In Which We Go Down a Slippery Slope
But that might not be a bad thing.
By Kathryn Foss
Editor's Note: While this columnist is no longer writing for dLife.com and we have ceased to update the information contained herein, there is much to be read here that is still applicable to the lives of people with diabetes. If you wish to act on anything you learn here, be sure to consult your doctor first. Please enjoy the column!
October 2010 — I remember my mom used to say that to me whenever I got dangerously close to getting into trouble. "You're heading down a slippery slope, Kathryn." That, of course, meant that if I continued down said slope, there would be consequences, and as a child of the 80's that probably meant being grounded from watching the Smurfs or having my Duran Duran records taken away.
As I was on the subway heading to work the other day, I was thinking about this past year and the efforts I have made in tackling my diabetes. There were a few fad diets thrown in at the beginning of the year, but since about March, I have determined to change my life through diet and exercise. For me that has meant more whole foods and more going to the gym.
As I sat on the train, I was thinking about all of this and caught myself thinking ‘this is a slippery slope', which was a bit odd, seeing as that phrase was always used in conjunction with bad behavior. The more I thought about it, though, I realized that it really was a great way to describe this journey. For me, in this situation, the whole slippery slope thing is not about bad behavior, but rather how I visualize these last months.
When I close my eyes, I can see myself flailing around trying to walk down this slope of diet and exercise and general overall body improvement. Sometimes the slope is dry and I navigate it like a pro, having weeks where it all comes together. Yet more often than not, that slope is muddy and slippery and I fall and get dirty and slide down on my butt. That is what changing my diet and being consistent at the gym is for me. It's hard work. It sounds crazy, but it really is one of the hardest things I have ever done. For some, it's kicking a drug or alcohol addiction; for me, it's food and not being lazy. The effort to get to the gym can be extreme. Sometimes I truly have to FORCE myself to go, kicking and screaming. I just do not want to go. I've yet to work out and regret going afterwards; but without fail, the times Lazy Kathryn wins out, I always regret it.
I started with spinning. I had always heard about it, yet had never gone to a class. It was like an epiphany. The first class I went to, I couldn't believe it. There were several times where I thought there was no way I could finish it, but when I did, I wept. Yes. You read that right. I wept, right there on my bike, in public, surrounded by several baffled fellow spinners. It was such a rush of emotion. In that moment I felt so strong and so empowered. After years of neglecting my body, it was still capable of doing something like that high intensity class! I was in awe--not of myself, but of my body!
It was the beginning of a newfound relationship with my body. It's a powerful thing once you finally realize what you are capable of. It is so freeing and 6 months into it, I'm still on track! It feels quite miraculous. Since January I've lost about 15 pounds! I've probably regained the same 5 a few times over and over again, but the point is, after every setback, I always pick myself up off the slippery slope and keep on with the journey.
The unknown is whether or not I will be able to reverse the symptoms of type 2 diabetes. After 15 pounds, I'm still taking about 2000mg of metformin a day. My fasting numbers are dropping, but they are still in the full blown diabetes range. My last A1c was 6.2. Of course my hope is once I reach my ideal weight, diabetes, like the extra pounds, will be a distant memory. Regardless, at the end of this journey, diabetic or not, I will be a stronger, healthier me, and that in itself is a powerful thing.
Read more of Kathryn Foss' columns here.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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