Well, alright, maybe that isn’t exactly a quote but you get the idea. It’s my opinion that our society has been, for quite some time, a society that feels that it is entitled to have whatever it is that we want. It is our unalienable right to eat cake! I think it may be in the constitution. As children, many of us were rewarded with treats when we accomplished something or were exceptionally well behaved. I was raised in an era where there was always dessert after dinner, I could buy a bagful of candy for $.50 and was lucky enough to have a mom who worked at a bakery during the summer who brought home boxes of day-old donuts. (chocolate eclairs were my favorite!) The ice cream truck made the rounds daily and the Helm’s bakery truck pulled right up to our door with drawers full of goodies to buy. Ahhhh….life was good!
Thankfully, that was also a time when kids were very active. We played outside riding our bikes and swimming at the beach; kickball in the street until the streetlights came on. (That seems to have been the law in our land: all kids had to be home when the street lights came on. Was that true everywhere?) I was never overweight as a kid. In fact, I wasn’t overweight until my twenties when I got married and began to have kids of my own. (That dreaded baby fat!) The problem was that I had learned how wonderful sweets were. I became used to eating anything I wanted and was not in the habit of eating lots of veggies. We all know that our metabolism slows down as we age, especially if we become sedentary. Working full time and raising a family is draining. It’s so much easier to sit on the couch after a long day than it is to jump up and exercise. (And no, chasing after kids doesn’t make you thin. If it did I’d be in great shape!)
All of these things contributed to me becoming an unhealthy eater. That, combined with my family history, developed into diabetes. I’m not complaining, even if it sounds like I am. The events in my life have made me who I am today. I am much more than a PWD (person with diabetes). Being diabetic is just a fact and something that I have to deal with. When that doctor called me to tell me that I, in fact, have diabetes, it changed my life forever. The time has come to put on my big-girl panties and deal with it.
How am I dealing with it? Over the course of several years, I have made changes to what I eat on a daily basis. I cut out fast food and as much processed food as I could. Thankfully I like to cook well enough so fresh and homemade were the goal. It really is true that the less salt and sweet you eat, the less you need. (This does not include chocolate! You can never get enough chocolate!) Case in point: The first time I tried low sodium V8 I gagged. Yuck! Now, however, I prefer it over the regular V8. Not that I drink it often but it makes a decent “snack” and doesn’t seem to spike my glucose.
I’ve made these changes slowly over time. When you’re first diagnosed it feels like you have to make drastic changes NOW or ELSE! I think it’s important not to try and become this other person overnight. If we deprive ourselves of things we’re comfortable with it feels like a prison sentence. When in prison all you want is out (this is purely conjecture on my part having never been in prison, really!) Diabetes is here to stay (I hope I’m wrong) so we need to get comfy with it. Making small changes that are healthy feels good.
The flip side of all this is to not beat yourself up when you blow it. What is it they say? It takes 28 days to make a new habit or something like that. So then, if you drive thru a fast food place and have a burger and fries for dinner, don’t hate yourself in the morning. Just move on. No one is perfect and no one is judging you. Do you need to stop doing that very often? Yes. What are the benefits if you do stop? A longer, healthier life. That burger isn’t going to kill you but if you continue to live an unhealthy lifestyle your life will likely be shorter than you want and not nearly as much fun.
I hope you all realize that most of what I’m saying here is being said to myself. I am not the “all knowing diabetic”. I am not perfect. I have been known to eat a burger (shhhh….don’t tell anyone). I just hope that talking about this will not only help me but motivate someone else as well. Here’s to a healthy day for us all!