Diabetes Blogs

Make This Your Year

tofu on blue plateTofu makes my taste buds happy; my husband...not so much! For the sake of adding variety to my diet, I make him something else for dinner when I want tofu!

As we head into the holiday season, I’m 16 pounds lighter than I weighed last year. My primary doctor and endocrinologist are thrilled (as am I). It’s taken a year of careful counting of carbs and calories, giving up meat and chicken, upping my resistance level on my stationary bike and lifting heavier weights in my body strength class. Although it’s something that I’ve been trying to accomplish since my first son was born (he’s now 33!), I’d never been able to do it before.

Which should give everyone who has a diet resolution lingering on their New Year’s list some hope. 

While I never appeared overweight thanks to regular exercise (and strategic dressing) I teetered on the cusp of an overweight BMI. And though I tried every new diet—from cabbage soup to Weight Watchers to keto—I never succeeded in losing weight. If you’ve been locked in the same struggle, here are a few things I learned along the way:       

  1. Stop trying to stick to someone else’s plan. I know this might seem counterintuitive, but all those popular diets  didn’t work for me, or if they worked, they worked only for a short time. This time I made my own rules (that I was free to change).
  2. Figure out what will make your stomach and taste buds happy. I happen to like extra firm tofu (I know!). But I rarely ate it because my husband wasn't a fan  and we always ate the same things for dinner. Sometime this year I realized that was nuts, and started making two different dinners. It wasn’t that hard—this week I made a big pot of minestrone soup with pasta for him and veggie stir fry with tofu for me. 
  3. Increase your exercise, even if it’s a little bit. I’ve been exercising on a stationary bike for ages, usually at a resistance of 11 or 12. It didn’t really exert me, because I have  strong quad and glute muscles, but hey, it was exercise. This year, I started adding minutes at a resistance of 13, then 14, then 15, until I could pedal for an hour at a resistance of 16. I didn’t believe I could do it, but gradually building to that goal made all the difference.  
  4. Consider going vegetarian or pescatarian. There are lots of good reasons to give up meat and chicken. It’s good for the environment and will help your  your lipids and cholesterol. My cholesterol  dipped dramatically six months after I restricted my protein to fish, egg whites, beans, tofu and meatless substitutes. A vegan or vegetarian diet is also excellent for people with diabetes. 
  5. Pick a cheat food. Dried fruit has a lot of sugar, but I like it, so I added a few pieces of dried apricots, raisins, or dried cherries on occasion  to my breakfast  oatmeal or snacks. Eating it in limited portions, it didn’t impact my blood sugars. Of course, everyone is different, so if that doesn’t work, maybe sugarless chocolate or nuts or a teaspoon or two of peanut butter can get you through times when you’re bored or prowling the pantry. 

Losing weight, if you need to, probably is the best thing you can do for your diabetes and your heart. Even losing 10% of your current weight can make a huge difference. Here’s wishing you luck!

 

 

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