Diabetes Support Group – Secrets to Maintaining Weight Loss

Article written and reviewed by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Published April 18, 2018

The Secret To Steady Blood Glucose and Maintaining Weight Loss With Diabetes

When Heather applied for life insurance in January 2017, she was surprised to be denied.

Her lab work indicated that she had developed type 2 diabetes. She had been overweight and had polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) for years, but had no idea that she was also living with type 2 diabetes.

Her A1c was 9.2%, and she was immediately placed on 3 medications: Xigduo (two medications in one) at 1000mg twice daily, and Trulicity at 75mg once per week.

Prior to her diagnosis, she had been eating a Paleo diet, which was a step in the right direction given that she had eliminated processed foods and dairy products. 

But because it is a meat-heavy diet, it did not prevent her from developing type 2 diabetes. Meat consumption is so strongly tied to the development of type 2 diabetes that some researchers and physicians argue that it should be considered a risk factor (1).

Recognizing that the Paleo diet wasn’t working for her, Heather sought out other information – and quickly became both confused and discouraged. There were so many different opinions, each staunchly believing theirs was the ultimate truth.

She came across some nutrition books that caught her attention, including The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell and How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Greger.  However, she had also joined some diabetes support groups on Facebook that were espousing the benefits of low-carbohydrate diets, quite the opposite of what these books had taught her.

Intuitively, a plant-based diet made sense to Heather, so she cut out meat and started eating a vegetarian diet. Three months later, her A1c had dropped to 5.2%.

In October 2017, she began working with a dietitian to move toward an even healthier diet, including low-fat whole foods and no dairy products.

As Heather made these changes, she began to reverse insulin resistance, and therefore gain insulin sensitivity. She experienced several episodes of hypoglycemia because the amount of insulin she was taking had become too high.

Working with a physician, Heather was able to begin reducing, and eventually eliminating, her diabetes medications. By February 2018, she was completely medication-free.

Today, eating an abundance of low-fat high-carbohydrate foods, Heather's blood glucose control is the best it has ever been. Here is a snapshot of her daily blood glucose pattern from just a couple of months ago. She easily stays right within the target range:

blood glucose over time

Despite all of this success, Heather felt she was missing one very big component of what would make this lifestyle sustainable: a support group.

Social situations tended to bring peer pressure, and Heather found that in these cases she would often choose foods that went against her dietary preferences.

Heather quickly realized just how much better she felt when she followed  her new lifestyle and became more skilled at making decisions that supported this resolve. Despite this, she still felt very alone.

Heather longed to have a support group – a community of people who were going through a similar experience that could encourage one another throughout the process.

At Mastering Diabetes, she found the support group that she had been searching for. The private Facebook community helped her learn, gain a sense of community, and stay accountable. She felt that being involved in a support group made the entire experience more fun.

With the help of this support group, Heather now feels confident in her ability to maintain her weight loss and steady blood glucose control by sticking to the program.

Now that her days of fast food, meat, and cheese are over, here’s what Heather eats in a typical day:

  • For breakfast, she likes to have overnight steel cut oats with chia seeds, ground flax seeds, and blueberries
  • Before her morning workout, she has a smoothie with plant-based protein powder.
  • For lunch, Heather has a salad packed with legumes like chickpeas and black beans, along with vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower.
  • Throughout the day, she typically snacks on fruit.
  • For dinner, she makes any variety of dishes such as mashed potatoes, baked casseroles, whole-grain burritos, hearty stews, salads, and more (some of her favorite recipes come from Dr. John McDougall’s cookbooks).

Since making these changes, Heather has experienced a collection of unexpected and exciting benefits.

As an avid weightlifter, Heather is thrilled to see her strength improve after removing meat and focusing on low-fat, unprocessed plant foods. She’s able to lift more now than ever before, while feeling lighter and maintaining a leaner physique.

She sleeps better, now has a regular menstrual cycle, and feels more at peace. She has more energy, more happiness, more enthusiasm, and now feels more driven to pursue passion projects and play with her kids.

Meanwhile, her blood work shows that everything is in check, and her blood glucose is consistently steady and predictable.

Her biggest tips for anyone that is interested in trying out this approach are:

  • Let go of your old ideas and block out the noise of what other people tell you. Fully embrace giving a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food lifestyle a try for at least one month before jumping to any conclusions (If you don’t have a good experience, you can always go back to your old habits)
  • Find a support group. Having people to talk with and share in the experience, who understand what you are going through, is invaluable.

