Reversing diabetes: Phyllis’ return to health. Part 1.

We’ve all heard the bad news: the percentage of Americans with diabetes has risen sharply since 1990. The CDC says over 12 percent of the adult population is estimated to have diabetes, and more than one-third of adults are now thought to be prediabetic. Two million more people are diagnosed with diabetes every year, and the rate is rising.

I’m talking about Type 2 diabetes (insulin resistance), which 90-95 percent of diabetics have, rather than Type 1 (in which the body no longer produces insulin), diagnosed in just 5 percent of diabetics.

Why is this alarming? Having diabetes increases the risk of serious health issues including heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, amputation of toes, feet or legs, and early death.

Doctors now know that living a healthier lifestyle (that means watching your diet and exercising) is key to preventing diabetes. Exercise and diet are important. But once full-blown Type 2 diabetes has been diagnosed, can it be reversed?

I’m writing this to tell you it can. This is Part 1 of a four-part series on how Phyllis Lejeune reversed Type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise, and in the process got off twelve prescription medications and lost over 100 pounds.

If you don’t have time to read all these posts, here’s a summary of Phyllis’ hero’s journey back to health.  Continue reading

Renewing my sitting practice, massage self care, oil pulling, and a 21-day challenge: Byron Katie’s The Work

I got away from my meditation practice. For many months.

It always seemed like a good idea when I thought about it, and I still didn’t actually do it more than occasionally. Committing to 20-30 minutes of doing nothing — well, it seemed like I didn’t have time. I had other things to do.

This is after years of meditating and a full year of daily sitting.

Hmmm. The mind plays tricks, takes itself way too seriously, makes excuses, avoids.

I missed it, and when a friend told me she gets out of bed and sits first thing every day, it inspired me to start again.

I was also inspired by the film The Dhamma Brothers, about a program in an Alabama prison where inmates did vipassana meditation, 10 days of silent sitting. It was profound to see peace on the faces of men who had committed terrible crimes.

One inmate said:

I thought my biggest fear was growing old and dying in prison. In truth, my biggest fear was growing old and not knowing myself.

Meditation has always been about facing my self, from the day I started, so tentatively, having realized that nothing else I had tried was taking my suffering away, so I might at least fully face it.

It didn’t take it away, but I quickly understood that my experience was larger than my suffering.

Aren’t we all in prisons of some kind? Fears, mindless behaviors, disconnections, denial, insane beliefs…

I want to know myself. And that in itself is such a koan, I felt inspired to sit with it.

Getting on the computer first thing in the morning is my worst distraction. I seem to have developed an affinity for my laptop, for Facebook, email, checking my blog stats, reading what interests me. Time can get away from me. It’s like an addiction.

So I realized that I need to sit first thing. Actually, I do a couple of sun salutations first. Otherwise, more of my attention goes to my aches and pains when I sit.

Yoga frees my mind to pay more attention to noticing my thoughts and sensing the subtle energies.

Today I experienced this:

Indeed, the ineffability of the air seems akin to the ineffability of awareness itself, and we should not be surprised that many indigenous peoples construe awareness, or ‘mind,’ not as a power that resides inside their heads, but rather as a quality that they themselves are inside of, along with the other animals and the plants, the mountains and the clouds. ~ David Abram

Tom Best would love that quote. Living inside of awareness. Sweet. I miss him.


I’ve been giving 15-20 massages a week, and my body is feeling it. I like the honesty of physical work, and I’m learning about remedies like rosemary oil for achy thumbs, trigger points on the forearm, wrist stretches.

Immersing myself in the cold waters of Barton Springs and snorkeling a lap is very, very good for aches and pains. I sleep well.

I’ve also changed up my mouth care routine. I’m brushing with turmeric (if you try it, be careful because it stains towels and possibly porcelain, but it whitens teeth and reduces inflammation in gum pockets), tongue scraping, flossing, oil pulling with organic coconut oil (sometimes adding a drop of peppermint or clove oil).

