Crikey, It’s Only Ten Pounds!

Twenty years ago, I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. Horrified, I opened the door into this disease to understand it. I learned, for starters, that I had to begin eating differently and that I had to exercise regularly. In time I would examine the other dis-eases in my life that, if they had a volume button between 1 and 10, would have sounded out at 20. Hello! Wake up call! You are a mess, girl! I hung my head. Well, yes, I was.

I was deeply stressed at work, (running through MacDonald’s for a quick lunch most days), in the throes of a devastating personal crisis, and had recently separated from my spouse after we agreed our marriage had sadly, dismally deteriorated. It was beyond time to wake up.

I do urge you to be compassionate with diabetics. (Well, I urge everyone to be compassionate at all times.) It’s hard to learn how to eat properly if you’ve never studied this science. Do you know that all carbohydrates transform into sugar, the diabetic’s worst enemy? Or that ½ cup of rice or pasta or potatoes is the maximum amount to eat in one meal if you’re diabetic? Or, how about this: since healthy fruits and juices contain a high level of sugar, ½ banana or apple or ½ cup of orange juice is all you should eat or drink in a meal.

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You may know all this. Back in 1996, I did not. I sat with paper and pencil so many evenings, agonizing over portion sizes, daily meal plans, what food to take to work, and shopping lists. It was laborious yet, in the end, I transformed my eating habits from horrible to healthy. When I re-committed to exercising regularly, I realized how worn out I felt on days I didn’t exercise. I changed my lifestyle as well as other aspects in my life that were suffering.

It was such an awakening to understand how much control I had over my health; I’ve never forgotten that. For the next twenty years I managed my diabetes with diet and exercise.Not long ago I was telling a friend about this.

I can give you many reasons for why the following happened last winter, but I won’t: simply, I slacked off on exercising and got lax with those freshly-made local tortilla chips most evenings. By early spring I’d gained ten pounds. I didn’t like my expanded waistline but there it was.

When I went for my six-month health check recently, in hindsight, I shouldn’t have been surprised but I was stunned. My A1C, the six-month average for blood sugar measurement, had climbed to an unacceptable level and my doctor prescribed diabetic medication twice a day. I was so frustrated with myself for backsliding that badly. I drove home determined to lose those ten pounds and more by the time I see my primary care provider next time. To date, I’ve lost 9 pounds. How? By walking 10,000 steps/3-4 miles a day and decreasing portion sizes. Well, okay, I stopped ordering those chips too. No new fad diet, just common sense.

My goal is to end my diabetic medication regime. I have to add, too, that I’m feeling a lot less sluggish these days…. Crikey, what a difference nine pounds less makes!

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About Mary Jo Doig

At the turn of the millennium, I arrived at a cross-road that brought me a splendid, if unforeseen place, almost as if I were a traveler on Robert Frost's The Road Less Traveled. I was single again, my three children were grown and building their lives, I'd experienced a health issue and was working on an improved lifestyle. I also ached to do two other things: (1) change my long human services career in upstate New York's Catskill Mountains, where winter seemed to be at least seven months out of every year, and (2) move to a warmer place in the universe. My decision: did I want to continue on the path I'd been following pretty much all my life, or could I gather my then-fragile courage and start life brand new somewhere else? These were scary thoughts for a single woman in her late 50s. Five hundred miles away, though, I fell in love with a new mountain range, Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, where I knew not a soul except my daughter who was attending college in the Shenandoah Valley, and I moved. I rented a tiny cabin on a mountain in the woods and lived there in solitude for two years, working in a new career by day and, when home, communing with the incredible natural beauty that surrounded me. There I also began to write my life stories, which were aching for release. I joined the Story Circle Network in early 2001, a rich place in cyberspace for women life writers, where I strengthened my written voice and began sharing my stories. I grew there in so many ways and today I'm a long-time editor for the "True Words from Real Women" section of the quarterly Journal, as well as a reader and reviewer of women's memoirs for the SCN Book Review site, another unique place in cyberspace. Then, next year, I’ll again be honored to be program chair for our Stories from the Heart national conference in Austin, TX. I have so many loves: first, my three children: my son, Chip and daughter, Polly, both in Virginia; and my youngest daughter, Susan, in Florida, and also dear family and friends. I must also include my cats Hilary (20) and Button (5). Sometimes I foster cats and kittens for the Humane Society, but Button prefers me not to. My hobbies include reading, writing, editing, cooking, gardening, quilting, knitting, biking, and simply being with the profound beauty of the mountains that embrace my small two acres in the Blue Ridge. The life stories I began writing in 2001 have grown deeper with time, re-writes, and personal growth. Now, all these years later, I believe I've sliced through the layers to reach the heart of my story, and am presently working on the final revision of my memoir, Stitching a Patchwork Life.
This entry was posted in Aging, Change, Compassion, Grace, Health, In the Kitchen. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Crikey, It’s Only Ten Pounds!

  1. Crikey. It’s my new favorite word. Thank you for the other good words too. My sister has had type 2 diabetes for 15 years. It’s good to be reminded to be supportive of her dietary needs. I would sure like to lose 9 pounds, or 14. Thank you for inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s so easy to slip back into old habits. Glad you found your way out. Wish my husband would try.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Jo Doig says:

      It’s hard to get started losing weight but, for me, once I’m a few days in, it becomes self-sustaining because I feel so much better. Hope your husband can discover that sometimes. Or maybe he already knows…. Wake up calls always get me back on track. Thanks for visiting, Margie.

      Like

  3. Learning from this one. Thank you!

    Like

  4. Susan/s says:

    Though my health issues don’t include diabetes, my mother and siblings had/have it, and I know what a radical lifestyle change you have made, Mary Jo! A little backslide after twenty years is not a vector, and your immediate response is just right, to return to exercise and healthy eating. And already you’re having success. I admire the self-discipline, and the kindness toward your self. You will be back to an even keel soon, I’m sure. This is an important topic, so thank you for sharing. Hugs from Colorado…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Jo Doig says:

      Hi Pamela,
      Not sure what’s going on. I had trouble linking the story to FB but it eventually appeared. I’ll see if I can friend you on FB and you can see me there. Thanks for reading my blog! (I’m still smiling about your description of fabric covering the Catskills with such stunning words.)
      Mary Jo

      Like

    • Mary Jo Doig says:

      Thank you, Susan. Your words are always so kind and supportive everywhere I meet you, so that it’s always a pleasure to visit with you. You said something here that was a new insight that I loved, about being kind to myself. xo

      Like

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