If you’re interested in joining Heather in the Mastering Diabetes private Facebook community, click here to get started today.

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Where Do You Get Your Support?

Share in the comments below: Do you feel supported in this lifestyle? If you are part of the Mastering Diabetes Group Coaching Program, what has your experience in the private Facebook group been like so far?

About the author 

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD is a New York Times bestselling co-author of Mastering Diabetes: The Revolutionary Method to Reverse Insulin Resistance Permanently in Type 1, Type 1.5, Type 2, Prediabetes, and Gestational Diabetes.

He is the co-founder of Mastering Diabetes and Amla Green, and is an internationally recognized nutrition and fitness coach who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002. He co-created the Mastering Diabetes Method to reverse insulin resistance in all forms of diabetes, and has helped more than 10,000 people improve their metabolic health using low-fat, plant-based, whole-food nutrition, intermittent fasting, and exercise.

Cyrus earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 2003, then earned a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012. He is the co-author of many peer-reviewed scientific publications.

He is the co-host of the annual Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, a featured speaker at the Plant-Based Nutrition and Healthcare Conference (PBNHC), the American College of Lifestyle Medicine Conference (ACLM), Plant Stock, the Torrance Memorial Medical Center, and has been featured on The Doctors, NPR, KQED, Forks Over Knives, Healthline, Fast Company, Diet Fiction, and the wildly popular podcasts the Rich Roll Podcast, Plant Proof, MindBodyGreen, and Nutrition Rounds.

Scientific Publications:

Sarver, Jordan, Cyrus Khambatta, Robby Barbaro, Bhakti Chavan, and David Drozek. “Retrospective Evaluation of an Online Diabetes Health Coaching Program: A Pilot Study.” American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, October 15, 2019, 1559827619879106. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827619879106

Shrivastav, Maneesh, William Gibson, Rajendra Shrivastav, Katie Elzea, Cyrus Khambatta, Rohan Sonawane, Joseph A. Sierra, and Robert Vigersky. “Type 2 Diabetes Management in Primary Care: The Role of Retrospective, Professional Continuous Glucose Monitoring.” Diabetes Spectrum: A Publication of the American Diabetes Association 31, no. 3 (August 2018): 279–87. https://doi.org/10.2337/ds17-0024

Thompson, Airlia C. S., Matthew D. Bruss, John C. Price, Cyrus F. Khambatta, William E. Holmes, Marc Colangelo, Marcy Dalidd, et al. “Reduced in Vivo Hepatic Proteome Replacement Rates but Not Cell Proliferation Rates Predict Maximum Lifespan Extension in Mice.” Aging Cell 15, no. 1 (February 2016): 118–27. https://doi.org/10.1111/acel.12414

Roohk, Donald J., Smita Mascharak, Cyrus Khambatta, Ho Leung, Marc Hellerstein, and Charles Harris. “Dexamethasone-Mediated Changes in Adipose Triacylglycerol Metabolism Are Exaggerated, Not Diminished, in the Absence of a Functional GR Dimerization Domain.” Endocrinology 154, no. 4 (April 2013): 1528–39. https://doi.org/10.1210/en.2011-1047

Price, John C., Cyrus F. Khambatta, Kelvin W. Li, Matthew D. Bruss, Mahalakshmi Shankaran, Marcy Dalidd, Nicholas A. Floreani, et al. “The Effect of Long Term Calorie Restriction on in Vivo Hepatic Proteostatis: A Novel Combination of Dynamic and Quantitative Proteomics.” Molecular & Cellular Proteomics: MCP 11, no. 12 (December 2012): 1801–14.

Bruss, Matthew D., Airlia C. S. Thompson, Ishita Aggarwal, Cyrus F. Khambatta, and Marc K. Hellerstein. “The Effects of Physiological Adaptations to Calorie Restriction on Global Cell Proliferation Rates.” American Journal of Physiology. Endocrinology and Metabolism 300, no. 4 (April 2011): E735-745. https://doi.org/10.1152/ajpendo.00661.2010

Bruss, Matthew D., Cyrus F. Khambatta, Maxwell A. Ruby, Ishita Aggarwal, and Marc K. Hellerstein. “Calorie Restriction Increases Fatty Acid Synthesis and Whole Body Fat Oxidation Rates.” American Journal of Physiology. Endocrinology and Metabolism 298, no. 1 (January 2010): E108-116.