I am writing this blog to document my journey to health and hopefully the prevention of diabetes. Since I discovered less than a week ago that I must start making immediate changes to help avoid what my family history has left me, this blog will document every step.
Currently I am 21 years old, roughly 230 pounds (carried evenly over my body), 5'7" and vegetarian. Diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and heart attacks are very common in my family. I have always had trouble with my weight, and even when actively making an effort to lose weight I have had very little success controlling my weight. I am fairly active, although I could move a lot more.
This issue came up from a trip to the student health clinic on campus for a UTI. The doctor noticed a slight yellow/light brown discoloration around my neck (acanthosis nigricans). She asked if I usually had very heavy, painful periods. Yes, before going on BC. Did I have a family history of diabetes. Yes. Did I have trouble with my weight. Yes. Did I notice that I sometimes get very tired and "crash" after eating. Yes. She told me that I have pre-diabetes, and unless I take steps to correct it, I could be looking at Type 2 diabetes in a few years. She recommended the South Beach Diet, exercising 30 minutes a day, and trying Metformin to help my body absorb insulin.
At this point I have not been tested for diabetes. I will be going to another doctor early this week for testing and to find out where I should go from here. From doing some research on the internet, I have come up with this approach that will be fine tuned after my doctor's appointment:
Eat a whole foods vegan diet. Currently I eat no meat, very little fish (once a month maybe), no eggs, and very little dairy. I plan on replacing all my grains, breads, and pastas with whole grain alternatives and work harder at getting in more fiber, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and to cut all milk and cheese from my diet. I hope to still be able to eat sweets occasionally, but I will be cutting the majority of them out of my everyday diet.
Exercise 30 minutes a day. Starting next week, I will make a effort to bike or row 30 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and do weight training with my boyfriend on Tuesday and Thursdays. I will also start doing yoga for 15-20 minutes everyday.
This blog. Hopefully by documenting my progress and having support from others, I can stay on track and live a much healthier and more active life. I also hope it can help others who are going through similar situations or who are hoping to use a vegetarian/vegan diet to manage their diabetes.
The photo was taken out of my back window in Arcata.