This week’s featured reader, Leeann, has been successfully following the Always Hungry Book program for about 4 months. She’s enjoyed weight loss, reduced cravings, and healthier lab results. She also shares her unique experiences with living the AH lifestyle as a Type 1 diabetic! Read on to hear her story, and click here to learn more about type 1 diabetes!
1. Tell us a little about your progress following the AH program.
I bought Always Hungry? on the day it was published in January 2016, but I can’t remember how long I followed it. Initially, I did have some success, but 2016 was a year of horrible stress and transition in both my personal and professional life, so at some point I returned to the stress/comfort eating that’s been my longtime pattern. I chose not to weigh myself, but I probably added another 10 pounds in just a few months.
I went back to AH on October 20, 2016, after quitting my job to go freelance and deciding to focus again on my health. This time, I actively participated in the Facebook group—and that has been key to my success this time around. I understand so much more about how the plan works because of reading others’ questions and learning from everyone else. I do social media as part of my job, and I’ve never seen a group that is so active, supportive, kind, and generous.
This time around, I don’t weigh myself or take measurements; I try on clothes instead. I do that because the number on the scale had become too much of a focus, and it determined my happiness in a way I felt wasn’t healthy. After 4 months on the program, I’ve lost more than one clothing size (not quite two, but getting there!). If I had to guess, I’d say I’ve lost at least 10 lbs but not quite 15.
Type 1 Diabetes and the Always Hungry Program
I’ve been a Type 1 diabetic for almost 40 years, and have struggled mightily to have stable blood sugars. Even though I try really, really hard to manage my diabetes, I have never (ever) had an A1C under 7%. After 3 mos doing AH, my A1C went from 7% to 6.6%! When my doctor told me the results, I literally jumped in the air for joy–and then burst into tears. My next blood work will be after 6 months doing AH, and for the first time I’m looking forward to getting lab work done.
My Triglyceride/HDL ratio is 0.6 (with 2.0 or below considered ideal). All my cholesterol numbers jumped downward, every single one—except HDL, thank goodness, which usually hangs around 100-110.
2. What advice would you give to others just starting out?
Don’t think of this as a diet; it’s a new and improved, healthy lifestyle. I think it’s really important to focus on the non-scale victories (NSVs) when you get discouraged. Some people lose weight quickly, but many (including me) don’t. But ask yourself, “If I quit, what am I going to do instead?” When I ask myself that question, I immediately know that I don’t want to go back to Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig or Paleo or keto or anything of the other things I’ve tried. AH is the only one I’ve found that is truly sustainable for me to continue the rest of my life.
Adapt the plan to fit you, once you have 2-4 weeks under your belt. I pretty much stay in Phase 1 because I have to give insulin for every added carb I eat, and I just don’t do well with grains. The higher fat percentage works for me; I feel better on it. I can’t tolerate any dairy except for hard, sliceable cheese, so I make substitutions like homemade cashew sour cream and almond milk, but then adjust the ratios accordingly.
3. What challenges have you face along the way?
My insulin pump is programmed to give me a basal drip of insulin 24/7. I take extra for the carbohydrate in meals, but the basals keep me going the rest of the day. When I first started AH and my insulin needs were going down (due to the low glycemic load of my meals), I had a lot of hypoglycemic episodes and had to keep adjusting my basals. I also ate a lot more fruit than the plan strictly allows, to bring up my blood sugar rapidly. That has all evened-out now, and I pretty much sail through the day with no problem.
4. What’s your favorite part of the program?
I love eating fat and having that be okay! I truly am never hungry. If my meals are balanced properly, I typically go 5 hours in between meals. I have a voracious appetite, especially since needing to go on steroids for another medical issue, so this is a phenomenal change that I really appreciate.
As a Type 1 Diabetic, I also love that because my blood sugars are now SO stable, my mood is also stable. I don’t have the up-and-down blood sugars, so I don’t have the up-and-down moods. I feel really calm and centered most of the time.