Gene watched his beloved father struggle with a low-fat diet to manage his type 2 diabetes, until he passed away in 2009.
Then Gene started having his own issues with type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. He attempted to treat the conditions the same way that his father had done, but the results were very disappointing.
One day at work, however, he overheard a discussion about a ketogenic diet, and it got Gene’s attention. Maybe things could change if he did the exact opposite of what had been recommended to him?
My story starts with my father. His name is Gene D. Johnson Sr. I loved being called Gene. Just like my dad. My mother wanted a junior and that is how I was named after my father. My father and I were always best friends. When I was a little boy my heart and soul would ache if he had to be away for more than a day.
My dad taught me everything. We both loved sports. Both loved camping, hunting, playing catch, wrestling each other and anything else we would do together including just talking. My dad was not only my best baseball coach, he was my biggest fan. I just loved him.
In 1978, at the age of nineteen, I decided to join the army. This broke my mom and dad’s heart. So I called them almost everyday. I missed them both and missed palling around with my dad. I got out of the army in 1981. The year the San Francisco 49ers won the Super Bowl.
My dad and I had season tickets. It was great. Except, my family and my dad did not tell me that my father was sick with diabetes. They did not want to worry me while I was away. In 1982, my dad had triple bypass heart surgery. It worked out well. Before surgery though, the doctor came to my sisters, brother and me to warn us that we need to eat right and exercise, stay away from fatty food or we will be in the the same shape as my dad.After the bypass heart surgery, my father did the right thing. He followed the doctor’s and nutritionist advice on eating and exercising. His weight went up and down. He tried hard and it was difficult for him to exercise because he lost a foot in an industrial accident when he was 26 years old. But nevertheless, he worked on exercising and he worked on his diet. Gone from his diet was salt, gone was regular milk, gone were bacon and eggs. Anything that contained fats was gone.
He fought this battle until he was 68 years old in 2009 when he passed from acute renal failure. But basically his whole body was poisoned and could not go on. His mind was fine, though. The day he died, he went for a medical check up. My mother went to buy a sandwich for the both of them to share. My father was finished with the appointment and was walking out when he told the nurse he wasn’t feeling well. She put him back in the examination room. The doctor came in to check on him. As the doctor was doing another examination my dad said to him, “Ya know tomorrow is my wife’s and my 50th anniversary.” Then my dad passed away.
In 2006, I had a physical done and my doctor said other than being overweight, all my numbers were excellent. In 2007, I was having trouble with my balance. The doctor said I have back problems. But, my bigger problem, I have diabetes. In one year I went from excellent numbers to being diabetic. I had back surgery which helped me tremendously. But now I was prescribed metformin for diabetes, simvastin for cholesterol and lisinopril for high blood pressure.
I saw my nutritionist and she handed me a picture of a plate and what I could eat on it. No fats, I was told. I was told to use portion control. My dad used to remark how much he and I were the same. Both of us have bad backs and diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. So I did what my dad did. I followed the advice of the doctor and nutritionist. I would lose some weight but gain back more. My A1C would get down to the sixes and then zoom back up. It seemed futile and I was thinking of giving up.
One day, during lunch at work, I heard two fellas talking about a difficult diet. Out of curiosity I listened in. I became interested and asked about the diet. One of them answered it was ketogenic. They told me more and I was very interested. After work I looked it up in the internet and saw Butter Bob and then the Diet Doctor videos.On May 6th, I started LCHF. I weighed 277 lbs (126 kg) at 5’9″ (175 cm). Today I have lost 39 pounds (17.6 kg). I still have 40 pounds (18 kg) to lose. But now I am off the insulin, off the simvastin and off the lisinopril. My doctor would like me to continue with metformin though. My blood sugars dropped from the 300 mg/dl (16.7 mmol/L) to 130 mg/dl (7.2 mmol/L) and are still trending down to 110 mg/dl (6.1 mmol/L). My blood pressure average is 115/80.
Sad part is that my dad could be still alive today if he had the same information I stumbled on. He could have seen my three grandchildren.
Keto is now a lifestyle and not a diet to lose weight but to live better and longer.
Congratulations Gene to your great results. It’s quite remarkable, some would say almost impossible, to quickly reverse type 2 diabetes like you appear to have done. And yet, it happens all the time with effective lifestyle interventions. We’ll have to keep spreading the word.
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