Before I knew I had type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, I was quite sedentary and ate whatever I liked.
Yes! you name it, junk like McDonald’s, KFC, pizzas and all great tasting desserts. Drank my share of beer and sodas. I didn’t care what it was as long it tasted great.
Before I knew it, I had quite a flabby midsection and also this protruding belly that was hard. I used to tell friends who made fun of me that it was more of muscle ..since it was hard and other fat friends of mine had really flabby bellies.
I thought type 2 diabetes and stuff like metabolic syndrome wouldn’t happen to people like me…or at least only get when I’m older…I was relatively young…I don’t have any history of health problems…the only disgusting habit I had, was that I smoked.
So when I was told I was a type 2 diabetic and also had metabolic syndrome i was shocked to say the least. I mean why me? There are many others who fit the bill…and I’m not even 30 years old…
I really felt lost, confused, of course ,I was sad and bitter but at that point in time it was about survival. I believe our global medical and healthcare systems rather work on fear than anything positive.
On the day of diagnosis, I was told I WILL suffer from diabetic complications like feet sores, ulcers, blindness, judging from my elevated blood pressure…the doctor and nurse also warned me about my kidney failing and stroke. Also, my high cholesterol would block my arteries doubling the possibility of having stroke and also a heart attack! There were others…stuff that I wasn’t ready to listen as a 29 year old – erectile dysfunction.
I felt like shit. I cried on the way back from the hospital. I mean why me, what did I do to deserve all these. The next one week I didn’t go to work. I just moped and sulked …the whole week.
Then out of boredom, I just googled…Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome…yup I found a hell lot of nonsense and academic talk that would put anyone to sleep. But I was determined, I needed to get through this!
In between taking insulin shots, taking medication and even getting low blood sugar for the first time. I felt like I was going against the world…there was so much information and many were contradicting each other. I found some literature about curing diabetes and test and tried whatever it to say (not a good advice).
So I went and bought a glucose meter and prick my fingers to find out what was my blood sugar like. I think my A1c then were like 10-11+% and fasting blood sugar could be as low as 3.6 (65) or as high as 13.8 (249).
I began to read and research what drives my blood sugar, things were alien to me…I was in finance and this was all biochemistry, nutrition science. But I had to get this done with. Hours became days, days become weeks and months.
I spent almost every single leisure time I had, reading about blood sugar, insulin, visceral fat and stuff that I never thought I would know in a lifetime.
I tested many things I read on the internet. Some worked very well till today, some were as good as snake oil. I tried diets after diets. Most didn’t work for me.
After a while, I started seeing patterns and what seemed to work consistently. Of course, there were always frustrations. Like that time, when I found out I couldn’t eat potatoes and had to substitute it with sweet potatoes. Guess what, sweet potatoes spiked my blood sugars to 190. And I thought it was diabetic friendly…
Anyways, I became more aware of what I eat and could even guess what will happen to my blood sugar postmeal. I guess I owe this to the countless times of pricking my fingers…I was obsessed. At one time I even pricked 20 times in a day. And I would graph it out. Like a geek!
I could see a bigger picture after a while. Lost some pounds along the way and A1c and blood sugars were more consistent. I started to cut down on medications and even weaned off insulin. Eventually, I got to wean off all medications.
I saw the connection and bigger picture on getting good eating habits, what nutrition actually mean, physical activities , different types of exercise workouts , listening and getting to know my body better.
What if I didn’t know?
So till this day, if I didn’t attend that pre-employment checkup, I would not have known the time bomb in my body was already ticking.
I could have burned out my pancreas and needed to depend on insulin for life. I might have damaged my liver or kidneys or perhaps have leg pain from the neuropathy.
What’s worse, I might just continue living as if nothing happened and went on with eating garbage, not exercising and on just one day, I might collapse and get a heart attack as a result of complications of type 2 diabetes
Counting my blessings
Looking back the last 5 years, I wouldn’t know how it would be if I wasn’t for that day I learnt I was a type 2 diabetic.
But this is what it has gotten me
- At 35 years old, I feel even more energetic than my 20s (describe)
- I am at the fittest time of my life, thanks the all the workouts and good eating habits I’ve cultivated in the last 5 years
- I no longer feel sleepy after meals
- I don’t feel like a zombie waking up in the morning
- Have to lethargic. Energy levels really constant through out the day
I’ve learnt a great deal about nutrition, how our body’s metabolism works, exercise, recovery, how to cook , how medication works and most importantly how to live life to the fullest with type 2 diabetes.
Its funny how friends or new acquaintances who feel sorry about my condition,…I actually tell them I am blessed to have to deal with this early on. Its not like type 2 diabetes is the best thing that happened in my life but rather in spite of it I am having the best time of my life.
So if you or your loved one has been just diagnosed with type2 diabetes or suspects they have high blood sugar or prediabetes, you can do something about it now.
Whatever it is, you can start now to reverse the condition. It’s just a matter of taking that action. Take baby steps. Go for a walk, hit the gym or learn about basic nutrition. Battling type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome is about knowing how to fuel the right nutrition into your body . I guarantee you’ll not regret it. It will be fun. Take it as a new challenge, remember how you got off your training wheels when you first learnt to ride a bike.
In no time, you’ll look back and smile to yourself that this simple step is probably the best decision you’ll make.
By the way, I’ll share many learned experiences and tips that really work for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome in my email newsletter here. Just sign up and I’ll get in touch with you.