If you sort of shrug your shoulders and think living with diabetes type 2 is a breeze you will need to think again after reading my story. I have a relation I would like to share his journey with you and tell you his turning point and the steps that he took to get his life back again.
Let’s just call him “Jim” who was showing the signs of middle age in fact he was a little over middle age he was 77 years old and resigned himself that he was overweight (30 kilos overweight) combined with high blood pressure and he just put this down to being old and that is what happens as you get older you get fatter and don’t get to do the same things you used to do as a younger person.
You see, Jim was making an assumption that it didn’t matter that he had put on weight as he was after all 77 years old and had a good life. But what he did underestimate is that his quality of life was down as he was now not able to enjoy his weekly game of golf or walk the beach as he would get too puffed out and his knees would ache long after the walk had finished.
As a family we tried to encourage him to follow a better diet and to be more active but to no avail. As he already had been informed that he had type 2 diabetes he decided not to really worry about monitoring his blood glucose levels or reduce his food intake as he was told to do in other words Jim made no attempt to follow his doctor’s advice.
Jim went to see the doctor on an unrelated matter and he was asked about how he was managing his BGL’s and had he lost any weight since the last check up. Jim murmured that he probably only lost about 1-2 kilos since the last check up which alarmed the doctor as there was a lot more weight he expected Jim to lose by this stage. He asked Jim to weigh in on his scales which showed that he hadn’t lost any weight he had gained a further 5 kilos!
The turning point for Jim is when the doctor advised that the next step would be to increase his medication and prepare for the fact that he would need to take insulin daily. This set off alarm bells for Jim and it was the fright that was needed to push the button that made him take action to take his type 2 Diabetes seriously.
Living with Diabetes Type 2 – Steps
He worked with the dietician at the hospital to establish a diet plan that he could manage and was shown how to modify the foods he liked to be included in his food plan. He found the information and health articles excellent but he still felt he needed encouragement and he then decided to join Weight Watchers and was successful in losing around 8 kilos. The weight loss slowed down but I think really it was Jim not being as careful with his portions and he did not do any of the exercises that was recommended.
In his local paper Jim saw advertised a weight loss program that ran for 12 weeks at a nearby gym, included in the program was the help of a trainer and a gym program using weights. This program worked best for Jim and for the first time in a long time Jim was not watching life pass him by any further in fact Jim loved the exercises given at the gym.
With using weights Jim thought that his weight loss would slow down as he thought lifting weights would gain weight but found the more muscle he built the more calories he burnt. Every 2nd day would involve exercises supervised by the trainer who along side Jim encouraged him every step of the way. On the days the trainer wasn’t around Jim would either walk or do the same exercises that were done with the trainer. Cleverly the trainer constantly made changes to his weight program so Jim didn’t get bored. For the first time in a long time Jim was enjoying life and losing more weight as a result of changing both his eating and his exercise routine. Jim would tell you himself the first step/s were the hardest but it just got easier the longer he stayed at it.
The regular meetings with the trainer gave Jim more knowledge about exercise and weight loss. In addition to the 8 kilos that was initially lost at Weight Watchers Jim managed to lose a further 22 kilos a total of a whooping 30 kilos. The program that ran over 12 weeks was a competition and Jim actually won the biggest weight loss during the program and his confidence soared.
What Jim learnt was:
- You are never too old to make lifestyle changes.
- Learn as much as you can about your diabetes from your doctor and Diabetes Educators use these professionals to know what you need to do to lose weight and monitor your blood sugar levels regularly. If you need extra group encouragement use Weight Watchers or similar who will also look at the reasons you became overweight in the first place.
- Get moving get off the lounge. Include some sort of exercise daily start of slowly by walking only 5-10 minutes and increase the time over the coming weeks.
- By including exercise in your daily routine it will reduce your weight and to keep your range of motion. There has never been a truer saying “if you don’t use it you will lose it!”
Jim today has been given a new lease on life, he no longer watches life from the sidelines he is living it! With the 30 kilo weight loss this has given him more energy and he is now back to playing the game of golf he loved and was missing out on when he was too overweight to walk the greens. He says if he knew how good he would feel with the weight off he would of tried harder to lose weight sooner.
And the best news is the last check up with his doctor he was thrilled with the 30-kilo loss and this meant that his blood pressure when tested was back in a healthy range so much so that the medication for his type 2 diabetes has been decreased.
Living with Diabetes Type 2 is easy if you monitor blood glucose levels, keep your weight down and follow your doctor’s instructions.