2020 has been a horrible year for many people but for me and my wife it’s been the healthiest of our 20 + years together!
My health was the worst in May of 2006 when I survived a heart attack. The cardiologist I saw twice a year afterwards would tell me my sugar level was high, but didn’t explain the gravity of this and I didn’t ask questions or do my own research on what this actually meant. It was never suggested that I see an endocrinologist. I lost some weight after my heart attack and cleaned up my eating habits a bit and kept going merrily along with my doctor visits. In 2014, because of a change in insurance, I started seeing a new cardiologist, which was the best thing that could have happened. On my initial visit my lab work showed my glucose was high and he explained that I was a probably a type 2 diabetic. My A1C result was 10.6. He wanted that corrected right away and referred me to an endocrinologist. By June of 2016, I lost weight by eating what I now know is low carb and my A1C was 5.8. Diabetic medication was also prescribed so I thought that I had a key to success. But then I’d relax my vigilance and my weight and my labs would move in the wrong direction.
Time To Make A Change
We went on a Christmas cruise at the end of 2019. When we returned I knew by how I felt that it was time to make some changes. As I said, I had lost weight in the past but the results never stuck. The weight would slowly, or not so slowly, return. Physicians would suggest weight loss but had no real process or method of how to recommend. I had never been educated on insulin and other hormones actually function in my body.
The wake-up call came after I received my A1C results on February 20, 2020, it was 7.1. I got a message from my Kaiser Primary care physician to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
In March we met to discuss the A1C results. Janine attends these appointments with me, which is great because she asks questions I don’t think about. Our doctor wanted to add a medication to my regime, one to protect my kidneys from future damage, which I didn’t want to take. In response to my “no”, she said “it’s either lose weight or you need to take the pill”. Now here’s where things went differently than ever in the past. I asked, rather tartly, if she any recommendations on how to lose the weight. She replied “actually I do. Try intermittent fasting and a keto diet and read Jason Fung’s book The Obesity Code”. Janine ordered two copies that day. We both read it and also Dr. Fung’s The Diabetic Code. That second book spoke more to me.
Starting To Make Things Happen
During the initial stages of the home quarantine, I improved my A1C, lost some weight and finished reading Dr. Fung’s books. With Janine’s support and research, we decided to sign up for The Fasting Method and work with a coach. We started our sessions with Jeff McCann on June 1, 2020. I weighed 222 pounds that day.
Jeff recommended a plan to start with two 36 hour fasts that week, Tuesday and Friday and then follow up with him the following Monday. This would require we stop eating by 6pm the night before. We accomplished our goals that week with 2 fasts, the first 36 hrs. and the second 38 hrs. I drank so much water that week that I joked with Janine that I should install a standing desk in our downstairs bathroom! I made some signs for the kitchen and placed them on the pantry door, refrigerator and microwave to remind both of us we were fasting. It really helped that we are doing this together.
There have been some tough moments but overall this new method of eating has been easier than we thought it would be. We have also found that we can accomplish lots of projects that have been on hold because we have extra time when we aren’t eating. Below are my A1C results from 2017 until now.
We are fasting 3 times per week; our average fast is 40 hrs. We have completed 57 fasts and had 8 coaching sessions with Jeff. The results say it all – my last A1C was 5.3, I started at 222 lbs., now I weigh 175.2 lbs. and I’ve gone from wearing a size 42(expandable) to a regular size 34 pants.
Coach Jeff has been great to work with. It’s most helpful having someone that has gone through this himself to get practical suggestions and pointers from on how to tackle issues that come up. I couldn’t imagine trying to do this on my own. Doing it as a couple made this a great experience so far. Janine has similar success and excited about our new look together.
FYI. Met with my Kaiser Primary on September 10, she gave me a gold star and an A+ for the turn around and the dramatic improvement in my weight loss and reduction in A1C. She recommended I stop my daily metformin medication and soon I will be getting an updated A1C to see the comparison of results without any medication.
I can’t say enough about The Fasting Method and Coach Jeff; I only wish I knew about both sooner!
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By Jason Fung, MD
Jason Fung, M.D., is a Toronto-based nephrologist (kidney specialist) and a world leading expert in intermittent fasting and low-carb diets.