What I Have Learned from Type 2 Diabetes
I have type 2 diabetes. When I think of what that means, my mind goes to the bad stuff. Why those things come to mind first...who knows. Perhaps because it’s easy to go to the negative.
In my case though, there have been a number of positives. These positives are huge in terms of what I have learned. I’m not being a ‘PollyAnna.’ I wouldn’t wish this sucky disease on anyone but if I only sit in the dark, then I never see the light. And there is a lot of light to see. Here are some of those positive lessons learned that diabetes has taught me:
Positive lessons from type 2 diabetes
- I have learned a lot about food and eating. I always knew which foods were healthy and which were not but I never really paid much attention to the nutritional value prior to diagnosis. I learned a lot from registered dietitians over the years. I didn’t always agree with them if they were too rigid in their thinking but I have met many who were gold. The ‘gold’ ones not only have the knowledge, they can help me apply it to MY life. From my family doctor who had an extensive knowledge of nutrition, I also learned some practical, everyday, useful information that is applicable too.
- I have learned a lot about my mind. I spent a lot of time ‘stress eating.’ I wasn’t aware that was how I dealt with stress. When my stress level was high, I lived on the ‘see food diet.’ Have you ever heard that expression? “I see food, I eat food.” Not the best way to live. I knew there were times, many times, when my eating was out of control. I emphasize ‘eat’ because to be honest, it was more like scarfing down food. Anything I could see was fair game. This sure packed on my weight too. I had to find new ways to deal with my stress. And I did. See all the other points below.
- I have learned a lot about exercise. I have mentioned this before in other posts but I can’t emphasize this enough. I wasn’t brought up to value activity. Oh, I played outside, I ran around, played hide-and-go-seek when I was young. I played recreational baseball in my early twenties a couple times a week. My thirties and early forties didn’t follow the earlier patterns of exercise. Then I found walking after diagnosis in my late forties. I love it because it doesn’t feel like exercise but it is. It’s good exercise. And it helped tremendously with my weight loss goals.
- I have learned a lot about my body. It took me a few years after diagnosis to realize I had never really known the signs of hunger. Let that sink in for just a moment. I never knew when I was hungry because I ate all the time. I ate to the point of making myself feel awful from being overstuffed. I always had a reason/excuse for it being ok too. I ate by the clock, and for stress, and for any other reason I could find. I know what hunger signs are now. My body tells me and I can identify it. I know talking about medication is not everyone's cup of tea but if I’m being honest, these true hunger signs came to light when I was prescribed diabetes meds that worked for me.
- I have learned a lot about myself. I was so consumed by food and eating that it kinda became my hobby. Type 2 diabetes helped me to drop the unhealthy eating hobby. I had capacity I never knew I had to do other things. I discovered I am a creative person. I got a few real hobbies. I make cards, greeting cards. I make other crafty things. I love photography. I take pretty good pictures. I found energy I never knew I had. I go for a walk almost everyday. I feel good about myself. I value me now.
Diabetes sucks, we all know that. Maybe by looking for the light, it won’t seem so dark. I hope you can find the positives within your diabetes journey. If you look hard enough, I bet you can find some pretty major ones.
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