Ed and the School of Hard Knocks


By: Joy Pape

For Ed, diabetes wasn’t only a wake-up call—it was an alarm clock.

In October 2001 at 63 years of age, Ed was tired all the time and weighed over 250 pounds.

“I don’t know exactly how much I weighed then, because I didn’t weigh myself. I know I was already losing weight with my diabetes, but 250 is the number I started at.”

Before diagnosis, Ed suspected he might have diabetes. He went to have his blood glucose tested. No one told him his blood glucose was 428 mg/dl that day. A few days later, on Halloween night, he fell asleep at the wheel, causing a four-car accident. He told the emergency room staff he thought he had diabetes, but they didn’t check his blood glucose level.

Within a few days, his hunch was finally confirmed. His blood glucose was 526 mg/dl. His doctor gave him the choice to go home and learn to manage his diabetes on his own, or to go to the hospital and be educated about diabetes self-management. He opted to go to the hospital. He has never regretted it.

“When I was diagnosed, I had already started to lose weight due to my diabetes,” says Ed. “So I just kept doing what I learned to do. I felt lucky I didn’t have any complications and decided it was time for me to make a change.

Ed’s reason
Ending up in the hospital with a blood glucose of 526 mg/dl. “I realized I was lucky to not have any of the diabetes complications, and I decided it was time to change so I did not end up with complications.”

Ed’s problem
“I was inactive for a long time and developed bad habits. Both of my grandmothers were overweight. Bad programming. Lack of knowledge about good nutrition.”

What was in Ed’s way?
“No exercise. I ate whenever and whatever I wanted. Portions were too big, and too many carbs. I tried the Stillman and Atkins diets, but they didn’t work in the long run because I was always hungry due to eating too few carbs.”

What was his method?
“I started walking most days for 20 to 40 minutes. I learned to count and control my carbs. I aim for 80 grams per meal, give or take. The big difference is from learning to limit the carbs instead of eliminating them. I’m surprised at how much I eat now without gaining because of controlling my carb intake and getting regular exercise. I avoid taking elevators and parking close by.”

Ed’s Progress
  November, 2005 May, 2006
Weight 250 pounds 150 pounds
BMI 35.9 21.5
A1C 14% 6.7%
Blood pressure 118/80 118/70
Lipid Profile
Total cholesterol 213 mg/dl 155 mg/dl
Triglycerides 207 mg/dl 28 mg/dl
HDL 43 mg/dl 77 mg/dl
LDL 128 mg/dl 72 mg/dl



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