‘I want to share with you about how applying the “GI factor” to what I eat has changed my life! I was always slim until I reached about 15, then over a period of three years I put on more and more weight. I do not really know why this was, maybe pressure from school, personal problems. When I started university, I became conscious of my weight and attempted to lose weight through various means and methods for about 5 years. Sometimes, it was a planned diet such as the ‘Greenlane’ eating plan, but more often than not it was trying to control or lessen the amount of kilojoules (calories) I was taking in and increasing my exercise. Seems, sensible, but in hindsight I can see that following the traditional ‘food pyramid’ I was eating a lot of low calorie but high GI products. For example, I would have one salad sandwich or bread roll for lunch and then a muffin for afternoon tea, toasted bread for breakfast etc. Sometimes, I did manage to lose quite a bit of weight but then I would ALWAYS yoyo back up to my original weight or more. Everyday, I battled with the scales and it almost became and obsession, I could not figure out where I was going wrong. Also—I was always hungry! I associated diets with being hungry.'
'Anyway, after doing Atkins (successfully losing weight but then putting it back on) a friend recommended the GI book. I read it and started applying the principles (e.g. I ate Bran cereal instead of white bread in the morning, pasta instead of a sandwich, fruit for a snack instead of a muffin). Slowly, but surely (and with a bit of exercise) the weight fell off to the point where I lost more than 10 kg—and got down to about 52 kg (I am short). Even better, I was not suffering from the same energy drain, constant hunger etc. Now, sometimes I eat—just because it is dinnertime—but not because I am hungry! My self esteem has picked up as a result etc. too. I bought a GI cookbook and have tried out a few recipes. The best thing is, this is not a fad but a way of eating that I will always stick too.’
‘Well, my story goes a bit like this. Back in late 2003, at age 41, although my general health appeared OK, I began to notice that my weight was inexplicably starting to drop, and I was starting to drink a lot of water and felt the need to urinate quite a lot. By early 2004 things had worsened considerably. Basically I began to feel very unwell. Dizzy, extreme lethargy, blurry vision and the weight loss continued. Although I realised that something was clearly wrong with my health and yes I was worried, I was extremely reluctant to visit my GP! In the end, urged by family, I did and the blood tests that followed showed a very high blood sugar level of 23. Yes I was diabetic Type 2.’
‘It was all rather a shock, and I was immediately placed on the usual diabetic medication, and I began to learn all about type 2 diabetes in the hope of managing my condition. Not long after, a Ham Radio friend, (thank you Ron), told me about the ‘GI’. I had vaguely heard of the term, but knew nothing really about it. Searching around on the net I found this excellent web site and my knowledge of the GI began to grow. I went out and bought some of the books and began eating in accordance with low GI principles. It has been a most interesting road of discovery ever since. During my growing up years, my mother, although well intentioned, had been feeding us some of the worst possible foods in terms of high GI, things like plenty of white bread, white rice potatoes and these were essentially the staples of our diet. And yes at first sight, they are nutritious foods.’
‘In retrospect, it is now obvious to me that I was borderline diabetic for some years prior to being officially diagnosed. Looking back now I realise I had all the symptoms. Back to early 2004, my initial success with low GI eating was quite spectacular. My blood sugar levels were rapidly brought back until control, to the point where I was able to give the medication away completely by mid 2004. I preached the low GI message wherever I went. I even did a well received radio studio interview on ABC radio in Townsville preaching the virtues of low GI eating only a month or so after commencing to eat the ‘low GI’ way. The best thing was that I had never felt better.’
‘Perhaps the one thing that clearly shows the value of low GI eating, is the fact that prior to official diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, I had already begun a regular exercise program, mainly walking, in the hope of improving my general fitness. However that didn't prevent the appearance of type 2 diabetes with all the worst symptoms! I still do the same kind of regular exercise, the only thing different now is strict adherence to low GI eating! Need I say more? My mother is a convert to GI eating and likewise, she has seen clear health benefits. My father, well, he still likes his refined white bread, but he mostly eats the ‘right stuff’ in terms of low GI.’
‘For me anyway, the road to good diabetes control and good health has been quite an adventure, and admittedly there have been some low points where I've done the wrong thing and paid the price, but as long as I do the ‘right thing’, all is fine. In all honesty, it isn't that hard to stick to the ‘straight and narrow’. Temptation is always there. But all I have to do, is remember what happens when I do the ‘wrong thing’ (extreme dizziness, confusion, hallucinations and being basically feeling very ill), and the temptation simply disappears, and they are just the short term effects of a very rapid blood sugar rise! My only regret to all this is the fact that I didn't know about the GI twenty years ago! Still, I can say that despite the effects of time, I can say without any doubt at all, that my general health now is better than it's ever been, thanks to low GI eating. Long may it continue.’