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A Year of 13 Weeks

And what have I learned? It's complicated.

by
Charlie Martin

Bio

October 19, 2013 - 3:00 pm
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Today is 19 October. Yeah, I know, you can see it at the top of the article, but that’s an important date, because it’s now exactly a year since I determined I had to take some actions about my weight and glucose. (I came out about it in my first 13 Weeks post, “A Fat Nerd Does Diet,” on 28 October last year.)

The results overall have been good. I had several different issues when I started.

  • I weighed 301.5 on the 19th.
  • My A1c was 7.5. Although I struggled with admitting it, that’s real no-kidding diabetes mellitus. For me it appears to be type 2, (T2DM) characterized by lowered sensitivity to insulin. That was on a pretty much maximum dose of metformin, 2500 mg/day; if I were depending on drug treatment alone, I was heading for insulin.
  • I had a long-term problem with gastric reflux (GERD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); I was on omeprazole every day and had been since a severe esophageal spasm and put me into the ER with chest pain two years before.
  • My total lipids were reasonable on 20mg/day of simvastatin but my high-density lipoproteins (HDL) were low, and my low-density (LDL) were high.
  • I also had a long-term problem with depression, although I hadn’t had a really acute episode in some years.

Now, a year later:

  • I’m down nearly 40 pounds; my recent low was 264.
  • My A1c is been between 5.9 and 6.4. The T2DM appears to be under control. I’m down to 1000 mg/day of metformin, and did a long stretch at 500 mg/day.
  • My lipids are enough better that I’m off statins, at least for this 13 week period.
  • The IBS no longer troubles me — I can’t say it’s completely resolved because, frankly, how would I know? But I haven’t had a painful episode in certainly almost a year. The GERD is also considerably better, and I’m slowly weaning myself off the omeprazole.
  • I think I can say the depression is significantly better. I haven’t had an acute episode this year, but then I hadn’t had a really acute episode in some years. But I had also been chronically dysthymic, which in combination with acute depression is called “double depression.” I really feel like that’s significantly better. I plan to write more about depression in the coming months; there are interesting suggestions that there may be some physiology that connects depression, obesity, and T2DM.

What did I do?

  • I’ve adopted a consistently low-carb, high-fat diet. I’ve played around with variants, and right now I’m around 50g carbs a day, with most of the carbs coming from fruits and yoghurt.
  • I’ve nearly completely eliminated wheat. Occasionally eating wheat seems to result in immediate exacerbation of the GERD and possibly of the IBS.
  • I’ve experimented with high-intensity interval training and high-intensity strength training, although I’ve had trouble making that a consistent practice.
  • I recently tried a broad-spectrum probiotic, which seems to have had very good effects.
  • I’ve largely structured these changes into a series of 13 week long experiments, which appears to be a sufficiently powerful model that a number of other people have adopted it for their own changes.

What have I learned in this year? It’s complicated.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Yes. I will be continuing to post, and I'm going to organize the first year's columns into an ebook which I will -flog the hell out of- mention here when it's available.

