Her Best Weight in 50 Years + More! Linda’s Story

Article written and reviewed by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD and Robby Barbaro, MPH
Published September 7, 2022

Reaching your best weight in almost 50 years, after always struggling with weight. Reaching the best A1c you’ve had in your entire life, while eating delicious food and using less insulin, even with a few slip ups along the way. Better blood glucose control – better than you even could have hoped – and more time in range. 

These are all the realities of Linda’s story. After being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at a young age, and more than 50 years of different strategies, Linda has reached her best health yet through the Mastering Diabetes Method. Read on to learn more!

A Life with Type 1 Diabetes

Linda was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 11, more than 50 years ago, and along the way she’s had quite a few ups and downs, particularly when it came to her insulin use, weight, and overall blood glucose control. 

That started to change when she was first exposed to a plant-based diet via a Dr. McDougall infomercial in 1992, which explained some of the potential benefits of moving away from meat. Both Linda and her husband thought it would be a great way to lose weight, so they started. 

And they didn’t use half measures either! They gave away all of their meat, dairy, and poultry to friends, and started eating entirely plant based. And the results were impressive! They had just wanted to lose weight, but Linda noticed herself feeling much healthier, and her insulin use went down by half. 

Today, Linda knows that those results came from reducing her insulin resistance, but back then, she and her husband were just happy to see such a marked improvement in their weight.

Continuing to Adapt As Times Changed

But the challenges ahead for Linda weren’t over yet. Over the years, more and more vegan junk food started to show up, and both Linda and her husband struggled with their health as they tried to figure out which foods would continue to work for their overall health. 

In 2016, they discovered Chef AJ, and her ultimate weight loss group, and it was just in time. By the time of a 2017 conference in Las Vegas, Linda and her husband had both added weight they didn’t want. Linda’s husband in particular struggled with consistency, and weighed more than 300 pounds. 

The talks were impressive, but what truly set the show apart for Linda and her husband was the lunch served during the event, which had huge quantities of delicious food (a seeming oxymoron for a weight loss event). There had to be something to this unprocessed way of plant based eating…

Once again, Linda and her husband made the change, joining Chef AJ’s Master program, where both made huge strides in their weight in only 6 months. Linda lost 15 pounds, and her husband lost 100 pounds, which put them back on track to healthy weights. 

They were making progress, but both knew that they hadn’t quite dialed in their habits.

Finding a Solution That Sticks

The main problem for Linda was that she still struggled at times with her blood glucose control as a person living with type 1 diabetes, so she turned to the small group coaching at Mastering Diabetes. 

And the results were amazing. She found the coaches helpful, and very knowledgeable. She enjoyed getting to be a part of a group once a week, where she could share how she was doing, ask questions, get guidance, and feel the support of others living with diabetes. 

Not only that, she lose even more weight, getting from “well, I’m not too heavy” to “I haven’t weighed this little since high school!” She was energetic, healthy, could get into sizes she couldn’t get into for a long time, and most importantly, felt like she was informed and in control.

The Mastering Diabetes Difference

There were other parts of the Mastering Diabetes method that Linda liked too. The emphasis placed on fruit was a big plus for her, and now she eats a wide variety of fruits like mango, banana, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and many others, starting early and eating them often throughout the day. 

“The way I feel about eating this way is wonderful! I feel great about what I’m eating, I know it’s good for me, I love the variety, and I never get bored!”

Another aspect of the Mastering Diabetes method that resonated with Linda was the fact that it’s constantly improving, with the team doing research, learning more, and evolving their recommendations thanks to the most recent science.

That mentality, of moving towards success and continuing to teach people the newest research rather than just coasting on a reputation, was important to Linda. For someone who’s been living with diabetes for the vast majority of their life, and has continued to learn more about her health, finding a program that is doing the same was a difference maker.

I Plan to Follow This For the Rest of My Life!

Today, Linda feels better than ever, mainly because her blood glucose control is better than it has ever been. In Linda’s words, type 1 diabetes can be a rollercoaster, and understanding what she could do to keep her levels controlled. 

Linnda came into the program with two main goals – to get a better HbA1c, and improve her blood glucose control, specifically lowering her BG levels and getting a better time in range each day. 

Now, after being in the program, she achieved both goals, and did even better than she could have hoped! At first, she thought maybe the changes she was making wouldn’t matter. For example, she’d had a few days where she hadn’t eaten perfectly, or slipped up. 

But those changes she was making overall did help. 

Her A1c went from 7.0% -> 5.5%, which was her lowest ever. 

Her blood glucose levels went down to a manageable level, and now on most days her Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) reads 90% of time in range, when most people aim for 70%. 

Her carb to insulin ratio was already decent as a result of her years of plant-based eating, but has risen from 20:1 to more than 30:1, which is great for her – after all, she loves fruits, and would rather use as little insulin as possible!

Speaking of, her total insulin usage went from 15-20 units per day to between 12-17. 

And most importantly is the peace of mind she’s gotten. In her decades living with type 1 diabetes, Linda has come to accept that there will be some variation in her blood glucose no matter what she does, as that is a part of living with or without diabetes. 

But on days where she gets the Mastering Diabetes method very right, she doesn’t even notice the variations in her blood glucose. Those are the best days, when she doesn’t even think about if she’s going in and out of range, and then checks to find she was at 90+%. 

So would she recommend Mastering Diabetes to others? She gives an emphatic yes, pointing out that coaching – and specifically the small group or private coaching – has been a game changer for her.

“Even the DIY, there’s so much information there, all across the internet, there’s a lot by Robby and Cyrus that you can find that will keep you informed. Obviously you can write the book too! But if it’s up to me, you should do the coaching. 

“Diabetes isn’t fun. But mastering diabetes is fun. They make it fun. We can joke about things, it’s just fun. It’s the most fun I’ve had in my 55 years of diabetes, and I intend to follow this the rest of my life.”

Thanks so much to Linda for taking the time to speak with us!

About the author 

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD and Robby Barbaro, MPH

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD, and Robby Barbaro, MPH are the coauthors of the New York Times bestselling book Mastering Diabetes: The Revolutionary Method to Reverse Insulin Resistance Permanently in Type 1, Type 1.5, Type 2, Prediabetes, and Gestational Diabetes. They are the cofounders of Mastering Diabetes, a coaching platform that teaches people how to reverse insulin resistance via low-fat, plant-based, whole-food nutrition. Cyrus has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002, and has an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from UC Berkeley. Robby was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2000, and has been living a plant-based lifestyle since 2006. He worked at Forks Over Knives for 6 years, and earned a Master’s in Public Health in 2019.