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Diabetes Reversed

General

In six months Tillamook County Commissioner Tim Josi reversed his diabetes diagnoses, brought his blood pressure, cholesterol, lipids and triglyceride counts to within normal ranges and lost 30 pounds by changing his diet and increasing his exercise.

Commissioner Josi credits the Tillamook Regional Medical Center’s Complete Health Improvement Project (CHIP) for the dramatic improvement in his health. “Dr. Hans Diehl came to the hospital to talk to people about CHIP. He developed the program. I didn’t really know what his talk was going to be about; I just went to support the hospital. I didn’t go there planning to sign up for anything. But he was talking about reversing diabetes and heart disease, and that got my attention. I had three brothers with diabetes, both of my parents were diabetic, aunts, uncles, grandparents, diabetes is pervasive in my family. I was earmarked for becoming a diabetic; it was knocking at the door. I was secretly afraid that I already had diabetes. I was also afraid that I was a heart attack waiting to happen. My dad died of a heart attack.”

Josi talked with Dr. Hans Diehl, who asked him about his health concerns. Josi listed high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high lipids and triglycerides, fear of diabetes and heart disease. Dr. Diehl told him that every one of those problems could be cured with changes in diet and lifestyle. It was within his power to take control of his health by making a few simple changes. Josi signed up for the program.CHIP is a four-week program that includes two health screenings, 12 lectures and a cookbook, cooking demonstrations, delicious meals each evening and support group meetings to stay on track.

“Before the class started I had my annual physical with Dr. Betlinski, and sure enough, I was diagnosed with diabetes. My A1C blood glucose level was 6.6, and 5.5 is normal. But Dr. Betlinski said that he would wait to prescribe diabetes medication for me because I told him I had signed up for the CHIP program.

“The CHIP program does a really thorough job of explaining what you should eat and why. Basically, you cut out animal products, prepared foods and fats and oils. The idea is that the pancreas produces insulin, which is the key that opens the lock that allows glucose into the cells. Eating fatty products gums up the lock.”

“I’m not a vegetarian, but I try really hard. I’ve reduced meat in my diet to about three times a week, just lean meats, in moderate amounts. I’m not a fanatic. I still eat potato chips once in a while, but just a little bit if I’m at an event where someone is serving them, and I don’t buy them. At the grocery store I stay away from the meat counter. I’m eating a lot more fruits and vegetables, and beans and nuts. If I’m going out to eat I look for a vegetarian burger and a salad, rather than chips. If I go out for dinner I splurge on a Cobb salad, and avoid the bacon. I’m not hungry, and I’m not missing anything.”

Josi increased his exercise to about 4 hours a week. “I try to exercise every day, but with my schedule, it doesn’t always work. I’d say I make it at least four times a week.”

Six months after he began CHIP, Josi had a check-up with Dr. Betlinski, who told him that he is no longer diabetic. “My blood glucose level is down to 5.6, and 5.5 is normal. I don’t need medication, and I don’t even have to keep testing myself regularly. My cholesterol has fallen to below 150 and my blood pressure is down to the 120’s. They are both within normal ranges for the first time in years. Same with my lipids and triglyceride levels.”

“I recommend this program for anybody,” said Josi. “The U.S. is having a health care crisis, and a lot of it is because of what we eat. Obesity is and will cost the health care system billions of dollars. You can reverse diabetes and heart disease. People can live longer, healthier lives, just by making different choices. We can turn this stuff around, and it’s not that hard.”

CHIP classes are offered through Tillamook Regional Medical Center twice yearly. Call (503)-815-2270 for more information.