I recently had a routine checkup and one of my numbers came up in the red zone. The A1C tests the average levels of glucose in the blood over a three month period. A value between 5.7 and 6.4 is considered pre-diabetic. Above 6.4 is diagnosed as diabetic. I am at 6.2.
Diabetes runs in my family, so this number has my attention.
I am not obese. According to the notoriously inaccurate BMI, I am not even overweight, but I carry all of my fat around my stomach, which is the worst place to have it. And though people generally think of me as fit and healthy, the truth is, I have the diet from hell and I haven't done much exercising beyond gardening for about two years now. It think this has finally caught up with me.
My doctor is fond of saying that our genetics do not have to be our destiny, and this is what she told me when we discussed this during my office visit. She thinks that if I lose 10 pounds and start exercising again I can turn it around. So about four weeks ago I changed directions. I re-booted the running and got back on the road bike--both things that I enjoy and that, except for occasional timeouts (that admittedly last longer than they should), are things I've done all of my life.
What I haven't done all of my life is eat a healthy diet, so this has been a radical change for me. I know what a healthy diet is, for the most part, I just haven't been eating one. Even so, as I started to do some research and looking for recipes that would compete with the appeal of bad food, I learned a few surprising things. The most important thing I discovered was that there is an awful lot of really good food out there that is perfectly okay to eat. True, I'm going to have to give up some things and alter the timing of when I eat others, but on the whole, this is not a deprivation diet. I can still have pizza; it just has to be loaded with things that will slow down the digestion of the crust, such as veggies and lean meats.
My doctor said something else to me during that office visit. She said that society generally doesn't offer us much support for changing our diets, but I actually think we have lots of it. We just have to ask.
It is true that everywhere we go in America, there are pies and cookies and cakes being thrust at us. It is awfully hard to say "no" to these things, not just because they are tasty, but because we don't want to hurt someone's feelings. But I believe that if we are up front and say, "Thanks for the offering, but I'm a pre-diabetic (or diabetic)," people will generally understand and not feel slighted if we don't accept the offering. We don't have to make a big deal about it; we just have to be open and gracious.
So I'm off on a new journey. It will be interesting to see where it takes me. It has already started to shake up the recipe box a little.
And now I'm off for my Saturday morning ride. Ciao, bella.