As a person with type 1 diabetes who's been trying to lose weight for as long as I can remember, one of the things I often hear from other PWDs is that it takes twice as long to lose weight with diabetes as it does without. Now, I've checked with my expert sources and they tell me that isn't true, but that doesn't mean losing weight with diabetes is a walk in the park. Jessica Johnson, a 30-year-old type 1 PWD and project coordinator in Tempe, Arizona, knows exactly how it feels.
Jessica was diagnosed at age 12, and says she spent "nearly two decades being angry that I had the disease, ignoring it and wishing that it would go away." After years of struggling to manage her diabetes and her weight, suffering through diabulimia, bulimia and an addiction to exercise, Jessica has launched a new program called A1CWise, which is dedicated to helping others with type 1 diabetes lose weight and achieve the A1C they've always dreamed of.
Sounds pretty nice, right?
Jessica's program involves 12 weeks of meal plans and workouts that you can follow along with at home, tracking your progress as you go. The meal plans offer 5 days' of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, and there are eight different strength training workouts. Warning: there is very little flexibility in the meals or workouts, and it's very repetitious. Jessica says she wanted to focus on repetition in order to retrain the mind, body and insulin sensitivity.
Doesn't the repetition get too boring to maintain? To help combat that, Jessica also includes "cheat days" to keep things interesting. These are meal plans and workouts that Jessica herself has done, and she lost 15 lbs.
She guarantees the same results for you.
Yes, guarantees. That's the part in Jessica's sales pitch that tripped us up... Any time someone says they can "guarantee" success for someone else, and a time frame is attached, we get a little antsy.
It's not that Jessica's plan is a bad one. In fact, many PWDs already find success in managing their weight and A1C with lower carb diets and a regular exercise routine. Fewer carbohydrates means less insulin, which means less calories are consumed and absorbed as fat. As I've personally experienced on the Paleo diet, fewer carbs have definitely led to a decrease in the fluctuations in my blood sugar. I've also managed to lose a few pounds, but it's hardly been the perfect solution, which leads me to be skeptical about any significant changes coming from Jessica's program, although I'm certain people will see some benefits.
As Jessica explains: Increased amounts of insulin in the body (think type 2 diabetes) can lead to more inflammation and more insulin resistance. This can make it hard to lose weight, and even make you prone to gaining weight.
"It's a vicious cycle," she says. "I searched the Internet hundreds of times looking for a solution and never found one. It wasn't until I started to apply proven fundamentals from a variety of sources that I found an amazing formula that allowed me to lose weight and get excellent blood sugar control for the first time."
Her new program takes into consideration the impact of carbohydrates on a person with type 1 diabetes, which other weight-loss programs don't. She find that the ratio of fat:carbs:protein is very important for long-term success. Many programs only focus on calorie reduction versus hitting the right ratios that fuel the body appropriately and allow for sustainable results.
Here's Jessica, explaining in her own words why she created this program:
Even Jessica admits that the contents of her program aren't revolutionary, but she points out that she's packaged the information in a way that's ideal for type 1 PWDs battling the bulge and blood sugars. Her emphasis on carbohydrates, not just on calories, does set Jessica's diet apart from most of the "approved" diets for diabetes. It might be repetitive, but it doesn't eliminate any food groups altogether, so that might be a plus in making it easier to stick with.
We were a little surprised to learn that Jessica hadn't heard of some other great diabetes programs, such as Fit4D or Team WILD, which have been helping folks with diabetes lose weight and stay active for several years. But Google is a vast space... That said, Jessica's fundamentals are fairly sound but perhaps not quite the "magic bullet" that her materials market her program to be.
A1CWise is very affordable, though. For 12 weeks of workouts and meal plans, the cost is $59.99. Team WILD starts at $150.00 and goes up to several hundred, while Fit4D doesn't list their prices publicly, but we're pretty sure you can't get much there for just $60.
Jessica herself doesn't have any medical training, but she teamed up with several experts to provide a solid program. She worked with a medical doctor who specializes in internal medicine, a personal trainer who specializes in metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, and consulted with nutritional experts to develop her eating plan.
The A1CWise program just launched in January, so Jessica was not able to provide any results from those who have purchased her program. But she says, "I have gotten incredible feedback from individuals stating they had no idea that their 'carb centric' diet was sabotaging their weight loss and blood sugar control efforts. I've had feedback telling me that for the first time they were experiencing consistent blood sugars, feeling better, taking responsibility for their life."
Despite some of our hesitations about Jessica's enthusiasm for her mostly untested program, you can't fault the girl for wanting to give back to the community, especially in this much-needed way.
"There is so much bad and misinformation out there," Jessica says. "I feel that because I have found the perfect formula for me, it is my responsibility to get it into the hands of others who have type 1 and struggle, so they too can finally experience a life where having a thin body and having great blood sugar control are not at odds."
We couldn't be happier to have you spreading the word about good health, Jessica. And we couldn't be happier to give one of our lucky readers a chance to try out the A1CWise program for themselves! Just follow the directions below to enter to win.
A DMProducts Giveaway
Here's what to do:
1. Post your comment below and include the codeword "DMProducts" somewhere in the the text to let us know that you'd like to be entered in the giveaway.
2. You have until Friday, April 19, 2013, at 5 p.m. PST to enter. A valid email address is required to win.
3. The winner will be chosen using Random.org.
The contest is open to all. Good luck!
UPDATE: This contest is now closed. Congrats to Amy A, who Random.org chose as the winner!