"I paid a dietitian $129, but achieved remission for $2 a week" ~ Robert's story
Weight loss: 10 kg
HbA1c: 8.3 down to 6.4
In Remission: Yes
Rob’s dad was a school principal, so perhaps it’s not so surprising he followed in his footsteps. Living in beautiful Bellingen with his wife of 18 years, Michelle, Rob has always been active, whether playing golf, running around after his eight children, or managing his 15-acre property after retirement. He considered himself healthy; unlike some of his peers, he hadn’t gained much weight as he grew older. So Rob felt completely ambushed when a routine PSA check-up in 2019 came with a diagnosis of prediabetes.
“When that HbA1c came back at 6.4, and I was diagnosed with prediabetes, I thought “Why me?”. My Mum had type 2 diabetes, but I didn’t have any of the other lifestyle factors I associated with the disease. I was so angry and resentful that this had happened; I didn’t fit the profile, and the diagnosis seemed illogical.
“I knew Mum had managed her condition through diet, and when I told the doctor I wanted to try the same thing, she was sceptical. My diabetes educator at the hospital echoed this sentiment and said I should get used to ever-increasing doses of metformin. I gave the diet thing a go anyway, but the truth was I had no idea what I was doing, and there was no change. I didn’t bother with daily tests of blood sugar. I just thought my life would be years of HbA1c tests going up and up as I got sicker and sicker, and so it went for three and half years - by May 2023, my HbA1c was at 8.3.
“My daughter-in-law Cyndi, a pharmacist, conspired with my wife to make some changes. Initially, I would do morning blood monitoring tests, or Michelle wouldn’t bring me a coffee in bed. This was clearly a serious matter.
“My wife Michelle would bring me home diabetes books from the library and subtly leave them around for me to notice, but honestly, they were pretty dull. I read them, but mainly to keep Michelle happy.
“Then she brought home The Diabetes Plan by Defeat Diabetes’ founder, Dr Brukner, and a lightbulb went off in my head. The opening chapter describes a doctor advising his patient that they have type 2 diabetes. The doctor tells the patient to expect to take more and more medication while progressively getting sicker from diabetes complications. I instantly recognised this scenario from my own experience. But then the book described an alternative reality: the doctor recommends carbohydrate restriction as a path to remission. That was the first time I had heard of a carb, and I devoured the entire book in a single day.
“Convinced that this commonsense approach could help, I joined Defeat Diabetes in June 2023. I restricted my carbohydrate intake to 50 g daily and absorbed all the material in the program, particularly the traffic light system, which showed how often you should eat different foods. My wife Michelle began to make seed bread and low carb muffins.
“Michelle began to joke that an alien had invaded my body because my attitude took such an about-turn. Before joining the program, I felt defeated and without hope. My fate was out of my hands. By consistently following the Defeat Diabetes Program, I was seeing results.
“I have never really been overweight but noticed I was shedding a kilo a week. I went from 75 kg to 65 kg without trying, to the point where my friends were worried that I was hiding an illness! I’ve been on blood pressure tablets for three years, but when I went in for a recent check-up, my blood pressure was so low I thought they had made a mistake.
“One of the most dramatic and life-changing results has been in my bowel movements. Before adopting low carb, it was so erratic - I often took an anti-diarrhea pill before going out and was almost afraid to leave the house, but that has resolved. My psoriasis has also disappeared, and my cholesterol level has plummeted.
“It was hard initially taking up this way of eating. I love bread, and finding an alternative has been tough, but I’ve grown to enjoy the Three Seed Bread from the program. I used to love dropping into Maccas on long-distance drives and relaxing over a Big Mac and a newspaper, but knowing about seed oils and carbs, I now look at fast food like it’s the devil! I even went into an Oliver’s and thought a halo would pop up over my head, but I took one look and knew this supposedly ‘healthy’ food would cause my blood sugar to spike, so I walked out with just a cup of coffee.
“I try not to be too manic about it. I know one higher-carb meal won’t kill me, but I still will avoid potatoes, bread and starchy foods. I wore out my Google button when I first started, trying to understand how many carbs were in foods, but I don’t need to count anymore because it just comes naturally. I even discovered a low carb beer that I like - they’re expensive, but I guess it means I drink less, too!
“What I love about the Defeat Diabetes program is the community group. You can ask any question, and you won’t feel stupid. No one is an expert, but there’s a sense that we’re all in this together. Often, a Defeat Diabetes doctor or dietitian will pop in to answer questions in the group, and that’s helpful. But I hadn’t expected this feeling of family, like having a cheer squad celebrate your success. By comparison, I paid $129 for two telehealth sessions with a dietitian, but it was hardly definitive, and at the follow-up, they basically said, “Well done.” Now, for just two dollars a week, I have the support of the entire Defeat Diabetes community. I regard the forum as a consistent source of accurate information, and it is as cheap as chips.
“The most important thing for me is to stick to my carb limit. I have diabetes for life. I’m conscious that I can get out of remission as quickly as I went into remission - if I can go from an HbA1c of 8.3 to 6.4 in just two months, it can climb back up as easily. Restricting carbs has to be a life change. You’re dealt a hand, but you can manage diabetes. Low carb is working for me, and I could not have done it without the Defeat Diabetes philosophy and Michelle’s support.”
More success stories