Does Type 2 Diabetes have to be a Life Sentence?

Type 2 Diabetes doesn’t have to be a life sentence! Yes, I will be managing my diabetes the rest of my life but I don’t need to manage it with medications. With plenty of research and trial and error, I learned to manage my diabetes with food only.

Don’t get it twisted, there is nothing wrong with managing diabetes with medications. In fact, many people will not be able to live without them. Metformin helped me manage my diabetes for the first 5 years of my diagnosis and I am grateful for it.

I Hacked Diabetes tweet "type II diabetes does not have to be a life sentence.

However, my passion is to educate type 2 diabetics that they have other options besides medications. I am not a doctor or medical professional so I am not here to tell you how to manage your diabetes. I can only share what has worked for me with the support of my doctor and you should never decide to go off any medications without the support of your doctor. If your doctor does not support you, seek out a doctor that would.

Managing Type 2 Diabetes with Medications

Often medical professionals tell newly diagnosed type 2’s that they will have it for life and will need to be on medications the rest of their lives. This is what I was told when I was first diagnosed. However, I figured it out on my own and learned how to manage it on my own without medications.

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Type 2 diabetes is a condition that causes the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood to become too high. Your body either resists the effects of insulin, a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into your cells, or doesn’t make enough insulin to maintain normal glucose levels.

Typically early diagnosed patients should be advised that with proper diet and exercise they may be able to manage it without medications. However, at least in Canada where I live, newly diagnosed type 2’s are directed to attend a diabetes education class. The classes are hosted by registered dieticians who are trained to follow the Canadian food guide pictured below.

Source: https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/

Looks like a healthy plate filled with veggies, fruit, legumes some protein, rice, noodles, bread and starches. In general it is a known fact that foods that are most likely to increase blood sugars are carbohydrates. Typically most fruits, pasta, rice, crackers and bread are high in carbohydrates. You may decide to continue eating these foods while taking your medications to manage your diabetes. This is fine if you want to continue living this way, nothing wrong with this as long as you are able to maintain it.

Managing Type 2 Diabetes without Medications

To manage my type 2 diabetes without medications I first went on a strict ketogenic diet. I ate little to no carbohydrates (typically under 20 net grams of carbs or less per day) and my meals mainly consisted of meat and veggies. I cut out all fruit, bread, pasta, rice and crackers and also started doing short fasts. My last meal of the day would be before 8pm and would not eat again until noon the next day. Gradually my fasts extended to 24, 48 and 72 hours overtime, it’s like a muscle you need to build.

After about 3 months while still on metformin my blood sugars were below the pre-diabetes levels. I continued to eat a ketogenic diet while fasting on occasion and managed to get off my medications with my doctors support. I know am medication free for over 2 years and continue to eat a low carb/ketogenic diet and I typically do a 3 day fast every month.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not always easy to eat this way and I do enjoy the occasional sweet treat or bowl of pasta. However, for me it is a way of eating that I know I will continue the rest of my life. I chose not to be on medications and only manage my type 2 diabetes with food. Overtime it got much easier as I no longer eat unhealthy processed foods. I feel much better both physically and mentally and no longer have those highs and lows I used to get when I ate carbs.

Is Type 2 Diabetes a Life Sentence?

For argument sake of course I will be a type 2 diabetic the rest of my life but eating this way has become normal for me and it doesn’t feel like I am managing type 2 diabetes anymore. I only check my blood sugars when I eat something I normally don’t eat to see how it affects my levels. I also conduct experiments and go through phases where I continuously test my blood sugars for periods of time to test out new food products or to see the how impacts of stress and exercise affect my body. However, I do rely on my quarterly A1C tests which have always come back below or within the pre-diabetic range.

Support for Managing Type 2 Diabetes

I often am asked advice and I am always willing to freely provide advice as to what worked for me. I am not a health coach and don’t want to be one. However, if you ever have any questions please feel free to reach out to me by either dropping a comment below or hitting the Contact button at the top.

Here are some of my favourite recipes that have helped me along the way:

Additional Resources

Low Carb Shopping

Low Carb Groceries

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