When first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes two years ago, I was scared into a very rigid regime of diet and exercise. The first thing I did was register for the Tour de Cure – a bike ride sponsored by the American Diabetes Association. Establishing a goal served as an incentive to train and exercise daily.
Six months later, I had lost 25 pounds and significantly lowered my A1C and cholesterol! I was very proud. I had completed by first metric century on my bike and people were telling me how they were inspired.
Life goes on. I recently made a decision to change jobs. It was an opportunity that aligned with my career plan. Nevertheless, change after 50 is not easy! I never imagined the transition to have so many moving parts.
In the months that followed, the stress seemed to mount. I was feeling a lot of pressure to prove myself to my new colleagues. I was having second thoughts. I worried about the future. When I get anxious or nervous, I eat – the wrong things! I found myself reverting to my old bad habits. I continued my exercise, but it was not enough to counter my bad diet. My blood sugar levels fell out of the perfect range. I gained weight.
The Tour de Cure was approaching again and I was being asked to ride again. Of course, I agreed. We formed a riding group that began doing training rides together, meeting weekly via phone, and creating a Facebook page. We talked about riding. We shared frustrations of being diabetic. I remembered I was not alone. I am back on track.
However, I know the ride will long with many hills. Some will take me up and others will take me down. What is the moral of the story? First, find your exercise passion. It might be cycling, walking, or Pilates. If it allows you to sign up for a goal such as a cycling century, a 5K run, or Diabetes Walk-A-Thon – sign up. Second, find a supportive group. Family is great but only other diabetics will understand your lifestyle.
Peter Joyce lives in the Washington, DC area. He can be found on the web at Team Type 2 (www.teamtype1.org/teams/team_type2/) or on Facebook at team Red: Capital Area Red Riders (www.facebook.com/groups/TeamCARR?ap=1