success following the IDM program as a direct result of his continued dedication towards achieving a healthier lifestyle. We are very happy to have him as part of our IDM family. We know many of the patients are always excited when Mark is part of their group meetings since he offers them so much support and encouragement to them. Thanks Mark!
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