“Food is very powerful and the right foods will literally be your medicine”


Before and after

Following a type 1 diabetes diagnosis, Zein’s weight started to climb as she required increasing amounts of insulin on her carb-rich diet.

This continued for twenty years, up until the point where she decided that she had had enough. She threw out the carbs and started with a low-carb diet. I think the results that followed speak for themselves:

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1992 just after graduating from university which came as a shock to me as I knew very little about diabetes and at the time I was a healthy weight and active young person. Over the course of the last 20 years I slowly gained weight as I required more insulin to metabolise the carbohydrate intake I was consuming which is still promoted as part of the ‘Eat well plate’ and by many diabetic dieticians as part of diabetes management. I also developed diabetic neuropathy a complication of diabetes due to high blood sugars, plantar fasciitis (inflammation in my heels) and fatty liver syndrome.

In 2012, when I reached 90 kg (198 lbs) as in the photo attached (wearing purple top) I decided I had to take action to heal these complications and improve my blood-sugar control. My former nutrition consisted of the following:

Previously: Whole-wheat toast or cereal such as muesli or fruit with low-fat yogurt.
Now: Coffee with heavy cream followed by short high-intensity cardio training or weight training which will include strength training. Squats, deadlifts, pull ups, rows and shoulder presses.

Mid-morning snack after exercise
Previously: a piece of fruit.
Now: a handful of nuts but only if hungry otherwise I will wait to eat my next meal at 2 pm to 3 pm, this is my form of intermittent fasting.

Previously: A sandwich with a protein filling or a soup with some cheese sprinkled on top and two slices of bread.
Now: a salad of spinach with non-starchy vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers) with either a portion of eggs, tuna, chicken or sardines dressed in olive oil and fresh lemon.

Evening meal
Previously: Fish or casserole with potatoes or rice or pasta and vegetables .
Now: Salmon/chicken/omelette with leafy greens.

Previously: Some cadburys chocolate.
Now: some full-fat Greek yogurt with nuts and seeds or a couple of squares of 90% dark chocolate. Some full-fat cheese in moderation. I moderate diary due to the milk proteins which can raise my blood sugar. Fruits such as berries occasionally.

I drink over 2 litres (half a gallon) of water a day and enjoy peppermint tea. Healthy fats that I include in my nutritional lifestyle include avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut oil and olive oil. I have eliminated all forms of processed foods and sugars.

I have in process of improving my health and body composition qualified as a Personal Fitness Trainer and you can visit my website on zeinfitness.com
and Facebook page ‘Transforming Fitness, Transforming Diabetes‘.

I hope to encourage people with type 1 and a type 2 diabetes to eat fresh, unprocessed food which provide the right nutrients to our body to control blood sugar and improve our health and wellbeing. My role as a personal trainer provides personalised exercise programmes to improve clients’ fitness goals and a nutritional lifestyle plan to improve blood sugars and metabolic health. Food is very powerful and the right foods will literally be your medicine.

I also support clients with the emotional side of dealing day to day with the management of diabetes which can be affected by stress, hormones or illness and I would like to see more health professionals discuss the impact of these effects on our blood-sugar control and factors to consider with regard to insulin dosages and requirements as we all too often focus on just dietary factors affecting our blood sugar.

Thank you Diet Doctor for helping so many people improve their health and to all the medical contributors Dr. Jason Fung, Dr. Ted Naiman etc. who through the video presentations provide such valuable information.


Zein’s webpage: Zein Fitness
Zein’s Facebook: Transforming Fitness, Transforming Diabetes


Thank you for sharing you inspiring story Zein! :-)

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