I do the oil pulling for 20 minutes most days.

So far, my teeth are whiter, my mouth feels cleaner, and my breath smells good throughout the day.

I’ve done this about a week now. I want to do it for a couple of months and see if it makes a big difference. Some folks claim that oil pulling has huge unexpected health benefits; some say that’s because it reduces inflammation in the mouth and body.

I’ll let you know.


Finally, I am planning to start a new 21-day challenge on Sept. 1, ending on the fall equinox. I will be doing The Work of Byron Katie, starting with her Judge Your Neighbor worksheet.

I will do at least one worksheet online so people can see how The Work actually works.

I’m also re-reading her book, Loving What Is (which she autographed for me last time I saw her!), and will add insights from that and the workshops I’ve attended.

If you’d like to do it along with me, here’s a link to the worksheet online.

How to make real, lasting, and meaningful changes

I’ve recommended a very good book to several people recently and thought I’d blog about it as well. My peeps were either frustrated with their own failure to make a desired change in their lives, or they were helping professionals frustrated that their patients/clients were not making the changes they recommended.

The book is called Changing for Good: A Revolutionary Six-Stage Program for Overcoming Bad Habits and Moving Your Life Positively Forward. It has three authors — James Prochaska, John Norcross, and Carlo DiClemente, all Ph.D. psychology professors who did extensive research on the process of change. They modeled people who had successfully quit addictive and other problem behaviors (drinking, smoking, overeating, procrastinating, and many more).

Through this research, they discovered that successful change has six stages:

  1. Pre-contemplation (denial, ignorance, excuses, distancing, projection, blaming others)
  2. Contemplation (taking the problem behavior seriously, understanding consequences)
  3. Preparation (committing, setting a time frame, making a plan, telling people)
  4. Action (making the change, finding healthy ways to cope)
  5. Maintenance (staying motivated, encountering and weathering crises)
  6. Termination (no temptation, new identity)

The book goes into each stage in detail with tips on what you can do when you encounter problems or get stuck.

Since we all generalize, delete, and distort in our maps of reality, I can pretty much guarantee that this book will contain something you didn’t know enough about, never thought of before, or misunderstood about making a desired change.

The beauty is that you can take any change that you’ve tried to make but did not succeed at, identify the step where you fell down, get a better understanding of what it takes to succeed at that step, and come up with some better strategies and behaviors.

For instance, if you or a client has quit smoking numerous times but failed to “stay quit,” you know you or they need help with preparation and maintenance. Some years ago, this book helped me finally “stay quit” after quitting many times, and I’m no longer tempted at all. I prepared differently and put more emphasis on the importance of maintenance rather than action.

The National Cancer Institute found this program more than twice as effective as standard quit-smoking programs for 18 months. The National Association for Drug Abuse and Weight Watchers (or so I’ve heard) now also use this process.

Here’s my favorite customer review from

It worked, I think. 
I still haven’t finished the book, but I decided to quit drinking and that was four months ago. Did it work? I dunno, but it sure is worth what I paid for the book.

It’s important to note that although the process has six stages, it is seldom linear. People recycle stages and may spiral through all the stages several times before being successful.

It’s also important to point out that you can use this to improve your game, be it golf, tennis, or surfing.

This book can really be helpful to frustrated change agents — therapists, coaches, health care providers. If you can identify where a client or patient is in their change process, you can actually address their needs much more effectively than just by recommending a change to them. They probably already know they “need to” change. Is it information they lack? Motivation? Support? Do they have problems with self-talk? Avoiding temptation?

Ask them about past changes they’ve made, and assess where they are on making this change. You can intervene more effectively if you know where they are stuck.

As my friend Glenda said recently,

I’ve worked hard at attracting and hanging onto heavy energy.

Now that’s someone in the contemplation stage. She’s getting motivated to experience something else.