Dr. Dennis Van Hoof, PhD, CLC
“I thrive with diabetes”
Having Diabetes and 10 Snickers per day
The first year after being diagnosed with diabetes was tough and depressing. But I turned the necessary daily routine to keep my blood glucose level in check to my advantage, and I now thrive with diabetes.
My story began with an incredible thirst that became unquenchable in the last few days of December 1999. I drank gallons of water and other drinks, but it just didn’t help. All it made me do was spend most of my time in the restroom. I had to go pee at least once an hour; even at night. So I got completely sleep-deprived up to the point where I seriously considered just staying there; taking a nap, while seated on the toilet.
In addition to thirst, I also developed a ravenous appetite. But in spite of all the extra food I ate, I lost more than 16 pounds in less than 2 weeks. And that while I did not have much weight to shed to begin with.
I didn’t understand. I thought that I had always lived a healthy and active life. Yet, it felt like all my energy had evaporated along with those pounds that I lost. Although the symptoms were as obvious as can be, my doctor measured my blood glucose to confirm: I had diabetes.
Today, 20 years later, I’m healthier, stronger and fitter than I ever was before diagnosis. I ride more than 60 miles per day, totaling 400 to 500 miles per week by bicycle (feel free to check and track my mileage on Strava). If these daily activities plus several of my bicycle race victories are unable to convince you that diabetics can perform at least as good as non-diabetics, then I’d be happy to point you to professional athletes who also thrive in spite of thanks to diabetes.
During those physical activities, I easily burn 10 Snickers bars worth of calories each day. Yep, I like Snickers! And I always enjoy (without guilt) a couple of those on my rides to replenish the 2,500 calories I burn. But not 10 of them, as even Snickers can get boring when eating too many. I mix it up with cookies and other sweets in addition to all the healthy foods I eat.
In case you wonder if eating those kinds of sweets can do any good at all to a diabetic:
- My A1c is below 5.5
- My blood glucose fluctuates on average between 80 and 130 mg/dL (see the monthly graph below)
- No complications
- All my blood values are perfectly within the healthy range
- And to give you an impression of my physique: the cyclist in the picture above is me
A common misperception is that anyone who wants to be healthy, but especially people with diabetes, should avoid carbs. It is understandable how this myth was brought to life, but it was pulled completely out of context. Thanks to the internet, carbs have been singled out as your worst enemy; it has been repeated so many times, over-and-over again, that it has become the perceived truth, even though it is only part of the whole story.
We all need carbs, including diabetics. I am very well aware of others having different opinions and experiences, and I respect that. My goal with these blogs is to add perspective from a scientific (biochemical physiology) point of view, and to leave it up to you as a reader what you do with that information. Feel free to contact me for comments and questions or start a constructive discussion below this blog post.
In my previous blog, I already covered the basics of different forms of carbs, including glucose, as well as fat and protein. In future blogs, I will go over the relationship between insulin and blood glucose, which will show that the right choices and portions of foods, but most of all correct timing of eating is the key to support and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.
If you want to learn more about a healthy and active lifestyle, without diets and restrictions or limitations, then check out my website, becomeaninspiration.com and consider signing up for the personal diabetic lifestyle coaching or one of the online group workshops that I offer through video conference.
Keep an eye out for my next blog, and I hope to see you soon to get you started on the journey to your new life!
Dr. Dennis Van Hoof is a Certified Life Coach (CLC) with an academic PhD degree in Biochemical Physiology. By combining 20 years of first-hand personal diabetes experience with his in-depth scientific background, he developed a method to efficiently manage his own diabetes in a sustainable way. To learn how you can do this too, reach out for personal Diabetic Lifestyle Coaching or follow a group workshop that is specifically tailored to people with Type 1 or 2 Diabetes as well as pre-Diabetics and those at risk due to being overweight or obese. His clients thrive with their challenges and become an inspiration™ to others — with or without diabetes.