Philip, 62, Chilliwack BC
Age diagnosed with type 2 diabetes:
Number of years in remission:
Life before diagnosis:
Getting diagnosed at such a young age was not a complete shock. I had gained a lot of weight. I was 270 pounds. I had dieted many times. Once I did a salad-only diet for six months and that was a massive failure. Any time I lost any weight, I would soon gain it all back and more. I wasn’t that interested in sweets, but potato chips were my poison. While I was the first in my family to get diagnosed, we must have had some family risk factors because in the following years both my mom and sister were also diagnosed.
Symptoms prior to diagnosis:
I was feeling really tired. I couldn’t drive for more than 30 minutes without wanting to nod off. I was really thirsty and peeing all the time.
Diagnosis and treatment
I went to the doctor in 1997 because I wasn’t feeling well and I knew something was wrong. My blood glucose was 25 mmol/L which is really high! My doctor told me that unless I got it under control in the first two years, I would have diabetes for life. I was started on metformin, and over the years more medication was added. By 2016 I was on four different pills and taking insulin shots.
Why did you try remission?
I did not like insulin injections and I wanted to get off my medication. I wanted to live longer for my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, some of whom live in Australia. I want to be well enough to travel to Australia to see them.
What did you do?
In 2016 at work, I watched a video by Dr. Sarah Hallberg, who founded Indiana University Arnett's Medically Supervised Weight Loss Program. Her video has since gotten millions of views. In it she talks about how you can reverse your diabetes by eating primarily a low-carb or ketogenic diet of protein, like meat, and vegetables with butter and cheese. I came home, showed it to my wife who is an RN, and I began to eat that way that night. I also got a CGM, a continuous glucose moniter - the Freestyle Libre. And I began to closely follow my blood sugar. I wouldn't eat anythng that raised my blood glucose too high.
I found it easy to do and I began to feel better right away. By paying close attention to my CGM results I was able to come off all my medications, except the metformin, in about six months. I was losing weight, but my wife did more research and after about 12 months we transitioned to a carnivore diet for a few years because I wanted to lose even more weight and ramp up my results. People think you are crazy doing carnivore, but my doctor could not argue with my results. My diabetes is in remission and my HbA1c is consistently 5.1%. I lost a total of 90 pounds, but I’ve gained some of that back since I retired last year. And my diabetic retinopathy has improved. I used to have to get injections into my eyes – I hated that. I don’t need them anymore. My doctor calls me his star patient.
What are you doing now?
A meat-heavy keto diet. I will have some vegetables. We will have keto ice cream every Sunday. And every once in a while I will treat myself to something – like a piece of cake on someone’s birthday. It is a special thing and it doesn’t derail me.
What are your favorite go-to meals?
New York striploin steak with mushrooms. A typical day, like today, would be scrambled eggs with cheese in the morning for breakfast. Then around noon it is steak for lunch, sometimes with mushrooms. Dinner is very light if anything at all. I find I sleep better when my main meal is around noon. I find the steak at lunch holds me for hours. I am not hungry.
What do you want others to know?
It is never to late to try. I had type 2 diabetes for two decades and I could still put it into remission. But you have to know why you are doing this. What is your motivation? Sometimes people just want to lose weight and look better and that sort of motivation seems to be not so enduring. I am doing this to improve my health and get off and stay off medications. I also want to be there for my family, for my great grandchildren.
We buy New York strip loin in bulk at Costco and then portion it out to freeze. It keeps the cost down. When you eat this way, while you may be spending a lot on meat, you are not buying a lot of other things, so it is actually not that expensive.