How to Achieve a Non-Diabetic HbA1c – The Tami Cockrell Story

Article written and reviewed by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Published March 20, 2019

​Meet Tami.

When Tami was a teenager, she experienced multiple knee injuries from playing sports all throughout her childhood years. By the time she was 20, she had undergone 2 knee surgeries.

Over time, her pain got worse as she continued to lose cartilage. Over the course of the next 30 years, she wore out her other knee, destroyed the arches in both feet, and developed chronic hip pain.

As a result of these injuries, Tami became inactive and began gaining weight. She also began making excuses for her sedentary lifestyle. “It’s too uncomfortable,” she would say to her friends and family.

Even though she loved hiking, skiing, and biking in her early 30s, she stopped participating in all sports because the pain in her knees, hips, and feet became too severe. 

As the years went on, she continued gaining weight and began to lose faith that she could be a healthy weight ever again.

Throughout her 40s, Tami witnessed family members suffer from heart disease and cancer, requiring invasive surgical interventions like coronary artery bypass surgery. 

It frustrated and devastated her to watch the people she loved struggle with life-threatening diseases, and she became scared that she was next in line.

Tami's Diagnosis with Type 2 Diabetes

When Tami was 52, she got a blood test at a wellness fair. She found out that her HbA1c and lipids were elevated, and after further investigation, she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, fatty liver disease, and vitamin D deficiency.

She was shocked and angry at herself for allowing her health to deteriorate to this point. One of her doctors told her, “Tami, insulin resistance is causing these conditions.”

Intrigued, she began researching insulin resistance online, and found others claiming that they could “reverse insulin resistance and lower their HbA1c through diet.”

Confused, she thought, "Is reversing insulin resistance actually possible?"

In March of 2017, Tami’s HbA1c had hit 7.1%, her total cholesterol was 266 mg/dL, and her triglycerides had climbed to 194 mg/dL. 

She weighed 204 pounds and felt incapable of doing the exercise and outdoor activities she once loved.

Her doctor prescribed her 2000mg of Metformin per day, and she used that to manage her blood glucose, given a lack of other effective options.

Despite this, she was determined to reverse insulin resistance and reduce her HbA1c (as she had read about online). Although she came in “kicking and screaming,” she decided to join the Mastering Diabetes Program.

Tami began learning the pathology of insulin resistance, and learned that a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food lifestyle could not only stop the progression of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, but lower her HbA1c, help her lose weight, help her gain energy, and reduce total body inflammation.

During the first few weeks of the program, she resisted the idea of changing her eating habits. But once she gained faith and started making the recommended changes, Tami began losing weight, gaining energy, and reducing her fasting blood glucose. 

As the weight came off, she began exercising more frequently, and experienced less joint pain than she had over the previous 30 years.

After a few months following the program, there was no mistaking the transformation that was underway in her body. As she continued to lose weight, her HbA1c continued to drop, and her energy levels continued to rise.

She began creating very colorful meals, and adding creativity and charisma to her ever-expanding culinary repertoire, including some of the dishes pictured below:

Tami's Results

Today, after 7 months on the program, Tami is ecstatic to report that her HbA1c is now 5.3%, and that she has officially reversed type 2 diabetes. 

You can now find her back in motion doing activities she loves, such as riding her bike 15 miles or hiking in the hills for 3 miles, without pain or inflammation in her knees, feet, or hips.

In the past 7 months, Tami has lost 35 pounds, from 205 pounds to 170 pounds, and is now able to move her body every day. 

In addition, her cholesterol dropped from 266 mg/dL to 200 mg/dL, and her triglycerides slightly dropped as well, from 194 mg/dL to 185 mg/dL.

Take a look at her before-and-after biomarkers here:

Biomarker

February 2017

September 2017

Weight (lbs)

204

166

Triglycerides (mg/dL)

194

185

Total Cholesterol (mg/dL)

266

200

LDL Cholesterol (mg/dL)

160

129

HDL Cholesterol (mg/dL)

40

39

HbA1c (%)

7.1

5.3

Fasting Insulin (mIU/L)

17.4

5.2

Fasting Blood Glucose (mg/dL)

123

93

Metformin Dose P/Day (mg)

2000

None

Tami believes that she can remain free of type 2 diabetes by keeping her HbA1c value less than 5.7%, simply by continuing with this lifestyle of eating low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet. 

She is determined to reverse fatty liver, and to continue to increase her insulin sensitivity.

Tami now hopes to be an inspiration to others, and show them that her experience is possible for them, too. She wants to help others living with chronic diseases by teaching them the same things she has learned.

She is passionate that a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food lifestyle has saved her life, and she wants others to know that reversing type 2 diabetes is not only possible, but the most rewarding experience of her life.

Leave a Comment Below!

What do you think of Tami’s story? Leave her a comment below!

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. https://doi.org/10.1074/mcp.M112.021204.

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. https://doi.org/10.1152/ajpendo.00524.2009.