This quote greeted me from my Facebook Newsfeed this morning. Good timing, Chess! Thanks for the reminder.
I am starting Week 7 of my projected six month weight loss regimen which is really Week 7 of my journey toward better health. I rarely talk about my weight because, frankly, many people are larger than I am and I don’t want to be insensitive, but hear this. Most are neither teetering on the edge of diabetes nor are their cholesterol levels in the same danger zone mine are. Therein lies the difference. Mine is apparently a very narrow window of acceptable weight gain before bad things start to happen.
I spent a few weeks of my last pregnancy experiencing the tip of the iceberg in the life of a diabetic -long enough to know I didn’t want to live that way if I had any say-so in it. They said I had an 80% chance of developing the full-blown disease within ten years, and I’ve managed to stave that off more than a quarter of a century, but those blood sugar numbers have been creeping up in the last few years right along with those numbers on the scale. Coincidence? I think not. You know that rule “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten”? Let me interject here that middle age changes that rule when it comes to eating, drinking, exercise and weight, and somewhere along the line I guess I forgot how much I didn’t want to live the life of a diabetic.
As my mid-50s inched toward 60 and I stopped coloring my hair, fully embracing my gray-ness, I said I would enter my grandmotherly years as either gray and thin or pudgy and dark, but not pudgy and gray. I thought my visual of being a squishy, blue-haired MawMaw would be enough to spur me into action. I guess not.
A while back my doctor wrote a prescription for me to see a dietitian. Because I have Meniere’s Disease, I have to eat VERY low sodium. I also have more food allergies than the average bear. These limit my ability to participate effectively in most diet programs. I found that coffee-stained prescription under the seat of the car about a year later. I told myself that I must want to be overweight more than I want to do anything about it.
So, what changed things for me that I can now say I am in Week 7?
My most recent lab work showed an unacceptably high sugar level – I’ve seen that before, but my eyes almost bulged out when I saw my HDL level (For you youngsters, that’s the good cholesterol that snags up the bad and carries it away from your arteries). Depending on which site you look at, the low end of normal for my age is either 48 or 50. Anything below that is synonymous with things that I don’t want to face, given an option. Mine was 24. Yep, 24. Twenty-four is a great number for many things. Hours in a day. A day in December. Karats of gold. NOT for HDL, though, and weight loss and exercise are my only two options for raising that number. That got my attention.
You see, my kiddos have plans for me. They want a large family and have decided that all four grandparents will go with them to Disney World to help with crowd control when the time comes. I want to be there for that. They want us to take turns in the summer having them come for a stay so they can run freely around the ranch, play in the woods or in the pond, gather eggs from the chickens, feed the animals. I want to be there to experience that and to make memories for them. I want to be there to photograph it!
So it was in the end, a gaggle of children I’ve not met yet that changed my mindset. I am happy to report that I am now working with a dietitian I just adore (Thanks, Penny, for randomly walking onto my ranch one day for a fiber workshop and unknowingly reminding me that I don’t believe in coincidences! When you woke up that Saturday morning, you had no idea what a gift you would be to someone that day, did you?). I will diet and exercise and do all I can do to prevent this foul number from causing me to live with diabetes, strokes, coronary artery disease, dementia, or any of the other vile things that result from it. For them- and more particularly for my life with them – I refuse to be anything less than successful.