Your Num­bers

When things got tough, Gary Miller en­joyed the ride.

Diabetic Living (USA) - - Contents - WRIT­ING ALISA HRUSTIC PHO­TOS OLIVER PARINI

How Gary Miller went from week­end war­rior to avid cy­clist

THE CRI­SIS

For 12 years, Gary Miller tried to ig­nore his pre­di­a­betes. “I blew it off and fig­ured I could make lit­tle changes and it would go away,” he says. He tried sev­eral di­ets, in­clud­ing Atkins and Weight Watch­ers, but had lit­tle suc­cess. Even though he was ac­tive on week­ends—he loved to ride his bike on log­ging roads with his wife—his weight con­tin­ued to creep up. He was still in de­nial when his A1C hit an all-time high of 9.2 per­cent and he re­ceived an of­fi­cial di­a­betes di­ag­no­sis in Jan­uary 2018.

THE CHANGE

Miller’s doc­tor put him on met­formin and asked him to meet with a CDE to pre­pare for an in­sulin pre­scrip­tion. This was his wake-up call. He re­al­ized: “If I didn’t do some­thing at this point, I was just go­ing to give up and be on drugs the rest of my life.”

He ditched al­co­hol and re­fined carbs and stopped eat­ing lunch at the Chi­nese res­tau­rant near work, where he had been go­ing up to three times per week. In­stead, Miller filled his plate with whole grains, veg­eta­bles, and pro­tein to keep hunger pangs at bay. He cut out sec­ond help­ings and all snacks that weren’t fruit, veg­eta­bles, or yo­gurt. He packed leftovers from din­ner for lunch the next day.

He also fell in love with in­ter­val train­ing when he started us­ing a bike trainer that had been sit­ting (quite lonely) in his base­ment for sev­eral years. “I knew I liked bik­ing out­side, so I thought I’d like bik­ing in­side,” he says. Soon, he was rid­ing ev­ery night af­ter work. It wasn’t al­ways easy, but even af­ter his typ­i­cal 10-hour work­days at the hard­ware store, Miller en­joyed putting on mu­sic and find­ing his rhythm on the bike. “I might be 65 years old, but I still like hard rock,” he says. His go-to in­ter­val? Thirty sec­onds of hard ped­al­ing, fol­lowed by 30 sec­onds of eas­ier rid­ing, work­ing up to a minute of each.

THE RE­WARD

In roughly six months, Miller went from 274 to 209 pounds and slashed his A1C by 3.7 per­cent­age points. He was able to come off of met­formin and avoid start­ing in­sulin. “I con­sider the di­ag­no­sis of type 2 di­a­betes to be the best thing that could have hap­pened to me, as it caused me to change my life­style—I feel bet­ter and have more stam­ina,” he says. “I know that I’m not ‘cured’ of type 2 di­a­betes, be­cause if I ever go back to my old life­style it will re­turn. I don’t in­tend to let that hap­pen. The key is to re­al­ize it’s a life­style change, not a diet.”

WHAT WORKED

Make sim­ple swaps. “We made zuc­chini noo­dles to re­place the noo­dles in lasagna, and they ac­tu­ally were so good that I didn’t miss the real thing.”

Lis­ten to your body. “I found out that in or­der to keep my morn­ing blood sugar at a nor­mal level, I had to have a snack at night.” His go-to: a clemen­tine or small ap­ple to cap it at 100 calo­ries.

Push your­self. The first time he hopped on his bike trainer, Miller could only do 15 very sweaty min­utes. He added a few min­utes each day, work­ing up to 45-minute ses­sions five days a week.

Seek sup­port. “I would have failed with­out the sup­port of my doc­tor and CDE,” Miller says. He also cred­its the sup­port of his wife, who got on board with healthy eat­ing and adapted her recipes to swap out sugar for unsweet­ened ap­ple­sauce.

the prob­lem You’re ac­tive on the week­ends, but you can’t seem to make ex­er­cise a daily habit.the re­make Use this man’s ap­proach to find an ac­tiv­ity that you en­joy mak­ing part of your rou­tine.

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