My husband’s experience with THM and Type 2 Diabetes, how he lost weight, decreased diabetes meds, blood pressure meds and drastically decreased bad cholesterol levels.
This summer I sent my husband to the Dr. after several days of him not feeling well. He came home with a diagnosis of Type II diabetes, high cholesterol and his blood pressure was out of control.
Rewind to 2003 and you would find me in nursing school. I’m not a nurse (during clinicals I decided to go to business school – oh to be 20 again) but I immediately started trying to remember things I might have learned in school that could help us now.
We had to fix this and get my husband healthy. He has 5 kids and a wife that really like him and want him around for a very long time.
So we started trying to control and reverse his Type II Diabetes with diet and exercise. The diet that we chose was Trim Healthy Mama. If you want to read more about what this plan entails – read this overview.
Important: Neither myself or my husband are medical professions of any kind. This post is simply our experience and should not be used or assumed to be medical advice. If you have Diabetes or any other medical condition, you should consult with your doctor.
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THM and Type 2 Diabetes – My Husband’s Journey
This post will be a little different than my normal posts on THM basics or simple Trim Healthy Mama recipes. My husband put together a first hand account about his experience with a Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis, following the THM plan as a man, exercise and his follow up appointments with his doctor after the initial diagnosis.
So I’m going to post his thoughts below & then I will give my thoughts on the experience at the bottom.
My Husband’s Ride with THM and Type 2 Diabetes (In his words)
My wife thought that my recent experience being diagnosed with Type II Diabetes was worthy of a post on her blog. I love her and I do feel the story is worth a read so here we go.
Like many others, the economic and emotional impact of COVID-19 was highly significant on my life. When the country basically shut down, my compensation package was reduced and the business I have loved for the past 12 years suffered major revenue shrinkage. We had to layoff approximately 35% of our longstanding employees. Altogether it was an incredibly stressful and sad time.
Unfortunately, I didn’t handle the situation in a healthy, controlled manner which is unusual for me but I didn’t manage the situation well. When you are forced to fire people who literally did nothing wrong, that is a problem for me as I love the people that work here. Ultimately, I started drinking on a daily basis and decided that if I wanted to eat something, I simply ate it. Hot Fries, donuts, brownies, triple cheeseburgers…the more unhealthy, the better. I also decided that exercise was an overrated waste of time.
After five and a half months of this amazingly destructive behavior, I woke up one day, shockingly, feeling sick. Not a little sick with a runny nose, but I cannot move because I feel so terrible sick. My wife checked my blood pressure and it read 183/114. Not so great.
This condition lasted for 3 days. On the fourth day, the wife put me in the car and off to the doctor I went. The doctor is a family friend and I have been under his supervision for several years. When he saw me in the hallway, he immediately came over to see me, asked a handful of questions and put me on an EKG as he thought I might be having a heart attack. At 47 years old, that’s pretty scary.
Long story short, I wasn’t having a heart attack but about everything that could be wrong outside of a really serious condition like cancer. The vampires drew my blood and the lab report indicated I was in really bad shape.
Here was the Lab Report:
- Glucose – 297 (Normal: <140)
- Triglycerides – 774 (Normal: <150 mg/dL)
- A1C – 8.9 (Normal: <5.7)
For example, my Glucose was 297, Triglycerides 774, good cholesterol was low and my bad cholesterol was high. And for a kicker my Hemoglobin A1C was 8.9 which officially surpasses the threshold of 6.5 (prediabetes) meaning I had Type II Diabetes.
What Went Through My Mind After A Diabetes Diagnosis
I watched my father suffer through the misery of Diabetes. Prior to his being diagnosed, my mom was an amazing country food cook. I remember the pan fried chicken, amazing casseroles, cornbread full of butter and all the other delicious food enjoyed in my early days.
After dad’s diabetes was diagnosed, mom lost her ability to cook anything good…don’t tell her that but it’s true. The food was tasteless with a hint of cardboard texture. Needless to say, I was completely petrified that my wife who is also an amazing cook, was going to be serving up dog biscuits with gravy for dinner here on out.
However, my amazing wife took days to research diabetic diets. As it turned out, her favorite Trim Healthy Mama plan looked like it might do the trick. We agreed it couldn’t hurt to try it anyway. For the sake of my wife and five children, I screwed my head on straight and committed to getting my health back in order.
Getting on Plan And Exercising
I ate S meals 4 out of every 5 meals for the first 90 days of my recovery. When I started to feel strange like you do on pure Keto, she would make me eat a piece of fruit with some protein to even me out. My doctor had me taking 4 doses of diabetic medication per day and 2 pretty strong medications for my blood pressure. I slowly but surely started working out 6-7 days per week, and yes a walk was considered a workout at the time.