I just had an interesting conversation with my friend the physiology professor; we may have some actual science coming out of this too. I'll talk about that in next week's column, when I've had a little chance to digest (heh) it.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, Standing Ovation! I hope you continue posting, because it seems to me there's more to learn. (Not to mention trying to get one's doctor on board as well.)
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
# StandingOvation This is a fantastic summary of the path you (all of us with you) have traveled in the last year. I only faintly recognized truth in the statements like "every metabolism is different" and "what works for Liz won't necessarily work for you" now I am a full on believer. Thanks for your courage and honesty Charlie. You make the world a better place.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (15)
All Comments   (15)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
my roomate's sister-in-law makes $75 every hour on the laptop. She has been out of work for 6 months but last month her paycheck was $20467 just working on the laptop for a few hours. >>>>>>>> http://xurl.es/7nkyz
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thank you, Charlie. This has opened my eyes to many things I needed to learn. God bless you and guide you in your life pilgrimage.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
You have done a great job. Both the weight loss, and your understanding of the issues. I am an internist, and also have the same problems as you - so I have been paying attention. I am writing because, while your understanding of the weight issues is pretty good, you have, in my opinion some misconceptions about the diabetes issues.
First, statins are your friend. You probably should never go off them because as a type II diabetic, your risk of coronary disease is quite high. Your LDL should be no hight than 70. 50 is probably better. Almost nobody can reach those numbers without a statin. Statins also seem to have an effect of stabilizing the lining of the coronary arteries that helps protect against heart attacks. Unless you are having serious side effects from statins, they should be your permanent friends.
ACE inhibitors or ARBs are your friends. Unless you already have really low blood pressure, they protect your kidneys.
Metformin is your friend. Unless your IBS renders it a frenemy. But it is your best chance of keeping your pancreas from giving up the ghost down the line.
The idea isn't to get off as many drugs as you can. It is to make your body as metabolically healthy as possible. That means diet and drugs. I think you might ( I say might) be going to far in thinking that getting off all drugs is a victory.
All the best.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, I'm guessing I was unclear. I got off the statins, at least temporarily, because there is some reason to believe that they impair weight loss, and my LDL is proportionately high, but it was in the neighborhood of 75 and total cholesterol was 123. My doc thought seeing if dropping the statins helped with the weight loss was a worthwhile experiment -- and shortly after I broke the 270 pound plateau where I'd been for six months. I'm not on ACE inhibitors because my regular resting BP is about 105/60. And I've gone up from 500 to 1000 on the metformin.

The point is that I'm not striving to get off the drugs, but trying to treat what needs to be treated. Right now, the thing that seems to be intractable is the straight-out weight loss and glucose.

I'll be getting new bloods including another lipid panel at the end of this experiment, and we'll see what it shows.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
You seem to have too many explanations and theories bobbing around in your head, and your attention manically jumps from one to the other. Unless you are a true, high-level, scientist of all these biochemical issues, I can only gather that this is neurotic gibberish that you use to fill the silence.

A loss of forty pounds over a year represents a huge achievement. That alone should eliminate the depression. Congratulations!

It's fine to have all that going on in your head, but having a few goals for the next year, goals that a achievable according to the experience of this last year, is likely to be the productive route. You don't say what your average, continuous high-heartrate, exercise period has been, or what you might step it up to. My own experience is that the first pounds lost are the low-hanging fruit. The rest are the matter of years and, for me, thousands of miles run.
(show less)
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is good overview of where the science is currently. If it seems disjointed it's because there is a lot still unknown. Neurotic gibberish? Please. Here is the PubMed search engine: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed

Look up his theories in the literature for yourself. Many of the articles will be behind paywalls but the abstracts are available for free.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sigh. All those years at Duke doing biomedical simulations in the Medical School, apparently wasted.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, Standing Ovation! I hope you continue posting, because it seems to me there's more to learn. (Not to mention trying to get one's doctor on board as well.)
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes. I will be continuing to post, and I'm going to organize the first year's columns into an ebook which I will -flog the hell out of- mention here when it's available.

I just had an interesting conversation with my friend the physiology professor; we may have some actual science coming out of this too. I'll talk about that in next week's column, when I've had a little chance to digest (heh) it.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am learning a ton from you. And as the mother of a Type 1 diabetic the more I know, the healthier I can keep her. She has started on the yogurt for probiotics. I am interested to see if it helps her too.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
I will be as well, but remember that type I is a very different mechanism, so don't be diosappointed if it doesn't help.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Great job. I am also an IBS/GERD sufferer. You may not be gluten intolerant, but wheat (all grains really) are FODMAPS along with other fruits and vegetables. Eliminating these has completely relieved my IBS symptoms. Taking HCL will also help with the GERD (you have too little stomach acid, not too much).

Also, try reading It Starts With Food. Great book, great program.

http://www.whole9life.com/itstartswithfood/
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Okay, the book's now in my Kindle. I've got an article to finish today, so I won't get to it right away.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
You already live in interesting times, so guess you're still curious about what's next. Happy trails to you.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
# StandingOvation This is a fantastic summary of the path you (all of us with you) have traveled in the last year. I only faintly recognized truth in the statements like "every metabolism is different" and "what works for Liz won't necessarily work for you" now I am a full on believer. Thanks for your courage and honesty Charlie. You make the world a better place.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
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