Make a plan and stick to it

We’ve talked about testing our blood sugar to see the effects of different foods and in doing so have found that what we want is not always what we need. We’ve also talked about how exercise doesn’t really have to be a bad word when we take baby steps and consume nutritionally dense foods instead of breaded maybe meat and the new low fat flavor of the week.

When I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I was scared. I read what I could find on the internet about the medicine I had been prescribed, the side effects, and I called my doctor with my concerns. He told me that my need for metformin overrode any risk of side effects and that I needed that medicine. I felt a little better and I took it.

Back then I was also scared of all things needles and lancets. It would take me at least 3 attempts before pushing the button on the lancet. Some times I wondered why I was even testing, I didn’t even know at the time what the numbers meant. I had my meds, my meter, and the cookbook they gave me. Three months later my HBA1c went up and I got my dose increased and a few times extra medications. This went on for nearly 4 years, testing without knowledge and eating to my doctor’s orders.

Doctors are often very busy people. They don’t always know about things like maybe those heart healthy whole grains were not the best thing for my diabetes. Luckily the nurse practitioner had hands on experience and more time to spend with me. She taught me that testing wasn’t some kind of punishment like it felt like it was, that testing would enable me to get better control over my diabetes, and well, she was right.

We made a plan. The plan was that I would start out with a structured plan (Atkins) and just give it a try. Since she did give me the option of injecting insulin, it made my choice a lot easier. This was in April of 2011.

Knowing the whens and whys of testing helped me to test more often. It helped me to learn that though well meaning, my doctor had it all wrong about diet soda and butter. I could eat a pork chop with broccoli and butter, wash it down with a diet root beer and my blood sugar didn’t go up to the 239 it had previously gone to in previous pork chop meals. There was something different about my new pork chop meals and maybe because I had left off the mashed potatoes and dinner roll that the pork chop, broccoli and real butter were not the evil villains portrayed in most diabetic horror stories, but the things I left off maybe were?

There are many people who poo-poo the thought of giving up “comfort foods”. Many of these people are the very people who make money off of our sickness. They tell us how important it is that we consume the carbohydrates so we can have healthy brain (or what ever) function. They tell us we need carbohydrates for energy. They tell us a lot of things, like moderation, take your meds, exercise, when it doesn’t work we are scolded like elementary school students in the principles office.

It’s amusing that people tell me time and time again that I am going to die because I do not eat carbohydrates. Most of these folks are well educated folks, having gainful employment much more important than my job of mother, wife, memaw (not really, this is the most important and rewarding job I’ve ever had).

At first I let them get to me, I let them make me feel small and unknowing. I was sad for just a moment when I thought about how they aren’t really as smart as they think they are.

See, carbohydrates are in the broccoli I eat, they linger in the cabbage and carrots and strawberries. I get my vitamins, minerals, and yes even fiber from natural sources like nuts and turnip greens and yes, even my beloved Brussels sprouts. I don’t rely on factory processed vitamin enriched fiber added breads and muffins and other sugary substances. What? you thought bread was just naturally healthy? Read the label. Enriched means they added that in there.

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t have time to worry about what other folks eat. While technically I am a house wife, and that means I spend a lot of time in or at my own home, I don’t spend time dwelling on what other people eat. I do spend time reading articles and really good books like Dr. Richard K. Bernstein’s Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution.

In the beginning, I would find the studies talked about on the news and think oh no, now what? Lucky for me, Tom Naughton made a movie called “Fat Head” (you can watch it for free on hulu, or go to his blog and purchase a copy ). I learned from that movie that “smart” people really aren’t as smart as they think they are, and well Morgan’s movie was a sham.

Tom also has a handy dandy video (his speech from the LC cruise). It’s a little more than 46 minutes long, but well worth the view. It helps one to learn to distinguish the facts from fiction when it comes to the news’ hype about this or that new study.

I share my story because while I do not have time to worry about what other folks eat, how they live their life, who’s dating who and all other things glitter and glam, I do not wish anyone to suffer the complications of diabetes. I am not delusional in that I am actually going to save the world, I know that won’t happen. Forty years of fear tactics about saturated fat and cholesterol have pretty much tied up most of the world in the following blindly mentality.

I do hope that my story, journey, what have you, makes you think. How you live with your diabetes is up to you. You have a choice, if what you are doing works, keep doing it. If you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired and got enough scoldings in your childhood, look for what works for you. You have the “easy button” (your meter).

Don’t just do something because so and so said do it, do your homework. Make time to look for the answers. Make a plan, stick to it. My story is not unique, there are many people who were sick and tired of being sick and tired, they did their homework, they live productive lives. If you’ve never heard of Steve Cooksey, maybe you should read his story. He has a whole website of his story and he’s also a really nice guy.

Whether your story is just beginning or you think you’re half way through the book, it is your choice on how it ends.




6 thoughts on “Make a plan and stick to it

  1. You got a cookbook when you were diagnosed?! 😉

    Seriously though, thank you for your ongoing sharing of your story. I think in order to understand what diabetes is (to the individual personally), you need to see how others live with diabetes.

  2. My dad, his mother and siblings had/have diabetes, so I have to watch out for it too. I try to stay away from as many carbs as I can, but I can cheat and it won’t hurt me. It is amazing how good you feel when you change your eating habits. It makes you feel good and you really don’t crave all the bad things you use to eat. It takes willpower and from what I gather you have a lot of it! 🙂

    • It is amazing, thinking one is destined to a life of being sick and tired. Good habits out of bad is pretty good. As for the willpower, it was one of the hardest habits to get into. Have a great day 🙂

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