Growing up my dad was my superhero and as far as I can remember I had always wanted to be like my him. My father is a happy go lucky person and the life of every party. He is an amazing dad who left no stone unturned in fulfilling all our wishes. My dad had always been a big foodie and really careless about his health. So, it was not really a surprise when he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
The news really broke my dad and he gave up on life. I could not bear seeing him like this, so I decided to be his motivation and help him fight diabetes. I am sharing my dad’s battle with type 2 diabetes and how we reversed it in just 6 months. I hope that our journey will inspire others and will help them in their struggle against diabetes.
My dad’s earlier lifestyle
My dad is someone who enjoys life to the fullest but can be really careless when it comes to his health. His lively nature makes him a favourite with adults and kids as well. As a kid I have memories of never ending series of parties and get togethers at our home and he often over indulged in unhealthy eating habits. Mostly, he ate much more than needed just to enjoy the taste and the result was a paunch and weight gain. All this added with almost no exercise and physical work made me wonder if it was all a little too much.
Most of his time was spent on the couch watching television, included with constant munching and snacking. I remember my mother getting really irritated with his unhealthy habits. But no amount of nagging, scolding or fights could bring any change in his attitude. He was never too cautious about his health and took it for granted.
How things changed?
Last year we noticed sudden changes in his health. He had lost noticeable amount of weight, especially around the neck and hands. My mother told me that he was also visiting the washroom more often, particularly in the night and was always tired. But my dad being the person he is, did not pay any heed to any of the warnings and things continued the same way.
Then one day, I got a call from my mother that he had a severe pain in the left shoulder and was unable to move it. He had experienced some stiffness in this shoulder earlier but had never paid much attention to it. We took him to the doctor, who gave us a list of tests and some medicines.
The reports revealed that his blood sugar was very high, both fasting and post lunch and the advanced tests showed that the sugar levels were high since past few months. My dad was suffering from frozen shoulder as well and was advised physiotherapy but it was necessary to control the blood sugar levels first. This news made my once jolly natured father really depressed and unenthusiastic about life. It was really difficult for him to accept the diagnosis. After several visits and follow-up investigations, it was confirmed that my dad was suffering from type 2 diabetes.
The doctor was considerate and knew exactly what the problem was. He counselled my dad to follow a healthy lifestyle, eat the right kinds of foods and most importantly, be active.
How I helped my dad reverse his type 2 diabetes?
This was a wake up call for my father and I was worried that my dad would not be able to cope up with the healthy diet and active lifestyle changes. But I was wrong, he took the disease in his stride and very gracefully accepted the challenge. I decided to help him fight diabetes and to be his constant support just as he has been mine all throughout my life. We researched about expert advises and the things we could do to reverse diabetes. We went through various steps and were really organised in our fight against diabetes:
The first step: The first and foremost thing was to understand how diabetes affects our body and the effects of raised blood sugar levels. It is really important to know all about the disease and its harmful affects to fight it. My dad was sufficiently prepared to take the right action. We planned to make changes in his diet and lifestyle accordingly.
The second step: We replaced the simple carbs in his diet with complex carbs like whole grains, oats, barley, brown rice and multigrain flour. My dad said no to all refined carbs like breads, biscuits, processed foods, sugars, colas, fruits juices and other sweet drinks. He started drinking plenty of water, tea without sugar once a day and green tea twice a day.
The third step: My dad’s new diet also included fresh vegetables, leafy vegetables in salads, soups and curries. Starchy veggies like potatoes and rice were a huge no. He now prefers apples, berries, limes and melons and avoids fruits that are pulpy and have high sugar content. He also enjoys baked fish or egg whites as they are much healthier options. He munches on sprouts, almonds, walnuts, garlic petals, flaxseeds and fenugreek (methi) seeds in between meals to satisfy his hunger pangs. He has also added yoghurt and buttermilk to his daily diet.
The fourth step: He goes for a walk twice a day for 30 to 45 minutes in the morning and a stroll in the park in the evening. He is now a source of inspiration for all his friends and even us and feels great about his life. He is much more relaxed and energetic.
And that’s not all, he is now much more physically active and enthusiastic about life. He still loves watching television but not for long. He is also conscious about his posture now and is much more at peace with himself. He is rarely tired nowadays and seldom complains about pain or fatigue. Regular exercise and walking has made a drastic change in sugar levels. He sleeps well during the night and wakes up refreshed, excited about the new day. His determination to get his normal life back is awe-inspiring. I can see the changes in my dad, he is a positively transformed new person now.
His fasting and post lunch blood sugar is within the normal range and so is the glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c), which shows diabetes control over the last three months. His sugar count, which was 6.5% earlier has come down to 5.5%, with all the efforts and lifestyle changes, my dad is a much happier and confident person now.
I am glad that I could help my dad reverse his type 2 diabetes. I am an extremely proud son, he has taught me that with firm determination and constant effort nothing is unachievable. It is also extremely necessary to stay in touch with the physician and follow their instructions. It is of utmost importance to get the blood sugar tests done and take the recommended medications regularly. Various preventive health check-ups have diabetes screening and other blood glucose tests as well. This can help us identify our diet and lifestyle errors and make the necessary changes in time.
Love yourself and do not take your health for granted. With the true spirit and dedication, anyone can reverse diabetes.
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