After years of battling my weight and diet, a few years ago I was diagnosed as at risk for type 2 diabetes. The first sign of the diagnosis came when I was pregnant with my three boys, I had gestational diabetes with each of them. After my third baby I managed to lose weight and my blood sugar levels went down to normal levels. However, life got in the way and time to exercise became rare and I gained some of the weight back. The diagnosis became official.
At first I was upset, embarrassed and mad at myself, how could I have gained the weight back? I felt like it was my own fault and I didn’t share the news with anyone, other than my husband, for a long time. But in the end, it was a good reminder that the best way to keep my diabetes under control was to adopt a healthier lifestyle through diet and exercise.
It’s hard. I am at work 40 hours a week and I have three teen age boys and a husband that keep me plenty busy. Who has time to work out after working an 8 hour day, attending a soccer game, making a healthy dinner for their family and getting set for the next day? Cooking on a night like that presents a challenge as well; fast food or something from a box that is quick is very tempting. I am not going to lie to you; a $5 pizza is cheaper than a healthy meal and a lot faster.
In a quest to improve not only my health, but the health of my entire family, I have made a lot of positive changes in our house, including eating less processed foods, more organic foods, more fruits and vegetables and whole grains and encouraging us all to exercise as a family. Eau Claire has a lot of great events that promote fitness as a family, like the Color Run or the Carson Park 5 and 10 run that was held last weekend. There are lots of trails to explore, and to make hiking fun for my boys we started Geocaching. There are health benefits to yoga as well as other workouts, and I practice yoga regularly now. Not only does it help with my blood sugar but also my stress and anxiety that comes from a busy life!
The library has resources that can help too, including books about diabetes, cookbooks with healthy meals and exercise videos. One resource I have been using a lot of is the magazine Clean Eating and a great cookbook called Clean Eating for Busy Families (my boys love the chicken tenders!). One great thing is you can now get magazines on your smart phone or tablet through Overdrive and Nook! There are several great recipe magazines available online now including my favorite Clean Eating available.
I am happy to report that my efforts are paying off, my numbers are lower and my diabetes is controlled without insulin. One of the most important things I have learned the last few years is that I am not powerless against this disease, there is a lot I can do to empower myself and my prognosis. Also, I am not alone in this. Sharing my struggle with others has created a wonderful support system. It is my hope that my story will empower someone else.