You CAN Live Healthier

on

 

Every Day is a new start

At times we may feel discouraged. Thoughts like: “There is no way I can do this!” “I’ll never be ______ (fill in the blanks)” –> that thin… that healthy… that smart… that pretty… that happy… that… …Yes, you know what I mean.

But those thoughts are in your mind. They are negative and lead to nothing. And most importantly: they do NOT need to be reality.

Remember:

Every day is a new start and it is up to you what you make of it.

When diagnosed with Diabetes my husband said, “I’ll never eat _______ again” (Yep, that sentence!)  And trust me, the list was long: cake, pie, candy, ice cream, meat loaf, mashed potatoes…. The list went on and on. But when we started researching and began traveling what I call the “diabetic journey,” we realized we’d been wrong. We actually found new, fun and exciting ways to cook and I began to re-create his old favorites – just in a healthier way.

Changing to a healthier lifestyle has had many benefits:

  • His blood sugar has dropped into an acceptable range
  • With the healthier way of eating, together we have lost 50 pounds so far.
  • We are feeling healthier, happier, and have tons more energy.
  • This new way of creating meals and treats has become a fun way to spend time.

A few month ago, after a long winter, I was sorting through clothes and packed many away thinking, “I’ll never be_________” <– See, there is that sentence again… I thought “I’ll never be that skinny again.” And here I am back into my skinny clothes! Yay!

To me it is amazing that I do not feel deprived, nor do I feel hungry – ever! We do not count calories, and don’t eat like birds. Meals have lots of flavor and are plentiful and they have become an adventure, with interesting discoveries every day. It is exciting to experiment with new foods and try new recipes.

At a recent physical, the doctor said “Diabetes — it is life-changing.”  It sounded daunting at the time. And looking back, yes, of course the doctor was completely right. It is life-changing but with the right attitude, we can look at these changes and try to see the positive.

So, what did we do to to make these changes?

  • We took one step at a time.

  • And we changed 3 main things:

    • No Sugar

    • Low or no carbs

    • Exercise

That is it!

 

No Sugar

I know that sounds daunting if you think about it first. But no sugar does not mean ‘no sweets” or “no treats.”

My first step was to clean out the pantry so there would be no temptation in the house. I gave away all white and brown processed sugars, all processed food, all junk food and snacks.

At the same time I experimented with natural sugar replacements: Stevia, Agave, Splenda and most recently Erythritol.  I use all of them in different recipes. I would advise you to try a variety of sugar substitues and see which ones you like best.

Erythritol has been amazing. It has no aftertaste and allows us to enjoy “Southern Sweet Tea” again. Yay!

 

Low Carb

Generally think “No White.” It is a little more complex than that but “no white” is a simple but great guideline.

I sorted through the pantry and eliminated white flour, white bread, white rolls, cookies made with white flour, white rice, pasta and potatoes.

But that does not mean there is never bread or pasta. I have found other, healthier ways to incorporate slow-burning carbs back into our diet –  in small quantities.

Instead of white bread, we eat whole grain, preferably rye sourdough bread, which is better for diabetics. I have learned to make my own sourdough and I bake our artisan sourdough bread from scratch. (That way I always know what is in it.)

Also we have re-introduced different starchy vegetables but we enjoy them in smaller portions. But we eat LOTS of vegetables that are lower on the glycemic index.

Over time I have introduced new recipes made with healthier whole grains, nuts, legumes, various protein foods (like fish), fresh fruit and lots of vegetables.

Important: Testing your blood is important when you have diabetes. I encourage testing often enough for you to learn how your body reacts to a particular food. I try not to introduce too many new things at once to our diet. This way if we noticed that blood sugar is higher than normal, we investigate what we ate, find the culprit and quickly eliminate it from the diet (at least for a time.)

It has been an adventure and we try to take one day at a time, remembering that even if we fail:     Every Day is a New Start 

Exercise

We started slowly with just walking in order to get into a routine. We walked every day for at least 30 minutes and then increased in increments over time.

Ankles and feet in tennis shoes grey/white/teal with text "Start with just one step"
Becoming active starts with one step. You can do it.

Why did we start slow?

Have you ever had the following thought or made this New Year’s resolution?

“I will get fit and lose weight.”

You are determined and in an effort to get a good start you exercise –  maybe you take a run after you have not done so in years or go to the gym to lift weights. You are totally committed. The next day you wake up and every move is painful. Oh dear! So now you are sore and you do not move much for a few days. There goes the routine!  Sounds familiar?

Trust me when I say that the old adage “Slow but steady wins the race” is not far from the truth. Regular exercise is the key. Even if it is just a few minutes to start, it is better than nothing. A routine is crucial.

One thing that I have found that works great is to have an exercise buddy. It is one of the greatest aids in sticking to a goal.  Tell someone you trust that you will exercise and what your goal is and ask the person to hold you to it. Sometimes your buddy makes a commitment to exercise with you, which is awesome. But even if your buddy can only be there for you verbally, the encouragement you gain is extremely valuable. A buddy can help you stay on track in your effort to live healthier. The social interaction and encouragement will go a long way.

One idea:

Post on your social media site, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (Local Trash to Treasure Pages are great) that you are looking for people to join a walking group. It may surprise you how many people out there are looking for a little encouragement from others. A word of caution though: Make sure you know those you walk with personally and if someone else wishes to join you, make sure you are not alone until you know this person well. You can never be too careful.

Enjoy your walk and send me an email and tell me of your progress. I would love to hear from you.

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