So many of our inspirational stories come from people we follow on Instagram, Facebook, or other social media. For many of them, they’re well on their way to their goals. While it’s wonderful to see someone who’s “made it,” it’s often good to find and follow someone who’s in the thick of things, who’s actually in the trenches with it.
A Real Person Success Story
Robert is one of my clients. He had been diabetic for a little more than two years, and was headed down a similar road to other members of his family, one of which had lost a toe to diabetes. He started with me about two months ago, at the end of August 2016.
Two weeks prior to coming in, Robert had already made the wise decision to cut out soda from his diet. Robert claims he hadn’t eaten a fresh fruit or vegetable with any kind of regularity for the past six years. He drank nothing but soda. As in, perhaps once a week he would have a bottle of water just to “be healthy” when he went to the vending machine. He noticed that even in the two weeks of giving up soda, his face had changed shape and he had started to experience a little weight loss.
Taking It to the Next Level
Robert wasn’t yet experiencing optimal health, and still considered himself overfat, with goals to get that fat off his body. He came to see me on a whim. He was literally walking to Taco Bell at the time, and walked by our gym and stopped to chat for a minute
Quick disclaimer: this is one person’s journey. What he has experienced can be seen as an inspiration, but it ain’t a prescription for anyone. While I’m not a doctor, I do truly enjoy getting people sweaty and helping them change their lives, and believe that being active and eating well can have a dramatic impact on anyone’s health.
In the past, with his diabetes, if Robert’s blood sugar dropped below 200 mg/dL, he felt off and would start to turn white. The American Diabetes Association recommends a blood sugar level of 180 mg/dL after meals for diabetics (a person without diabetes would see a post meal blood sugar measurement at 140 mg/dL), while 300 is seen as a cue for a trip to the hospital. Using just these numbers as a gauge, we could say that Robert wasn’t well, and we could say that he was essentially in a perpetual state of sickness.
Reversing Diabetes in Real Life
Robert never thought that he would EVER see numbers as low as 180 mg/dL again, but he wanted to at least try to lose some weight, so he came in to see me. He quite literally hit the ground running, coming into the gym 5-6 days a week since that first session.
Aside from the blood sugar readings, he was also suffering from numerous annoying, but significant health issues ranging from dry skin, to low energy, to slurred speech, and even trouble focusing his eyes when he was working at his job of being a photographer.
Robert was also constantly tired, didn’t sleep well, and had to drag himself out of bed in the morning. He works in a bike shop, both as a photographer and as general help when needed. All of that moving of boxes and gear would sometimes result in small cuts and nicks, nothing serious, but it seemed like the minute a cut would finally heal after a few weeks, he’d get another. None of these things individually were enough to make him change his habits, nor are they as quantifiable as his blood sugar readings, but they are worth noting, as we’ll see later.
How Exercise Can Change You From the Inside Out
Heading to a sweaty place like the gym helps facilitate some pretty sweet changes in your body chemistry. Robert, however, was also making some sweet, or not-so-sweet, changes to his diet. He had pretty much completely eliminated any added sugar from his diet, and was also working on cutting out carbs that were grain-based. Yeah, he was headed into the Paleo world, even though he didn’t necessarily know it yet. We were focusing on making changes little by little and celebrating the small victories along the way. Success breeds more success.
The first thing Robert started noticing was changes in his energy levels. Now, unlike in the past where he had to quite literally drag himself out of bed in the morning, he was waking up and feeling ready to go, many times even without an alarm! He noticed that he was actually seeming to heal faster, too. Those little nicks and cuts that used to take a few weeks to heal were now gone by the end of the week. The same could be said for the dry skin that he had on his feet—it was all healed up. He also felt that the time it took his eyes to readjust from the view-finder in his camera to the outside world again got smaller. His vision just seemed better.
While all these anecdotes are fun to share, Roberts’s blood sugar was now normal! Robert wasn’t just changing small things on the outside, he was actually now a different person on the inside as well. As I mentioned above, in the past it wasn’t uncommon for Robert to have a blood glucose level of over 200 mg/dL. After a few weeks of changing things up, he posted to his Instagram that he was down to 126 mg/dL after his workout. A few weeks later, and he posted that his blood sugar was at 89 mg/dL. This is actual normal blood sugar, not even close to diabetic.
Robert’s body chemistry had changed, and according to those numbers he was no longer showing anything you would expect from someone who’s diabetic. Robert hadn’t seen a number that low in over four years. He felt healthier and had more energy than he could ever remember.
Health Journeys Are Always a Work in Progress
Had all of Robert’s weight come off yet? No. But his body chemistry is that of a healthy young man instead of a sick patient. The changes to his outer shell are only a matter of time. He has already lost over an inch off his waist. No doubt, there is much more to come.
We’ll be sure to update you on how Robert is doing, but if you’d like more constant updates, feel free to follow him on Instagram and also to follow our gym. You can also follow PaleoPlan on Instagram, where we post daily inspiration for Paleo recipes and other motivation for your healthy journey.
The take away here is that many, many people are looking for a magic pill, herb, or substance. They’re looking for some outside force to come in and suddenly change their life.
The truth is, your health is largely determined by what you do every day.
The active choices that you make will change your life. Not what you want to do, or are thinking about doing, or plan to start tomorrow, but what you are doing today. It’s about what you’re doing right now to move yourself forward in the world of health and fitness. At the very least, cut out all the added sugar from your diet. Get sweaty everyday. These two simple things can start you on your journey, your health is out there. It’s ready—are you?