When I went to the doctor, I had no idea what I was in for. I thought it would be an easy decision to possibly have a hysterectomy—not unheard of for a woman of my age—or possibly a less-invasive procedure. Then I started to worry that it was cancer. But the diagnosis shocked me.
Basically, pre-type II diabetes. But, as my doctor said, being a little diabetic is like being a little pregnant. So, I have type II diabetes. And it explains so much. I took my diagnosis and my list of prescriptions and left the doctor’s office with a commitment to change—and doctor’s orders to cut calories and lose weight in order to get my insulin under control.
The way my doctor described it to me, my body does not process insulin properly. No matter if I eat carrots or candy bars, if I run a 10K each day or just sit on the couch, my body creates the same, high level of insulin, a growth hormone. End result is that I gain weight. I’ve struggled with trying to lose in the past, and it seemed like no matter the effort I put into it, I’d maybe lose a pound, perhaps two. Then I’d get discouraged and stop trying. A vicious cycle.
But now I knew a bit more about why things were the way they were. I committed to changing everything. Following the low-calorie diet my doctor told me to adhere to. Researching healthy foods for people with type II diabetes. Working harder to incorporate exercise into my life, every day. And taking my medicine (even though I don’t like to take my medicine) so that I can come to a point where I get my insulin under control and get off the medication.
I cut the carbs, immediately. Stopped with bread and pasta and rice … no easy feat for me. And I’ve learned that this diagnosis is a lot more common than I first imagined. There are lots of people who have type II diabetes. I reached out and asked people and was overwhelmed by support. So I’m going to share what I’ve learned here.
I don’t know where my insulin resistance came from; I do know that from a very young age, I remember eating a lot of processed foods. It was the 1970s; this was not uncommon. I liked candy and would save my lunch money to stop at the penny candy store, where a dollar would buy a hundred (sometimes more) pieces of candy. We ate these modified foods because they were new and nobody questioned their safety.
Food for me became an emotional thing. I would eat when I was happy, sad, angry, celebrating, mourning … not just when I was hungry. But along with my processed foods and carbs, I also like good, whole foods. We eat a lot of vegetables and fruits and lean protein and dairy in my family (yes, along with our processed carbs). Could I really change my entire outlook on food?
Well, if it’s truly a matter of life and death, I figure I can give it a shot.