For many years I thought that the only disease that affected my family was cancer, particularly cervical cancer. About ten years ago, things changed and my sister was diagnosed with diabetes. Then in very short order so was my mother. It was frightening to me because I had an acquaintance who had suffered with the disease, went to bed one night and did not wake up the next morning.
Maybe a year or so after their diagnoses, I had gone to the doctor and he had recommended that I get a fasting test done for diabetes based on the result from a urine test. The result was unremarkable as the first reading was higher than the second reading which did not inspire the doctor to make a diagnosis other than to say I was pre-diabetic and I needed to lose weight and watch my diet.
Sadly, I barely paid any attention because it seemed like a non-diagnosis, in my ignorance, and continued to eat like I normally would.
One day some months after, I was at my mother’s house when she was testing her glucose level. I mentioned my experience to her and she offered to test me with her handy tester. The result of the first reading was a scary four hundred plus, which never really meant anything to me, but caused her to repeat the test. The reading was different; in the three hundreds. I was really ignorant of the ramifications until much later when I educated myself about the disease. I even watched an interview with Patti LaBelle, who recounted an experience where she had gone into a diabetic coma (or fainted?) with a reading of over five hundred. I probably was just a meal or three away from possible death.
I went and got tested again and was finally diagnosed as a diabetic.
Thankfully, I developed an interest in the medical shows that dish out more information than I could ever remember but I paid special attention to that which referred to my particular or potential illnesses.
I learned to become my own advocate.
I conducted my own experiments which gave me an idea of how many points my glucose level would rise if I ate a particular food, whether it was fruit, vegetable, ground provision or processed.
After years of taking the medication and after serious thought, I realize that the medication was forcing me to eat all the wrong things in order to prevent my glucose level to sink too low. Indications are that it also caused severe constipation especially when others on the same meds had the same complaint.
It was during the period when I had lost weight and felt real good at one hundred and sixty pounds. The doctor had increased the dosage which was taking sugar levels so low I had to eat sweet stuff (the wrong stuff) in order to not feel ill, because when sugar levels are low it is the sickest, lowest feeling ever. I promptly put on back all the weight I had lost.
Mind you, my doctor who was overweight and also on medication had told me that I could not get better. When I insisted that I had watched shows with persons who spoke about how they successfully got off their diabetic medication, she then told me it would be very difficult as in her practice, she had only one patient, a man who had managed to come off his meds with a strict diet regimen. I decided there and then that I needed a new doctor.
While I was getting to know this new doctor I was also getting to know more about the causes of diabetes, how the body functions in that regard, and what I needed to do to get a shot at not needing medication any more. One important factor is what happens with belly fat and it became clear to me that the only thing to do with it is to get rid of it as it hampers the action of insulin against the buildup of glucose.
I started to see sugar and bad carbs as the enemy and cut them out almost totally. I rarely take sugar anymore and I try to have only a little of the good carbs. I have learnt to eat mostly protein and vegetables, a little fruit (because the very sweet ones really can cause sugar level to rise dramatically) and eating green, leafy vegetables really flush out the sugar from your blood (a laywoman’s interpretation). Add to that about half an hour of cardio, even just jogging on the spot, and I was on my way to not needing medication.
Knowing that elevated levels cause internal damage and blindness is a real motivation to ensure that I eat the right foods to keep sugars at acceptable levels.
It has been over six months since I have taken any medication and I have managed to take sugar levels down to eighty-five which is great since normal is about ninety-nine. There are times when it gets high but I try to prevent it from going above one hundred and fifty which, according to my doctor, is still good.
It feels great to accomplish this feat but it continues to be a challenge. My current weight loss is twenty-two pounds. Actually, I had lost twenty-eight pounds and I regained six over Christmas which I am now trying to dump. Six pounds is going to be a lot easier to lose and an easier journey to start on than the one I started last February where I lost twenty eight pounds.
I am happy I found a system that works for me and I hope you will become your own advocate and find one that works for you.
I reiterate that this is not a recommendation and suggest that you make all dietary and medication changes under the supervision of your physician.
And you really need to eat smaller portions and less of the things that have higher glycemic indices, and develop a different attitude towards food and the role it plays with regard to your health.
Everything is a process but you can be successful if you start with baby steps.