I return to San Diego once a year to visit friends and get all my medical and dental appointments for the year completed. I push everything into a two-month period so I can venture off to the desert or other warm places for the winter.
This year in early December I had my routine lab work completed. It was one of the last things I needed to finish, and I thought I was good to go. My A1C was high, diabetically high when the lab results were in. Oh no, that is not supposed to happen! After a moment of panic and thinking about dying (very normal for me), I took a deep breath and began to approach this news more gently.
My Internist wanted me to go on a low carbohydrate, no-sugar-added diet and then repeat my labs in three months. I took this on with a vengeance. I cut all refined sugar out of my life and immediately started on a low-carbohydrate diet. I was faithful to this plan. I followed it in Mexico, and I followed it upon my return.
My A1C at the end of February was in the normal range and the vision of having to give myself insulin injections is fading from the foreground of my mind. Whew.
When I discussed the results with the doctor he asked me what I had been doing differently between December 2021 and December of 2022. My reply was that I was eating a lot of refined sugar.
Sugar is a part of all our lives. It is in many foods we eat. It is addicting. I know all this but it tastes good and I ate it anyway. I love chocolate, donuts, cake, cookies, pies, etc. I believe in eating in moderation yet sugar is sugar and it was time to readdress its presence in my life.
Here is what I have experienced since I stopped being influenced by sugar and started on a low-carb lifestyle.
- I am losing weight and I feel really good.
- Vegetables taste different. They are sweeter and yummier. I have always been a big fan of veggies but I believe my tastebuds can taste more now.
- It is fun to experiment with food, so my cooking habits have changed a little.
- I now read labels.
- The American Diabetes Association suggests that you take a nine-inch plate and divide it in half. Half of the plate is vegetables. The other half is divided again, half of which is carbs and the other half meat (if you are a meat eater). I like it when these organizations make my life easier. I don’t have to count carbs or calories.
- Eating is a lifestyle choice not a diet.
Why was this a wake-up call? I turned seventy this past year. I ponder how I plan to live the rest of my life. I want to be one of those ninety-plus people who is still exercising and living life to its fullest. Part of being one of these people is taking care of my aging body. Eating correctly and exercising and challenging my mind is a part of the process of choosing to age in health. Eating sugar and gaining weight are not part of this challenge. That is why one test became a wake-up call.
Will I be faithful to this lifestyle change? I am going to give it my all. It doesn’t mean that I won’t have a sweet from time to time. I am human. I like how I feel and I am motivated so yes I believe I will continue to incorporate this lifestyle change into my daily routine.
Today I am thankful for an important wake-up call.