Taking Control of my Health
Two and a half years ago I went to the doctor after years of just not feeling well. I wasn’t exactly sick but I was constantly tired no matter how much I sleep I got the night before. After eating I wouldn’t feel like doing anything. I felt sluggish and generally unwell but not necessarily sick. I suppose most people would go to the doctor at this point but it took me several years of living like this before I gave up and went to the doctor.
There are a couple reasons it took years to get me into a physician’s office. To begin with, nothing major appeared to be wrong with me besides being tired often. I attributed a lot of my problems to being over-weight and living an under-active lifestyle. I also had a series of low paying jobs that had terrible insurance and the thought of spending most of the little money I made visiting a doctor made me just about as ill.
But life started looking up for me. I moved to a new city and got a new job with pretty awesome insurance. So I made an appointment for a yearly physical and talked over my concerns with my primary care physician. After a few blood tests I had my answer. Diabetes Type 2.
At the time I was terrified because I really didn’t know much about diabetes at all. Fortunately, over the next month or so I was able to meet with a dietitian and a diabetes education counselor and learned a lot more about my condition. Like the fact that the body essentially turns carbohydrates such as potatoes and bread into sugar so they are just as important to control how much you eat of as cake.
At first I did so well with cutting out soda and fast food. The first medication that was prescribed to me made me even sicker and didn’t help control my blood sugar very well. The next prescription worked very well for me and I became really lax with my diet and started slipping back into my old ways. Before I got married and started to plan for having a family I didn’t care much what I put into my body. I wanted cheap, I wanted easy, and that usually meant fast food. But once we started preparing for conception I really got my life and diet in order. It wouldn’t be just myself I’d be hurting if I didn’t commit to living a healthier lifestyle.
With dietary changes and medication I was able to lower my blood sugar levels to a 6.0 A1C, which is what the specialist recommended, in just 6 months. I was so proud of myself and incredibly excited to be cleared by my doctors to start trying to make a baby. I made additional cuts on alcohol, caffeine, and medications you’re not allowed to take while pregnant (like Advil). But after nearly 6 months of trying to conceive without success I find myself slipping back into my old ways when, in reality, it’s probably even more important to have a healthy diet when conception is not coming easy for us.
As a first step of getting back where I need to be I am challenging myself to:
1) Cut out soda again
2) Commit to eating a small breakfast everyday (I usually skip breakfast)
3) Eat more fruits and vegetables
4) Eat smaller portions of the carbohydrates I love
5) Have healthy snacks around (like low-fat string cheese and nuts)
I would love to hear how you are overcoming your nutritional/dietary struggles. Maybe I will even find more inspiration to keep up with my healthy changes 🙂