This month marks two years since I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
I had routine blood work done for a physical. My fasting blood glucose was almost 300 mg/dl, and my cholesterol was also very high.
I have a family history of type 2 diabetes; both my grandmothers had it, plus a great aunt. I have seen people lose limbs and suffer other complications from this disease. Plus, I experienced insulin-dependent gestational diabetes with my daughter, who was born in June 1998, which put me at even higher risk for type 2. So it was something I should have been checking for regularly, but I did not. I wish I had.
The doctor gave me three months to change my diet and start exercising before trying medication. I followed her diet recommendations right away. I was used to eating whatever I wanted, which meant a lot of sweets and carbs—that had to change. I also started the Couch to 5K running program and some weight lifting. I had never run before, and it sure wasn’t anything I thought I would like, but my daughter agreed to do it with me.
After three months, my numbers were better but not quite where my doctor wanted them, so she agreed to give me three more months. I was determined to give it my all. Today, I still control my blood glucose with diet and exercise, no medication. I get carbs only from fruits and veggies, with occasional quinoa or brown rice, and I exercise four to six times a week. And I have lost almost 55 pounds since I was diagnosed!
The way I see it, there is no food or drink in the world worth sticking a needle in my leg. While I may not be able to overcome genetics, if I go on diabetes medication—which may need to happen eventually—I vow that it will not be because of bad choices I make.
If you know you are at risk for type 2 diabetes, eat as well as possible (avoid processed food!) and be active. It is much easier to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes than to manage it. Surround yourself with people who will support you and understand the changes you need to make. Don’t feel like you have to explain or justify how you eat to people.
This is not an easy journey, but the longer you make good food choices and exercise a priority, the more it truly becomes a lifestyle! Watch your numbers and listen to your body.
Do you know YOUR risk for type 2 diabetes? March 24 is American Diabetes Association Alert Day®, so get ready to take the Diabetes Risk Test and share it with everyone you know. You will find this free test at diabetes.org/risktest2015 or by calling 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383). Take it. Share it. Step Out.