My employer provides free wellness screenings. I decided to participate again this year in the diabetes screening. As I have mentioned before, I had gestational diabetes with both of my pregnancies. My mom, my two aunts, and my maternal grandmother all have type II diabetes, so I am genetically predisposed. I got the results of my A1c screening, and I was in the pre-diabetes range. I had been making strides in my cardiovascular endurance, but I was not seeing a lot of results. I spoke to one of the personal trainers at work, and he reminded me that it was 80% nutrition and 20% exercise. I gave him the stink eye, but I knew deep down he was right.
After crying on the phone to my mom about my results, I swallowed my pride and signed up for the program through our YMCA: Diabetes Prevention. I thought I knew everything about nutrition. Hadn’t I successfully managed two pregnancies with gestational diabetes? I can hear you all laughing. I realized that I clearly had a lot to learn. I began tracking everything I ate. I hate food tracking with the passion of a thousand suns. I seriously loathe it. Tracking this was crucial to my success, and it is so much easier to use the My Fitness Pal app on my iPhone. When I overeat now, it is because I haven’t tracked my food intake as faithfully.
Our group meets weekly with a registered dietician, and we take classes about nutrition, stress management, and exercise right at work. The program lasts for sixteen weeks, and then we meet monthly on our maintenance plan for a full year. The goal is to lose 7% of your body weight and to have 150 minutes of physical activity per week. These two goals are key indicators that have been show to reduce the risk of type II diabetes. I lost five pounds before the beginning of the program. My goal was to lose 10.5 pounds, and I was .3 pound away from my goal weight with a month to go in the program.
I have found work colleagues who are understanding and supportive. I was able to work through some of my emotional issues regarding my weight and my fitness. I want my girls to think of me as an athlete, not just a mom. As a few fitness leaders say, “If you want to look like an athlete, you have to train like an athlete!” I realized that I alone had the power to change my health and nutrition. I could take charge of my fitness, or I could maintain the status quo and eventually develop type II diabetes. My pancreas does not function well at higher weights as indicated by my gestational diabetes. My physical health is critical to my self-care; I am a better mom, wife and employee.