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Results are in: I'm no longer diabetic!

Saturday, June 04, 2016

I started with Spark people the day after I found out I was diabetic. That was, well, forgive my precision here, 99 days ago. I wasn't scarily diabetic, the cutoff for the A1C test says anything over 6.5 is diabetic, and I was 6.7. Of course I had no idea what that meant, so I spent a lot of time looking stuff up on reputable sites, like Web MD, Mayo clinic, etc. It was one of those sites that had an off hand remark about Spark People and set me on the path.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, and I'd learned that it isn't just sugar that gives you diabetes, what carbs actually were, I was getting a handle on eating better, starting to get the hang of tracking food, and had just started exercising. Everything rosy, right? Wrong! everything still seemed so hard! I wanted 'the bad stuff' all the time, exercise hurt, and not just the good-for-you sore muscle hurt, it was the kick the arthritis into high gear kind of hurt. I moved like a little old lady. A large little old lady. By then I had a Spark friend who understood my pain, but wouldn't let me fall into the trap of accepting that things would always be this way. She and everyone else on Spark people kept me going through the worst times, and are still very important in better times.

Fast forward another couple of weeks, and I was much better about not wanting 'bad stuff' all the time--luckily I had decided that NOTHING was to be off limits. If I wanted cake, really wanted cake, I could have cake. Well it only takes a few indulgences to see that cake (or whatever else sounds good) can really mess with your daily numbers for calories and carbs. I was learning.

One thing I wasn't learning fast enough was that with my tendency to push myself, plus being goal oriented and working towards what I now realize were unrealistic exercise numbers, I was sabotaging all my efforts. Workouts were a burdensome chore that I had to force myself to do. Every time I sat down or even stood still I stiffened up and walked and moved (and hurt) like that little old lady. Luckily I have been working on my perfectionist tendencies for years, and I started to figure things out. One of the challenges suggested upping the intensity, I nodded eagerly, yes, we all have this tendency to keep walking at the same pace rather than picking it up a little. Then it proceeded to describe how you feel when you're working out at the right intensity. Surprisingly, gasping for breath isn't at the right intensity. Oh. I needed to 'down' the intensity rather than up it.

I got that straightened out and got over my disappointment that I wasn't going to be walking at 3.5 miles per hour anytime soon. Lo and behold, I didn't dread workouts, I quit hobbling around, and actually started to feel better than I have in years. I felt healthier, and I was getting more done--and gee, it only took two and a half months to figure it out! Plus I had lost enough weight that I was seeing non scale victories when people I hadn't seen in a while started commenting, and my clothes fell off of me. Sometimes literally.

With renewed determination to get off the diabetes meds, I marched into my doctor's appointment with confidence. I'd lost (by my scale) 24 pounds, which was more than the 10% she said I could get off the meds with, and I knew I was now doing things right (mostly). Sure, I know I'm going to mess up again, but I'll deal with that when it happens. "Tell me how you lost 25 pounds" was her greeting. She absolutely grilled me on all kinds of things. I realized that she'd half expected some starvation diet, and having used the trackers and being annoyingly analytical really paid off when I said that on the days I took vitamins I got all my nutrients except calcium and magnesium, and on my best days I only got close to half what I should. I added that potassium was tough too, I didn't always get the minimum amount. Her eyebrows shot up. The tracker tells you that? Yup. She's clearly impressed with Spark people now. Anything else a problem? Yup, hard to get my protein in, even though cravings almost completely go away when I get enough.

So I was off the meds, even without another A1C test. She did order the test though, and she sent a nice, congratulatory letter with the numbers when the lab work came back. Upshot? I now test as pre-diabetic--not diabetic. You're not actually supposed to say cured (and I agree, this is MANAGED, not cured) but I feel as triumphant as if I were cured! Talk about a non scale victory, this is better than being down 24 pounds!

Now, an A1C of 5.7 or lower is "normal" not pre-diabetic. What will it take to get there?
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