When my doctor said, “You have diabetes. You’ll have to watch your sugar, change your lifestyle, and lose some weight,” I was dismayed. For one, I was addicted to sugar. Second, I had been trying for years to lose weight, and I knew it just wasn’t possible. Third, I was not adept in the kitchen–toasting bread maxxed out my repertoire.
I was just stubbornly resistant to the whole thing. Grudgingly, I took diabetes classes at a local hospital, but I sat with my arms crossed, kind of saying “Make me.” They talked about what I saw as tiny meals consisting of only 40 grams of carbohydrate, and I just wasn’t interested. I did buy a book on diabetes by Bob Greene, Oprah’s former trainer, and read it cover to cover, but I made little progress with my diabetes. My friends were concerned and kept bringing up the complications of uncontrolled diabetes, but I stubbornly soldiered on the way I was.
When Lent came, though, I decided to do without sugar. During that time, my blood sugar leveled off. Even more to my surprise, I no longer had an urge to eat sweets or to overeat. That led me to step up my exercise, and my blood sugar came down even farther.
It doesn’t take a professor to know that sugar is addicting, and it doesn’t take a nurse (and I am one) to tell you that high sugar intake gets you into trouble. There are various ways to deal with addiction, but what really made the difference for me? A bit of success, which led to more and more success. Lent helped me lower my blood sugar, and seeing those numbers motivated me.
I took the diabetes classes a second time, and this time I was star pupil number one. Once I finally got the message, I began making it a priority to take care of myself each day. And I learned to find my way around a kitchen. I began trying new recipes, purchased a grill to prepare fish, and bought a crockpot and made low-fat chili.
Anyone can make the adjustment to care for her, or his, health. It only takes the right attitude, openness to the new, and a willingness to learn. With a bit of commitment and follow-through, it is amazing what can be done. Now that I’ve made the connection, I’m taking care of myself, one day at a time.