The Follow Up Appointment
I went back to the doctor two months later, 35 lbs lighter and feeling like I was 25 again. He couldn’t believe the difference.
As a matter of fact, he wrote all over my lab results and put smiley faces on it. Not the norm. The results were pretty praiseworthy if I do say so myself.
New Lab Results – 2 Months Post Diagnosis
- Glucose – 116 (Within Normal Range)
- Triglycerides – 156 (Just slightly higher than normal)
- A1C – 5.9 (Slightly over normal but now in pre-diabetes range)
All good news.
These pictures are from July 2020 & then December 2020.
5 Month Check Up – Getting off Meds
In December, all of my labs were within normal ranges and he reduced my diabetic meds to 1 pill per day, and my blood pressure meds to one half of one pill per day. That entire scenario took place from mid-July to the first week of December.
Stacy Note: Interjecting because I don’t know if he did this justice! He has been on fairly strong blood pressure medication since his 20’s and now he takes 1/2 of a pill. So not only did he improve his blood glucose and A1C, his blood pressure that has been an issue for years is now much more controlled! Ok, back to him…
No Pain, No Gain
Now I cannot say that the diet or exercise were easy or painless adjustments. Who wouldn’t want to each chocolate cheesecake with a side of sweet bread and fried chicken. However, my wife’s diet was pretty amazing. Unlike my mom, she can still cook and I completely enjoy my meals. All kidding aside, the impact on my life has been amazing.
I am still on plan and have adopted the diet as a lifestyle change. I’m no doctor and I cannot speak to whether or not the plan is the path to mitigate diabetic conditions but it has been a proven winner for me. If nothing else, I have and would tell anyone to give it a shot. Anyone who saw me before and after wouldn’t hesitate to do so.
Thank you my wonderful wife and best friend for taking care of me. I hope this quick note will help others understand that there’s a solid solution for living comfortably with Diabetes.
How We Manage Type II Diabetes with Trim Healthy Mama
We feel that adopting the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating was instrumental in achieving the better numbers that Thomas received on his follow up lab reports.
I know that there are probably many wives that will be reading this to help their husbands so I just wanted to give my perspective on what helped during this process.
Things I Didn’t Do When My Husband Was Diagnosed with Type II
Worry About Vegetables – If you are a Trim Healthy Mama, you know we love our veggies. They are a great way to fill up without a lot of calories and of course they give you tons of good nutrients. But my husband was resistant to veggies.When I cooked, he would often skip the vegetables all together. So while I actually did worry about him not eating veggies, I didn’t push it.
He is a grown man after all & I needed him to stick to this plan.He ate a lot of meat, cheese, eggs and bacon (because that is a category all on it’s own).But remember his insanely high cholesterol? I was concerned about that too of course but I figured meat/cheese was better than chips and high sugar foods so I went with it.
Would it be better if he had been eating broccoli and asparagus for breakfast? Sure but he wasn’t there. So we went with what he could deal with at the time and then slowly introduced more vegetables as he tolerated them.And I’m proud to say he now eats quite a few happily.
Worry About On Plan Desserts – I’m the type of person that goes all in to fix a problem. I would have been perfectly happy if he had decided to eat only vegetables and lean meats (because we needed to fix horrible cholesterol and diabetes).
But my husband that claims he doesn’t need dessert was wandering around after meals wanting something sweet. I started trying out different on plan treats and then would feel myself worrying. Is he eating too much of that on plan cake? It is better to have an on plan treat on hand vs. not having it and him being tempted by something else right?
These were all things running through my head. But I just stopped. I couldn’t control this, he had to. And if eating a THM cheesecake would keep him from a Snickers, that is what we had to do. So he ate a lot of on plan treats.
Worry About Frankenfoods or Personal Choice – My husband found a few things that made the transition from eating lots of carbs and sugar into THM easier (more about that below).
In the books, you read about limiting these foods since they are less than ideal from a purist view. But using these less than ideal options kept him from eating a big piece of french bread (his fave).
So while they might not be as great as eating a celery stick, it was certainly better than carbs and sugar. And you know what? After a few months he started “needing” the items less and less.
How We Made The THM Transition Easier
When we first started combining THM & Type 2 Diabetes, some things worked perfectly and other failed miserably. Here are the things that made it easier for us to stay on plan.
Find Things You Like (Or that your husband likes) – If I had tried to make him eat brussels sprouts and okra at every meal (or any meal), he would not have made it. There are so many things that you can have on Trim Healthy Mama, there is no reason to force something you don’t like. Especially early on.
We used to joke that my husband only liked “kid food.” Give him a pb&j over a nice piece of salmon any day. So finding good subs for things that he really enjoyed were key. PB&J as an example.
