Good morning Jennifer,
Before Anne and I began this journey with you, we did not have the best of diets. You could fit most of our fruits and vegetables in those little drawers in the refrigerator. Now that we have embraced your philosophy of a more plant based diet, things have changed in a big way. When I came home from the grocery store yesterday, I wanted to show you how much things have changed, so I took this photo. This is a typical 3 day supply of fruits and vegetables for us. Along with our fitness training, this is why we are so much healthier. This is why we are combined over 100 lbs down. This is why I am no longer “managing” my diabetes. Instead, I am on the verge of reversing my diabetes. These are just some of the thoughts this photo gave me. Anne and I have come so far, but like you say “we are just getting started”. We take great comfort knowing that you will be there with us every step of the way.
Eight years ago, I was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. My doctor told me to lose weight, exercise and eat healthier. He gave me a prescription to help control my sugar levels. I would go back every six months and sometimes I would be doing okay and sometimes I would not. Sometimes I would exercise but I would not always eat right. Other times I would try to eat right, but not exercise like I should. My diabetes was getting worse. I was tired all the time. I had constant thirst. I would wake up frequently at night. My vision was all screwed up. The heels of my feet were always cracked and sore. If I had a cut, it took a long time to heal. I was starting to get numbness in my legs. My doctor then put me on an additional medication. My diabetes continued to get worse. There were days that my blood glucose was so high, the meter couldn’t read it. One visit I had a few years ago, I asked my doctor if I could ever get rid of my diabetes and he said “based on your health these past few years, I don’t think you will be able to “unring” that bell.”
Fast forward to August 2012. Anne and I had left Philadelphia and are now living in Livermore. I had only been here about 9 month and my weight was north of 300 lbs. My eating habits were terrible and my blood sugar levels were always in the high 200 to 300’s. It was hard leaving the east coast but one of the upsides of moving here was that we were near one of Anne’s oldest and dearest friends, Bob Allan. I had met Bob and Jenn twice over the previous ten years. We were now only one town away from each other and we were all able to solidify our friendship. One day after having talked with Jenn, Anne came home and said that she was going to a cardio sculpt class that Jenn teaches. I thought to myself that I needed to do something like that too. Anne came home after her first class and said how much she enjoyed it. Then I went to visit my new doctor. He did some blood work. He said my A1C level was over 9. I asked him what that meant and he said “if you come back in three months and you are still at 9, you will have to go on inject-able insulin.”
Now I had no excuses. Anne motivated me to go to a class (September 2012) with her and Jenn took over from there. I couldn’t even do a regular push up when I started. Jenn brought us along slowly. Then she started to push us to do more. The people in our classes were and continue to be very supportive. Then as each week passed we got stronger. Jenn taught us how to change our diets. Every week is not just about exercise, but she teaches us about nutrition. She is so passionate about health and nutrition that her positive energy started to flow through us. We were hooked. I learned to cook with grains and legumes, fruits and vegetables. We cut out fast food. I have always considered myself to be an accomplished cook, but I had no clue that there were a hundred times more healthy recipes out there than unhealthy and they taste better. The weight started to fall off and we started to feel better. Jenn was with us every step of the way, encouraging us at workouts, through email messages and her blog.
Three months later in December, I went back to my doctor and I had dropped 25 lbs. He did some blood work. My A1C had dropped to 5.5 (normal is <7). I thought he was going to fall off his chair! He asked me how I did it. I told him about Jenn and all the things she taught me and I was living those lessons and I was not going back to where I was.
Three months later, I went back another 10 lbs lighter and an A1C of 5.7. My doctor decided to take me off one of my diabetes medications. Three months after that and 10 more lbs. and an A1C of 5.7, he cut my remaining diabetes medication in half. Then, on August 2nd, 2013, just 10 months after I started working with Jenn my doctor officially took me off of all diabetes medication! Disease and weakness had left my body! I had “unrung” that bell!
I could not have done this without Anne’s love and support. I know I never would have done this if we had not moved to California and Jenn Allan had not come into our lives. I have my health back. I have my life back. I will now be able to do all of the activities a normal healthy person can do. I will live a long and happy life with my wife and best friend Anne and that thrills me.
Jenn, you are an amazing person. You are a motivator, a teacher, a health and fitness coach and my friend. I know you will continue to change lives and in my case, save lives. And hey, like you always say, “we’re just getting started”.
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