I'll start this post with an update on my project "cycling 1,000 km in the month of July". It went completely according to plan, and I finished with a ride of 101 km on July 30th, so I even had a day to spare. The many kilometers meant a noticeable improvement in my cycling fitness, but also a slight setback for my other training, which includes strength training and running, so I'm now focusing on optimizing that again. Cycling actually had a positive impact on my blood sugar, which benefited from the many hours on the bike, both during and in the hours afterward.
I've already planned the next challenge, which will be a 3-4 day mountain hike in Norway at the end of August.
This time, I'll tell you a bit about how I eat and why I've chosen the diet I have.
I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2009 by coincidence, and my hemoglobin A1c (long-term blood sugar) wasn't sky high, but it was just above the diabetes threshold. It was a bit of a shock because I lived a healthy lifestyle, exercised quite a bit, and was only slightly overweight – but the excess weight was around my waist and abdomen, undoubtedly indicating fat accumulation around the internal organs, especially the liver and pancreas.
This overweight, combined with diabetes in my genes, triggered my diabetes, I'm sure.
For the first couple of years, I didn't take it seriously enough, thinking it would just go away because it must be a mistake. After a couple of years, I was checked again, this time by a new doctor who took it more seriously.
I was put on Metformin and got some information about the disease, diet, and exercise, but very little. There's a real lack of information for newly diagnosed individuals. You're very much on your own and must seek out additional information and learn about the disease yourself. Fortunately, there are later municipal programs that new patients can participate in, but it's not nearly enough or comprehensive enough to meet the need.
I began to take the disease more seriously and changed my diet to eat according to official recommendations. However, I didn't quite understand why my blood sugar was still rising slightly at each check-up with the doctor. The doctor explained that it was entirely normal because diabetes is a chronic and progressive disease that often requires more and more medication. He said that about 50% of all diabetics were on added insulin after 10 years!
That was the starting point for me to do something drastic about the disease.
I decided that my declared goal is that I'll never need added insulin, i.e., I'll make sure it's never necessary.
I started studying the disease on the internet, in articles, professional media, research studies, etc., and began to wonder, "if it's carbohydrates that raise my blood sugar to dangerous levels, why am I recommended to eat 250-350 grams of carbohydrates per day?".
Back then, the concept of LCHF (low-carb-high/healthy-fat) didn't really exist as it does today, so I had to "invent" a diet with fewer carbohydrates myself. In the beginning, I practically lived off salads, tomatoes, cucumbers, and meat, but I could see from my blood sugar that it worked. My blood sugar normalized after a few days. It was a real eye-opener, and from there, I began to refine and optimize my diet and found good recipes with few carbohydrates.
Today, the internet is practically overflowing with them, but it wasn't like that back then, so I was a bit on my own, but it worked fine, and I've been eating this type of diet for more than 10 years now. I'm not 100% strict all the time because there should also be room for a little "fun and mischief," but my philosophy is that the more stringent you keep your blood sugar on a daily basis, the better you can tolerate occasional indulgences.
Many mistakenly believe that you eat a lot of fat on this type of diet, but that's a big misunderstanding. Of course, you eat more fat than on the official dietary guidelines because when you cut down so much on carbohydrates, you need to get your nutrition from protein and fat, and both are often increased. Naturally, you stick to healthy fats. My diet is now LCHP (low-carb-high-protein). My cholesterol levels are fine, in case anyone is wondering about that.
I can still keep myself (almost) medication-free, and nothing indicates that my insulin resistance has increased over the years. I have no complications and am generally healthy and fit, apart from type 2 diabetes, which I've gradually become accustomed to living with.
Feel free to comment and give your opinions on the topics.
The image shows Freestyle Libre's estimation of my HbA1c/long-term blood sugar for the last 90 days. Not exactly precise estimation, but close enough.