The Daniel Plan received the following note from David Plassman in Fresno, California who says The Daniel Plan has helped him lose more than 30 pounds of weight, but more importantly, is able to discontinue taking insulin injections. Here’s his story.

As with many people, I love the experience of eating food that is bad for me, at least I love the process of eating it. The consequences however are a different story.

I have been married for 28 years and have put on an average of two pounds per year. When I got married I weighed 180 and maxed out at around 236 (or a little more.) Of course it was not two pounds every year, sometimes it was 10 pounds and some times I even lost weight in a year.


The Problem

I was diagnosed with High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol and so about seven years ago I lost about 30 pounds but it found me again within the next year. My biggest foible is drinking large quantities of soda. Pepsi was my drug of choice. I had been able to stop for months at a time but the easy availability of Pepsi, especially when it was on sale or free, always seemed to lure me back in. Knowing this was not good for me I switched to Mt. Dew. I jokingly say that this was like going from Methadone to Heroin.

This was not my only bad food choice but it was the most glaring one. The beginning of 2008 was a very stressful time at home and at work and I was pounding down bottle after bottle of Mt. Dew. A co-worker noting my habit had bought me a case as a Christmas present.

Even with this bad eating habit I was losing weight rapidly. I attributed this to the fact that I was also drinking a lot of water at the same time because I was so thirsty. My energy was low but I attributed that to stress. At times I started to feel foggy headed and my vision was changing. I knew something was up.

The Diagnosis

I was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes in February of 2008 and had an A1C level of 11.6 (anything higher than 6.5 is consistent with a person who has diabetes, lower than 5.7 indicates a decreased risk for diabetes.) With oral medications, insulin injections and diet, I was able to significantly reduce that number within a year to slightly above 5.7. In the next year and a half with a return to poor eating choices, including regular Mt. Dew consumption, the number rose back to 6.6 in December of 2010 even with an increase in the amount of the insulin injection.

The Changes

In January 2011, my wife saw something online about The Daniel Plan and we were both interested. We watched the seminars and the teaching videos and things we knew but did not want to admit were soundly defined in a way that we could not ignore.

One memorable video is when Dr. Hymen went around the store and review the nutritional impacts of various “foods.” I remember him holding up a 2 Liter of soda and calling it “death in a bottle.”

We learned that our bodies want nutrition and not calories. If we eat a lot of empty calories we would still be hungry. As we used some of the recipes provided, we found that the food was tasty and we were satisfied after eating and did not need to eat as much as before.

Label reading was also helpful as we saw how much food had high fructose corn syrup, even some of the allegedly healthy foods that we were eating.

My Hang Up

I know my history with quitting the soda drinking however, and I was just one work meeting with “refreshments provided” or a Target coupon for a free 2 Liter of Mt. Dew (I did get one of these) in the mail, from crawling back into the soda gutter.

At the same time as we started The Daniel Plan our church began a Celebrate Recovery (CR) program which helps people address their “Hurts, Habits or Hang Ups.” I found that if I talk in the open share groups about choice struggles (instead of an internal head dialogue) I was much more successful in avoiding the traps that would lure me in. I even laugh now when I see a free drink or great sale price in an advertisement and look forward to sharing it at CR.

The Results

I have not had a soda since starting The Daniel Plan although the temptations have been real and regular. After beginning The Daniel Plan in February 2011, I began to decrease the amount of insulin and the July 2011 blood test revealed an AIC level of 5.4. With this good result combined with a significant reduction in weight and belly fat my physician agreed that the insulin could be eliminated. My goal is to continue with healthy food choices so as to be able to reduce or eliminate the need for the oral medications as well.

My wife and I not only are eating better but we are increasing our exercise by walking together more frequently. I also hope to reduce the need for medications related to High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol. My cholesterol readings, even with medications have been the 170 to 190 range (which is OK but lower is better) for years but this last test after six months following The Daniel Plan the number was 125.

I have gone from a weight of 235 to 202 and dropped a pant size. My pants were literally dropping so we cleaned out the closet of the ones that fall off and found some old pants that were a size smaller that will hold me over until I drop another size or two and I will need to go shopping.

I seem to be at a plateau right now but that is fine because healthy eating is always good for health even when the weight is level for a time. I expect to start dropping again because, while I have quit soda, some other food choices still hold room for improvement.

This is not a diet where I beat myself up if I am not perfect. It is a lifestyle change where I can grow (not literally) with better choices one day at a time.