Being diagnosed with prediabetes wasn’t something that I was prepared for, but I’m learning how to deal with it.
If you’ve been following my blog over the past year, you might know that I’ve been dealing with some health issues for a while now. What started as a trip to the ER on January 1st, 2017 has turned into a more-than-a-year long journey to find out what is happening to my body.
So far, I’ve found out that I’m anemic, I have endometriosis tissue in my lung, I’ve got lumps on my liver that shouldn’t be there and I’m prediabetic. The endometriosis thing wasn’t surprising to me – I’ve had endometriosis since I was 16 and I had read that you can develop tissue in odd places like your lungs. There’s also nothing I can do about it, so that’s not high on my list of things to worry about.
Everything else is pretty concerning though… and as much as I’d like to say “I don’t know how this happened?!”, I kind of do.
In 2016 I was working 7 days a week, trying to balance work from multiple clients while maintaining this blog. Both of my parents had lost their jobs, and I was doing everything I could do bring in as much income as possible. It was one of the most stressful years I’ve had in a while. I was unhappy with some of the work that I was doing, but I felt like I couldn’t give it up because we needed the money. I was so busy ploughing through what I needed to get done, that I was ignoring what my body was telling me.
You know how people say that too much stress can kill you? It turns out that there’s some truth to that. Stress puts a strain on your body, screws up your appetite and messes with your emotions. While short term stress can be motivational, long term stress can have adverse effects on your overall health.
I’ve always been prone to skipping meals, but my eating habits were especially bad in 2016. I was drinking a lot of coffee to stay awake (instead of making sure to get enough sleep), I ate way too much processed food for breakfast and lunch (instead of taking the time to make myself something to eat) and I just didn’t exercise at all (instead of making that a priority). In small doses, these bad habits aren’t a huge deal, but I kept this up from April straight through to December.
In early December I could barely get through an 8-hour shoot day. I’m used to being on my feet for that long, but I was feeling more tired than usual. I was dizzy, I seemed to have a permanent headache, and a dull pain in my abdomen/stomach that I couldn’t quite place. By Christmas, I could barely stay upright without drinking like 3 spoons of Pepto–Bismol. And yet, I still didn’t go to see a doctor or go to the hospital. I figured it was a bug or something, and it would go away.
Then at 5:30am on January 1st, I woke up with searing pain in my left arm, shoulder, neck, jaw, chest and back. Of course, I thought I was having a heart attack, so I finally went to the hospital.
It turned out that my heart was fine, thankfully, but obviously my body was trying to tell me something. Apparently anemia can cause chest pain, so that explained that symptom, but there was a whole lot else going on with my body, and it would take me several months to start getting answers.
So, What is Prediabetes?
Diabetes Canada defines it as:
“… blood glucose (sugar) levels that are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes (i.e. a fasting plasma glucose level of 7.0 mmol/L or higher). “
So basically I don’t have full-blown diabetes yet… but I’m at risk of developing it. Luckily, many prediabetic people are able to control their blood sugar levels through exercise, weight loss and a healthy diet. These are all areas that I struggle with though , so making changes to my lifestyle hasn’t been easy.
My Next Steps…
When I was diagnosed, I thought maybe I should step away from food blogging… There’s a lot of temptation and pressure to eat the “Instagram-worthy” stuff in the food blogging world, and let’s face it, a lot of those foods aren’t exactly healthy.
Also, I’ve been doing this for almost 8 years now, and to be honest I’m ready for a change. I thought that maybe moving away from blogging would help me stick with my healthy eating goals, and maybe it was time to move onto writing about something else.
But then I realized that there must be other people who are also struggling to make these lifestyle changes, and maybe I could do something to motivate myself AND other people. So that’s my game plan right now, and it has a name: #YummyBalancedLife.
As I figure out how to take better care of my mind and body, and find balance in various aspects of my life, I’m going to share it with you. I’ve been doing research on how to manage my blood sugar, and what lifestyle changes I need to make, and I will be sharing this information with you as well.
This is all coming from a place of me not doing a great job of taking care of myself, and figuring things out as I go. I’m not a medical expert, and if you know me IRL you know that self-care isn’t something that I’m great at. But I need to start somewhere, and hopefully I can help someone else out while I’m at it. ????
P.S. This Eat to Beat Diabetes Magazine (see first photo) has been super helpful to me in figuring out how to manage my prediabetes. I bought it a couple of months ago, but it’s still available at some magazine shops (I’m pretty sure I saw it at International News Stand on King St. W. in Toronto). There are also some copies available online. It’s more of a workbook than a magazine, but it’s full of easy to understand tips on how to manage your blood sugar level, if that’s something that you need to do.
Learn more about Prediabetes:
- Diabetes Canada article about Prediabetes
- Mayo Clinic information about Prediabetes
- Public Health Agency of Canada info on Prediabetes
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