MY JOURNEY, THUS FAR
This picture of the valley at Shimba Hills in Kenya reminds me of the the many paths that are available to us in reaching our destination – Some more apparent than others, some we stumble upon, some we are guided through and some take years to discover. In retrospect, it would seem to me that the journey is more important than the destination. It is in the journey that we gain experience, gain new knowledge and use that knowledge to further our mortal experiences. In essence, we come into our own, making each one of us unique human beings (or humanoids as Star Trekkers would call us!). As Michael Scott, author of the book series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, so eloquently said “We are nothing more than the sum total of our memories and experiences“.
With this in mind, allow me to narrate the sum total of my memories and experiences in the area that obsessively concerns us in the modern world: health and weight.
The latter half of 2015 was the year of much change in many Kenyan lives. The most significant event was the closure of Imperial Bank Ltd which devastated and changed the lives and livelihoods of many. The effects are still being felt today all because of greed – if ever there was one vice that will lead to the annihilation of mankind and humanity, it is this.
Greed, this is what the medical world will have you believe is the cause of the obesity pandemic that is sweeping the earth in the modern age. I agree with them. The debate lies in whose greed. It is not the greed of the individual who supposedly scoffs down tons of food so that one becomes obese, instead it is the Big Pharma , the medical community and the Big Food companies who have hidden the truth from the public for close to four decades. This is my opinion.
For years, I have been struggling with health issues. In fact, it is a common joke in my family that I have been a guest at every hospital in Kenya!! As a young woman, I constantly suffered from respiratory related infections and often had to be hospitalised. In 2003, I was eventually diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Disease (after consulting with a series of doctors who put me through agonising test after test) – a disease which affects the ovaries and the production of the hormone oestrogen, effectively throwing your body completely out of whack. In that year alone, I put on close to 20 kg. Devastating!
Thereafter, over the following years I underwent multiple surgeries and tried hundreds of diets to reduce and control my weight but nothing worked. I was swimming 100 laps 3 times a week, doing yoga at home and trying to eat “healthy” as had been advised by the doctors.
In 2007/2008, my husband & I decided to undergo IVF as we were having trouble conceiving. The procedure was successful and I conceived twins. However, it was also at this time that I developed Gestational Diabetes Type 2. At this stage, the doctors put me on insulin, a drug known to increase weight gain. In fact the doctor warned me that I would put on more weight (like I really needed that !!). Unfortunately, due to various complications caused by diabetes, I was unable to carry the pregnancy to term and I miscarried at 5 and 6 months respectively. It was a difficult time and I will always be grateful for family and friends who were there to support us during that time. Most of all though, I am sincerely grateful for my husband who has been my pillar of strength, always encouraging me and loving me unconditionally.
The diabetes remained after the pregnancy and thus began my long struggle to control the disease. As the years progressed, I was placed on increasing dosages of diabetes medication and on statins but the disease just got worse.
Then in June 2015 I decided to give diet another try, I went on a low fat diet and was exercising at least 2 hours a day, tracking everything that I ate and doing all the right things but the results were just not impressive. I lost about 5 kgs in 3 months and it was just so much agony. At the start of June 2015, I was at my highest weight ever – 103kg. I was miserable, uncomfortable, moody, hungry and tired all the time and just generally unhappy. I was fed-up.
I thought to myself ” There has to be a better way” so in August 2015, I began my search for answers. That’s when I came across Dr. Jason Fung’s videos and his blog. It took me a week or so to get through the blog and videos. It went against everything that I had been told in my health history but it was a REVELATION of the most profound kind. Finally my body and its problems began to make sense. I could take control of my own health without relying on advise from doctors. I enlisted the co-operation of my physician and started my journey. I decided to conduct my n=1 experiment and try the advise that was on Dr. Fung’s blog.
My husband, although initially reluctant, decided to join me on this journey as he was also a diabetic and insulin dependant.
Dr. Fung recommends a protocol of low carbohydrates, particularly processed carbohydrates and Intermittent Fasting. He also explains, in simple, understandable terms, the science and mechanisms at work.
The results were astounding. In the first month alone, I lost 8 kg. As at the date of this blog post, I have lost 29 kg and still losing.
Besides the weight loss ( let’s face it – it is a huge motivator) my blood work results are the best they have ever been. I had started with an HB1 of 8.8 and 3 months later my HB1 was at 4.5! My husband had great results too. Within 2 months of starting a low carb, high fat diet (LCHF), he was completely off his insulin. His Hb1 dropped from 8.5 to 5.3 and in 3 months he lost 10 kgs. He was not overweight to begin with.
Both of our medications have been reduced – a phenomenon unknown in the world of diabetic medicine. In the case of both my husband and I, we had managed to reverse our diabetes (A diagnosis of diabetes is characterised by an HB1 of 6.0 or higher). We also experience a great increase in energy levels, better sleeping patterns and sound sleep. We achieved this restoration of health, not through the advise of our doctors but through what we learnt from the internet. My point is that even though this strategy works, it is not conventional knowledge amongst doctors and it is not widely accepted, as yet.
Our doctor, while initially, cautiously optimistic was astounded. His exact words were “I don’t believe it”. He advised us to continue doing what we were doing.
We were lucky to find this particular physician who was willing to work with us. What, to me, is shocking is that other doctors we approached, simply refused to work with us despite knowing that the disease was getting worse. Surely, as a doctor, having taken the Hippocratic oath, you are obliged to act in the best interests of your patient with the ultimate objective of restoring health. Given my experience, I can no longer rely only on the medical community’s advise and in this respect, the internet is our saving grace. The information you need is all available free of charge. You just have to ensure that it is from a reliable source.
This is my journey, thus far. I do not know what the future holds and where it will take me in my quest to regain my health. For now, I am content that the strategies and interventions I am following are working and the quality of my life has greatly improved.