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Advocate Answers: What Was the Biggest Change You Made Because of Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes advocates share significant changes they have made because of their type 2 diabetes diagnosis.

Change in thinking

Corinna wears a gold scarf.Corinna: My biggest change is in my thinking. I work at staying focused on what’s ahead of me. I try to see the state of my health as it is currently and being honest with myself about it. This puts me in a position where I can make choices and focus on what I’m doing today instead of constantly looking back at yesterday. Looking to my past is for figuring out how to do something differently (hopefully better) in the future. It’s not about making harsh judgments or reliving mistakes again and again so I can mentally beat myself up.

More exercise

Rachel wears a polka dotted shirt.Rachel: I really disliked gym class as a kid, often feeling awkward and uncoordinated, and struggling to keep my breath during running. As a result, I did not exercise much after college. When I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I began walking regularly and doing yoga two or three times a week. As I did that, I realized the exertion of working out was alleviating pre-existing anxiety and depression symptoms and started increasing intensity from walking and yoga to running and pilates. My most recent obsession is with the rowing machine in my apartment complex gym. Would 13-year-old me, or even 23-year-old me, believe that I would ever run five miles without stopping? Uhhh, no!

Change in diet

Tom wears glasses and a maroon sweater.Thomas: Learning to manage portion control and eating healthier. I’ve started eating more vegetables at home and when going out. I’ve started eating more broccoli and also got talked into eating cauliflower. That took me the longest to do. For some reason I’ve always had it in my mind that it didn’t look like it was going to taste all that good. But once finding that I liked it, I really eat a lot of it. This change in my diet has helped me to keep off a lot of weight that I have managed to lose.

Asking for help

Phyllisa wears a green square neck top and a gold necklace.Phyllisa: ​The biggest change has been to rely on others more than I am comfortable with. Over time, I have gotten used to asking for help and not viewing that as a sign of weakness. When my blood sugar drops and I experience hypoglycemia, I often need the assistance of others to bring me juice or even just wait for my blood sugar to rise.

Weight loss

Shelley wears a turquoise top and a jade beaded necklace.Shelley: The biggest change I made was weight loss to support my diabetes. I was quite overweight, leaning towards obesity when I was diagnosed. I decided then the time was right to do what was needed. I was diagnosed in November 2005. November in Canada means snow has fallen. I started slow. I started walking around the block. My block is 1 km long (0.62 miles). It was cold, I couldn’t breathe but I was determined to do this. When exercise alone didn’t work to reduce my blood glucose, I started to work on my diet. I didn’t want to pay big money for weight loss groups. Instead, I looked for apps to support me. Some were too complicated. I went simple and cheap. It took almost 18 months to 2 years year but I lost 70 lbs. And I kept walking around the block!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.