JJ, 58, Tofino
Age diagnosed with type 2 diabetes
Number of years in remission
5 years, off and on
Life before diagnosis
In my 20s and early 30s, I wasn’t really taking care of myself. I was working in the hospitality industry and I owned a restaurant. I was working long hours, caring more about guests and revenues than about myself. I was starting to gain weight.
Before my diagnosis, I didn’t really have any symptoms. It was silent. I think that made it harder to make diet and lifestyle changes.
In a medical visit in the early 2000s, a lab test found my blood sugar was too high. I was told I had diabetes and put on metformin [a drug to reduce blood sugar]. I was on and off that drug for more than 18 years. But my blood sugar levels were all over the map and my weight was steadily rising over those years.
Why did you try remission?
My doctor said I needed to go on insulin injections. I did that for about six months, but I wasn’t happy. I thought I don’t want to live the rest of my life like this. I gotta do something else. Insulin injections were the trigger for me.
What did you do?
My pharmacist approached me with a research trial led by Dr. Jonathan Little of UBC. It was using the Ideal Protein protocol, a low calorie, low carb, low fat, ketogenic program what has a mix of specially created products, combined with coaching and healthy low carb meals that I prepare daily. I was enrolled in this pharmacist-led clinical trial for diabetes remission.
The first couple of weeks were really hard. Your body is adjusting. My medications had to be lowered very quickly as I went through this journey. I cut out alcohol 100% so then, at the end of a hard day, you are no longer having a martini, no longer hanging out with friends at the pub. But after the first two weeks your body goes “hey, this is okay.” I lost in total almost 100 pounds. I was exploring places in Tofino I’d never been. It’s been amazing.
What are you doing now?
I’ve had my ups and downs. Covid was hard, and I put some weight back on. I’ve had to recommit a couple of times. Now I am back on Ideal Protein, about 50 % of the time. I try to eat no carbs after lunch. A year ago my blood sugar was rising again and my doctor also put me on Ozempic. I am getting good results. My weight is stable and my blood sugar is good.
What do you want others to know?
When you set a goal and get on a program, and you achieve that goal, it is euphoric. I still get emotional when I think of the journey I have been on. It’s not easy, but nobody else can do it for you. You gotta find it within yourself to do it. I honestly feel I was saving my life. I feel so much better.
Get support from your doctor or pharmacist, or both. This was not something I could do on my own because my other medications, like my blood pressure meds, had to be managed. And you’ve got to stick with it. You can’t go on and off or you won’t get results. You’ve got to commit, but in the end, it is so worth it.