The names here may or may not reflect the person’s real name. If someone wants to remain unknown, we will choose a different name for that person’s story. The goal is to help people, and anonymity is a valid personal choice for contributors. I will use a person’s name only if they give permission to do so.
This week I am pleased to share another of my own stories.
Here is Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 6
When I first found out that I was a type 2 diabetic, I had experienced being at “goal weight” about 7 years before the diagnosis. I successfully lost enough weight on the Weight Watchers program when I did it with my mom back in high school. After that, I got sick and put on more weight than I had ever dealt with, and since then, I peaked at almost 320lbs.
I am hovering at the edge of “twoville” again, and really hoping that this is the year for me to find my way back to “onederland”. Twoville is in the 200 lb range, and it starts at 299.99lbs. Onederland is in the 100 lb range and starts at 199.99 lbs. That would be an amazing accomplishment. I can only imagine how that will feel, as it has been longer than a decade since I have weighed in at under 200 lbs. I think it is a reasonable goal, for one year, and if I make it, fantastic, if not, I will keep fighting the good fight. Because I believe I am worthy of living a healthier lifestyle, and I can do it if I just put in the effort. A goal needs to be realistic, and if I put too much pressure on myself, I will fail and be crushed under the weight of that failure.
So I keep going to Zumba, twice a week. I am preparing to start walking in my neighbourhood in the evenings. That is also preparing for adopting a dog. Part of the reason that I want to bring a dog home to live with me is because I know I will HAVE to go for walks more than once a day, EVERY day. The dog will benefit from living in a loving home, and my health will have to benefit from all the walking. It is a good plan, and I will have until next winter to prepare myself for walking in the snow and ice. By then I will be in the habit of the daily walks, and I will be ready to tackle the bad weather walking as a healthier version of myself.
I am so looking forward to having a dog in my life again. I have friends with dogs, and friends with cats. I visit them when I can, but it’s not the same as having my own pet here all the time. My house has been very quiet this winter, with no pitter patter of furry friends to come home to. I needed time to mourn for my cats, and decided it was time to get a dog, in the spring. We will be getting ready for that in the next couple of months, and when the right dog crosses our path, we will give it a furever home.
When I first found out I was pre-diabetic (there is no such thing, it is a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes; the doctors just break it to you gently by saying not yet, but really you are a type 2 diabetic). I was told that I would have a chance of not needing medication for it if I removed sugar from my diet, and ate according to Canada’s Food Guide. I tried. I failed. I was so tired all of the time. I was drinking up to 2 litres of cola a day for the caffeine because I was so tired all the time. The sugar was making me tired, so the caffeine was not keeping me awake. I began drinking more cola for more caffeine, and it never worked for very long. I know now what I was doing wrong. Then I switched to diet pop. Aspartame is something I have removed from my life since then. I now choose stevia and erythritol for my sweeteners and drink very little pop. I have one can a day, and not every single day. I choose pop sweetened with stevia, and it took a bit to learn to like it.
I now drink my coffee black. It is healthier this way, and now that I am used to it, I like it like this. Less fuss to prepare it in the morning, and no worries about not wanting to drink it because there is nothing in it. I sometimes drink green tea. I sometimes drink oolong tea in one of my THM drinks. I do not use cola for my main source of caffeine anymore.
I did not tell everyone about being a diabetic for a long time. I feared the food police. I learned this term from a diabetes educator. They are those people who immediately point out what is wrong with everything you eat. You are the person with diabetes, and everyone else thinks they are the expert. It is embarrassing to be an adult and have someone tell you that you shouldn’t eat that because you are a diabetic. Out loud. In front of a room full of people. Or to say that isn’t good for you, because it has sugar in it. People don’t mean any harm, I know it is being said because, on some level, they care about me as a person, and want me to be healthy. However, I am an adult, and this type of criticism is not positive, and can have very negative effects on my self-esteem.
I am a lot tougher than I look. Even if you find me bawling in a quiet place, it is not always because I am sad, it might be because I am SO ANGRY that I sprung a leak. It is a self-defense mechanism that I have had for most of my life, and I hate it. It is the quiet, private way to vent.
Other times I would eat my feelings. I would go buy junk food and regular cola and binge eat. How dare someone point at what I am eating when they are eating something just as unhealthy, or worse than what I am eating. They eat whatever they want, well so will I. The problem with that, other than me gaining weight, is that really I am only hurting myself. That other person doesn’t even know that they did something wrong. THEY THINK THEY ARE HELPING ME. They mean well, but if I am having a sugar low, I might actually NEED that candy I am crunching as fast as I can because my sugars are dropping. It can happen quite suddenly, and I now have juice boxes and suckers with me all of the time. I don’t use them unless I need them.
Maybe I have made plans to take extra insulin because I wanted a treat. I want to be normal, and eat like other people do. I am not, and that is why I am trying SO HARD to change. I have learned that if I give in a little when I have a craving, I won’t be as likely to binge eat as I would if I suppress it. So I do have things that are not on the diabetic diet. I am human. It is more convenient to grab something quick sometimes. I am working on that, just like I am working on me. Most of the time I make healthy choices. So when you see me eating something that isn’t one of those choices, let me be. I know the consequences of my actions, and I will recover to my sensibilities when I am ready.
Just like no person is the same as any other person, no person with diabetes is the same as every other person with diabetes, and no person has the exact same issues with weight that every other person has. That is why it is important for me to write about how I feel, and to share the stories of other people and their issues with weight. We all are experiencing life as a journey, but we still forge our own paths as individuals.