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October 22, 2014
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What a Difference Five Years Can Make


I found some old blood work results from 2002 and was comparing them to my recent results. In 2002 I was a newlywed and had not had gestational diabetes yet. The only inkling I had of any blood sugar problems was a strong family history of type 2 diabetes and a diagnosis of hypoglycemia when I was 19.
My numbers are exponentially better today. Fasting sugar, cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL; you name it. This got me to thinking about my health and lifestyle today versus 5 years ago. I may be 5 years older but I should be feeling 10 years younger!
The biggest change, health-wise; is that I no longer smoke. 27 years of a pack plus a day are history. I have been smoke free for almost 22 months now, this alone would bring up my HDL levels. I remain very proud of this and it continues to remind me that I can change old ingrained habits.
Five years ago, I rarely ate breakfast. If I did, it was generally vending machine, take-out or restaurant. My favorite breakfast treat was a BK Sausage, egg and cheese Croissan'wich . This has 32 grams of fat, including 2.5 grams of trans fats and less than a gram of fiber and I was hungry an hour later. My standard breakfast today (and I eat breakfast EVERY day) has about the same number of calories but 8 grams of fiber, more protein, half as much fat, and no refined carbohydrates. And when I eat an egg today - it looks like an egg, not a folded up piece of re-constituted yellow substance.
I used to go out to lunch every weekday. Usually fast food or a restaurant with BIG portions. I was also a member of the Clean Plate Club. Today, I bring my lunch 4 or more days out of 5. Today, I bring a reduced calorie frozen entree or leftovers from the previous night.
I used to graze all day long at my desk - junk from the vending machine and other food that various departments had for birthdays, meetings, etc. Today I eat 3 meals and a snack and usually stop at that.
Five years ago, I only ate fresh fruit if it came as a garnish on my plate or if I was on a "diet". I put that word in quotes, because I don't diet anymore - now I have a different lifestyle. I usually make my goal of a minimum of 5 fruits and vegetables a day.
We ate a lot of take out or high-sodium, NOT low-cal, frozen foods for dinner also. Today I cook and try to have a healthier menu than what my husband and I grew up on. Convenience foods are hard to avoid in a 2-career family, but luckily there are more healthy choices available today.
I wonder how it's possible that I weigh the same as I did back then when I'm so obviously living much more healthfully. Must be age. And maybe 2 babies. Just think how much worse off I'd be if I was still living that way today. I shudder to think of it!
Never give up hope because you CAN teach an old dog new tricks, and even erase some of the old tricks from memory.

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Megan Holmes
Megan Holmes Megan was diagnosed in 2009 with Type I. As an RN, she was familiar with the medical side of her diagnosis; learning to be a good patient on the other hand, was and continues to be the challenge of her day to day life.   (Read More)
Michelle Kowalski
Michelle Kowalski Michelle Kowalski, a writer, editor and photography hobbiest living in Phoenix, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in February 2005. In January 2008, as part of her quest to start on an insulin pump, Michelle learned that she actually has type 1 diabetes.   (Read More)
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