Is diabetes type 2 an incurable disease? That’s what Bernard Bollen’s doctor told him, and that’s what conventional wisdom says.
Then Bernard found what has worked so well for so many people, and his life was transformed. Here’s his story:
I am more than happy to offer a few paragraphs and a before and after picture. (Unfortunately I do not have before & after pics of my full body so a couple of facial shots is all that I can provide). I do hope that it may inspire others.
One year ago I weighed 125 kg (275 lbs). I took medications for diabetes, cholesterol and high blood pressure. I am 59 years old and have eaten a nutrition-sparse diet most of my life, high in sugars and refined carbohydrates. When I was first diagnosed with diabetes 6 years ago, my doctor told me that diabetes was a progressive disease that would require management, but that it was ultimately incurable. My feet were beginning to go numb, a sure sign of nerve damage in the extremities. A happy and healthy entry into my senior years seemed a distant possibility. I was resigned to what I saw as the inevitable, a limb amputation, blindness, a stroke or a heart attack.
Thus, one year ago I was not a happy camper. I decided to have bariatric surgery as I was led to believe that this could be a cure for diabetes. At this time I became increasingly aware of the relation between diet and health through numerous web searches. I was already aware of the Atkins diet (the 1st diet revolution), with its emphasis on a very low carbohydrate intake. I then became aware of the Paleo diet. Its underlying nutritional philosophy just made sense to me. I was sold; I cancelled my planned bariatric surgery and threw myself into the Paleo program. Over the next few months I certainly began to lose weight, but more, my whole relation to food and nutrition changed in ways that I could never predict.
The first thing I noticed was that eating three Paleo meals a day never left me hungry. In fact, I couldn’t eat three full Paleo meals a day, I was just too satiated. So I cut it down to two meals a day and was still never hungry. I always kept olives and macadamia nuts in the house in case I needed a top up. Now I eat one Paleo meal a day and am never hungry. I don’t know if this is a common experience but it certainly is mine. I have come to believe that one meal a day is OK when on a nutrition dense diet. Hunger is your body’s was of saying ‘I need some more nutrition’. If you are not hungry then you don’t need to eat. So why do people eat when they are not hungry? There are a number of reasons for this:
• The first reason is our dietary habits, we are brought up to practice and believe that we need three meals a day. So we eat three times a day irrespective of whether we are hungry or not. (It seems unlikely that our Paleo ancestors regularly ate three meals a day.)
• The second reason is that eating is a pleasurable experience, until satiation occurs, of course.
• The third reason relates to the idea that people are drawn to food when they are anxious, under stress or just plain bored, food seems to help.
• Fourth, it’s really hard to maintain a Paleo diet unless you regularly cook at home. For many, this will require a lifestyle change away from take away food and other forms of processed food consumption.
So the Paleo diet is more than sticking to a set of foods that we should or should not eat. My own personal experience is that the Paleo diet requires a confrontation with our whole relation to food, not just what we eat, but why we eat. For me this is an important point, I see it as a significant step in the identification of those who are at high risk of failing on the Paleo diet and return to their old eating habits.
One month ago I saw my doctor. Robert is a young, intelligent and open minded doctor who one year ago appeared to be sceptical of the benefits of the Paleo diet (so was I for that matter). Today he calls me his ‘poster boy patient’. Nearly all of the medications that I took a year ago have been dispatched to the bin. My life has been transformed in many ways.
After six months on the Paleo diet I had already lost 15 kg (33 lbs) and felt that I had made a health breakthrough. I was positive, I could do it. So I enrolled in a gym and regularly engaged in aerobic and resistance exercises. Now, 12 months later I have lost 30 kg (66 lbs) and I look and feel so much better. I now have some definition in my upper body muscles and have rediscovered my hips.
Today I am cured of diabetes. One other issue that occurred after 6 months into the program was the incredible rise in my libido. Really, I spend so much time now walking around like a bull in springtime. Maybe the universe will one day reward my efforts with a trim and terrific cavewomen to whom I can focus my attention.
Today, obesity and diabetes are the number one public health issues (yes, even more important than cigarettes, alcohol and drugs). Teenagers are getting type 2 diabetes. The evidence that sugars, refined carbohydrates and processed foods are responsible for this nutrition related epidemic is compelling. I am no longer on the Paleo program, I would prefer to call it a Paleo lifestyle since I see it as a lifelong commitment. I don’t believe that the Paleo diet is going to be the final word on health and nutrition. Critics of the Paleo diet deserve to be heard and respected (well many of them anyway). But the science behind the Paleo diet is sound and most importantly, it really works!!
Well this is my story of nutritional redemption; yours will almost certainly differ in some ways if you choose to go the path of Paleo.
I certainly do hope that it may inspire others.
Congratulations on your impressive health improvements Bernard! And the best of luck in your search for a compatible cavewoman, that shouldn’t be too hard these days.
Do you have a success story you want to share with others on this blog? It’s a great way to inspire other people to change their lives, like you have done.
E-mail your story to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Before and after photos are great for making your story concrete and relatable to other people. Let me know if it’s OK to publish your photo and name or if you’d rather remain anonymous.
Below, find out what you can do if you want to try LCHF for yourself, as well as stories from others who have tried.
“Why Was I Still Fat?”