Sunday, August 28, 2016


by Karen 

It has been almost 6 weeks since I received my diabetic diagnosis.  During all this time I have had to make some radical changes to my life.  The most radical was actually implementing an exercise programme and sticking to it.  

Each time you have to make life changing decisions folks always say to you, exercise, eat right, etc.  All the usual buzz words.  They never really tell you how to go about doing it.  No one really suggests how do I change the habits of a lifetime?  How do I start doing something that I have not actually done, especially for a long time. 

When I was young I was pretty athletic. I played hockey.  I played netball, football and I swam.  As I got older the only sport that I really kept up with was netball and even that fell by the wayside after awhile.  Life, as we all know gets in the way of things.  And so, as soon as I got this diagnosis, the first thing my doctor says to me is that I need to do 30-45 minutes of exercise each day.  I say to myself, that is easy, I can do that. 

I leave the doctor's office and I start thinking about exercise programmes.  I hate the gym.  I mean I am overweight.  I have no gym clothes.  I am seriously uncoordinated and I really can't afford a personal trainer. What do I do?  Just thinking about what to do is exhausting and it is demoralising. 

In my situation, the first thing I did was go to the internet.  No help.  Then I remembered that years ago I used to do a step aerobic activity to a video by Reebok.  I thought to myself I could possibly do that.  I thought about how I would watch the video and perform the steps.  This is when technology comes into play. 

With my 55 inch Samsung SmartTV (that I bought so I could enjoy watching tennis), I found the video on YouTube and I started working out.  It was hard.  I was not motivated.  I had no company and after 10 minutes I felt as if I was going to die, but I stuck with it.  As the days wore on and I did better and better and started going longer and longer I realised that I could be my sole motivator. 

I realised however that despite my best efforts I really wasn't doing as well as I wanted to do and so this is where a friend comes in.  When you are diagnosed with a progressive illness like diabetes it is so important to have a friend close by with whom you can talk.  It is also important to find someone who is in the same income bracket and who has the same challenges as you do.  I call it shared experiences.  It makes no sense that you are impecunious and you are discussing your income deficiencies with someone who is earning 10x what you are earning.  They won't get it. 

And so I have enlisted a friend from my office. We have the same challenges.  We have the same goals and we have the same struggles.  And so I have started an exercise programme with my colleague.  Rather than coming home and pretending to exercise, I now exercise with a friend who encourages me and who I encourage.  

Now instead of 10 or 15 minutes of struggle step aerobics, I now do upwards of 2.5K of power walking.  I burn on average 250-300 calories per day.  On Saturdays when we do not see each other, I put on my exercise gear and I walk to the Farmers Market where I pick up my week's supply of really good carbs, vegetables and fruits for the coming week and walk back home.  The first time I did that walk it took me 45 minutes.  This last weekend I did it in 30 minutes.  The Farmer's Market is quite a good distance from where I live but it is one of the highlights of my week. 

My next post will be about food choices and the really horrible blood glucose testing.


  1. I was diagnosed with diabetes in 2009. the best thing do if you don't like exercise is to walk. The other thing is to totally change your eating habits and diet. Every diabetic is different so the change in diet depends on what you like, don't like and how often you can eat a day. Most standard literature recommends several small meals throughout the day. I couldn't do that so I kept at it until I found a way to get my nutrition and keep my AIC and glucose levels within reason. A diet heavy in starch and sugar (CARBS) is hard. It's also hard to break especially if that is your cultural norm. (Wink, wink) Yes it's depressing. Yes there will be days where you just can't and friends and family will think you're just being lazy. It's a learning process until you get your levels under control and normal again. I was going to recommend the paperback "Choose Your Foods: Exchange Lists for Diabetics" but all of a sudden it's very, very expensive! It's good because it includes things like plaintain, cassava, and other non traditional Western food.

    1. Hi Savannah. Thanks for the input. The first few weeks were really hard and I will see if I can find that book on Amazon because there is a dearth of recipes for folks of Caribbean descent. I am currently doing pretty good but I want to get to the point where I possibly don't have to take medication.

  2. Hi I was diagnosed about10 yrs ago. I understand the adjustments you need to make. On the up side , you do end up improving your health with the change in diet and exercise. Be encouraged its doable

    1. Thanks Charlene. Knowing that there are so many people out there who have this illness and who are struggling like me but who also have been diagnosed for many years and are coping gives me a lot of hope.

  3. Hi I was diagnosed about10 yrs ago. I understand the adjustments you need to make. On the up side , you do end up improving your health with the change in diet and exercise. Be encouraged its doable