He doesn’t love sprouted bread and especially early on, it was extremely offensive to him. But a low carb tortilla, Jif no sugar PB and a smear of Simply Fruit grape jelly hit the spot. All the flavors that he likes but made over into a healthier option.
We also ate lots of grilled meat and salad. Venturing into lots of weird ingredients and casseroles just wasn’t what he was up for. So we ate simple. We knew what to expect and enjoyed most of our meals.
Early on he also liked a lot of Frankenfoods. Low Carb Tortilla Pizzas were his favorite. I bet he ate one a day for weeks. Although that frequency isn’t really highly condoned on plan, he did ok with them.
Plan for Eating Out – Since we started him on THM during COVID, there wasn’t lots of eating out for us but of course life happens and you will end up in a fast food drive thru sooner or later.
Plan for it and know what you will eat.Honestly, going to a fast food restaurant seemed kind of blah to me on THM. But we have really enjoyed a bunless burger on a salad (just FYI, the taste you like is in the meat not the bread) or a Taco Bell protein bowl.
Click here for a THM Fast Food Guide or a Sit Down Restaurant guide.
Plan for Cravings & Stock Your Pantry – What kind of snacks do you crave? Salty or Sweet? Keep some things that you will enjoy at your house, in your car and at the office so that you are not tempted to grab something from the vending machine.
If you are a salty/crunchy fan, here is a list of store bought chips and crackers that will help you stay on plan. More of a dessert lover like me? These store bought sweet treats will keep you content without the sugar.
Reasons for Success
So obviously our goal with THM and Type 2 Diabetes was to get rid of the Big D. And by get rid of, I don’t mean that it will really be gone because my husband will always be a Type 2 Diabetic. There is no going back once you cross that line.
But what you can do is control it and live a healthy life. His immediate goal was to go off the diabetes meds. He wanted to control it with diet and exercise alone. And while he is not quite there yet (another follow up in about a month), he is so very close.
Here is what we attribute to his success in lowering his cholesterol, glucose and A1C.
*Again, we are not medical professionals and this is our personal experience. Speak with your doctor about your medical treatment.
Trim Healthy Mama – THM and Type 2 Diabetes were a great combo for my husband. He ate S meals primarily (especially in those first 3 months) and then mixed in an E meal every few days.This helped him to not feel the deprivation of Keto and having such a restricted carb allowance.
However, we wanted to keep the carbs pretty low to try and heal his body.Following the fuel rotation that we did is one way that we feel he was able to be successful.
He probably had an E meal 2-3 times per week in the first 90 days which is less than the THM recommendation of 5-7. We have slowly added in more for him but early on he did less.
Walking – He went pretty hard core with his exercise routine and definitely did more than just walking. But the reason that I chose walking as a success factor is because it was always there.If he was too sore to lift weights or do planks, he could walk.
It has actually become one of my favorite ways to connect with my husband throughout the week. We walk and talk & get some fresh air. We walk when it is cold & when it is 100 degrees out.
And if that isn’t enough, it is great exercise for our kids too. They ride bikes & get their wiggles out while we get a bit of adult time a few feet back. My 3 year old is a BEAST and often rides close to 3 miles on his little bike with training wheels.
Nike Training App – We go to the point where I forbid my husband from saying these 3 words. I’m kidding but only kinda. He loves this app so much! And if you promise not to tell him, I think it is pretty cool also.
It is totally free & has tons of free workouts that you can do in your living room! Whether you feel like getting in a 45 minute workout or a 10 minute yoga session, they have it.
The Nike Training App really helped him to focus on areas that he wanted to improve and that worked with his busy schedule.
Mindset – Have you ever started a diet on Monday and fallen off the wagon by lunch? I know I have. When we started this in July both of us had a different mindset. We genuinely set out to improve upon our healthy, not just with the sole goal of losing weight.
I used to plan to cheat. Follow the diet all week and then blow it at the end of the week. But this time instead of planning to cheat, I planned Trim Healthy Approved splurges. A steak for dinner or an on plan cheesecake were my rewards for sticking to plan.
Rewarding with food might not be the best but I love food so a special dinner once a week made us happy.
These are the things that we felt were beneficial in improving my husband’s health over the course of just a few months.
THM & Type II Resources
Did you know there is a Trim Healthy Mama Diabetic Facebook group? Well there is! If you are wanting to combine THM and Type 2 Diabetes – Go join it. It is a great group of people.
There are lots of knowledgeable Type II diabetics (and even some Type I) that can give you help if you are struggling with anything in particular.
There is no medical advice given on the page but it is nice just to bounce ideas off someone else that is in the same boat. I’m a member of the group even though I’m not diabetic. So if you are like me and want to join to help someone in your family, they would love to have you!
Wanna Be Instagram Friends? I can’t wait! Follow my food diary here.