Before I get into it, I’d like to preface this post by saying:
I am not a doctor.
I am not a medical practitioner of any kind.
I am not giving medical advice.
I am simply sharing MY experience.
If some of this resonates with you, perhaps you’d like to consider speaking with a professional medical advisor.
I was due for a health check-up in 2020 but due to COVID, that was a no-go, so a few months back my doctor give me a request form to get some blood work done . Since I hadn’t yet received any COVID vaccinations at that point, I put off going to the lab. I finally went a few weeks ago.
Around the same time, I had also gone for a mammogram, as I was a year overdue for that too.
Prior to leaving the hospital (where the mammogram was done), they advised me that “if anything unusual” came up on the mammogram, my doctor’s office would give me a call.
Prior to getting the mammogram, I was asked if I had put on deodorant that day and I said “Yes“, then she asked me if it had aluminum in it.
Normally I always check ingredients, whether it’s something I will consume orally or whether it’s something my skin will consume….but I hadn’t checked my antiperspirant, so I answered, “I don’t know.”
She asked me when I’d had my first vaccine shot, I said “May 20th“.
She then said that my mammogram results may come up with an “unusual” result because both aluminum in deodorant/antiperspirant AND COVID vaccines (which affect our lymph nodes) could cause an unusual result on the mammogram.
When I got home, I checked my antiperspirant and sure enough, it DID have aluminum, so I pitched it into the garbage bin (and ordered some natural deodorant from Habitat Botanicals https://habitatbotanicals.com)
So when I got the call from my doctor’s office, I was expecting news about the mammogram.
Instead, I was told that my bloodwork shows that I have high cholesterol and am pre-diabetic.
My jaw dropped.
WHAT!?!?! How can that be? So of course, what do I do? Like most people, I turned to Google.
Again, I am NOT a medical professional and I do NOT recommend turning to Google to get medical advice….but I DID turn to Google because nobody in my family has ever had high cholesterol or been pre-diabetic or diabetic, so I knew nothing really about either of those issues. I just needed a bit more info.
As far as my “high cholesterol” advisement….I’m not going to concern myself with that because the risk factors don’t apply to me….but I’ll share them here as they might apply to you.
Factors that can increase your risk of high cholesterol include:
- Poor diet. Eating saturated fat, found in animal products, and trans fats, found in some commercially baked cookies and crackers and microwave popcorn. Foods that are high in cholesterol, such as red meat and full-fat dairy products, will also increase your cholesterol.
- Obesity. Having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater puts you at risk for high cholesterol.
- Lack of exercise.
- Smoking. Cigarette smoking damages the walls of your blood vessels, making them more prone to accumulate fatty deposits. Smoking might also lower your level of HDL, or “good,” cholesterol.
- Age. Because your body’s chemistry changes as you age, your risk of high cholesterol climbs. For instance, as you age, your liver becomes less able to remove LDL cholesterol.
- Diabetes. High blood sugar contributes to higher levels of a dangerous cholesterol called very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) and lower HDL cholesterol. High blood sugar also damages the lining of your arteries.
Ok, so let’s get into it….5 Things I’ve Learned About Being Pre-Diabetic (you may think it doesn’t apply to you, but it probably does)…..
The difference between Type 2 Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes.
I first had to learn about our digestive system, which includes the pancreas. Prior to taking the class on pre-diabetes, I didn’t know what the function of the pancreas is. If you also don’t know……
The pancreas is an organ located in the abdomen. It plays an essential role in converting the food we eat into fuel for the body’s cells.
During digestion, your pancreas makes pancreatic juices called enzymes. These enzymes break down sugars, fats, and starches. Your pancreas also helps your digestive system by making hormones.
The most important hormone that the pancreas produces is insulin.
With Type 2, the body has trouble using the insulin it makes, OR, the body does not make enough insulin and blood sugars increase.
With Pre-Diabetes, blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be Type 2; if you have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, making the correct lifestyle changes can put you back in the “normal” range, it does not mean you will get Diabetes
It’s important to do a risk assessment.
If any of these apply to you, you are at risk for developing diabetes.
- I have a parent, brother or sister with diabetes
- I am a member of a high risk group (African, Arab, Asian, Hispanic, Indigenous or South Asian descent)
- I have health complications that are associated with diabetes
- I gave birth to a baby who weighed more than 4 kg (9 lb) at birth
- I had gestational diabetes
- I have been told I have pre-diabetes (impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose)
- I have high cholesterol or other fats in my blood
- I am overweight (carry most of my weight around my middle)
- I have high blood pressure
Healthy eating is a must.
What is healthy eating?
- variety – “eat the rainbow”
- balance and portion control – half of what’s on your plate should be veggies, one quarter meat or meat-alternatives and one quarter grains and starches
- low saturated fat – olive, canola, peanut, and sesame oil
- low sodium – an average adult needs no more than about 1 teaspoon of salt per day (if you’re consuming packaged, boxed, canned, bottled or frozen foods they likely have sodium added; chec the label. Better yet, don’t eat anything with a label or that you’ve seen advertised somewhere).
- high fiber – beans, broccoli, berries, avocados, popcorn, whole grains, apples, dried fruits, potatoes, nuts, to name a few (see more on this below)
- eating regularly – they say we should eat three meals a day, and leave six hours between meals. This doesn’t work for me because my first meal of the day is anywhere between 11:30 am and 3:00 pm; I just don’t have any hunger pangs before then. Also, according to Ayurveda, your heaviest meal should be lunch; dinner should be lighter, so that’s what I follow.
- high quality – I know, most of us are on a budget, so when you’re confronted with spending $2 on a bag of pasta that will make six meals, or one avocado, most people would buy the pasta. But that isn’t the healthy choice. Sure, it’s healthier for your wallet…..but not for your health.
Carbohydrates are required for energy (they fuel your body) and are found mainly in plant foods, grains, fruits, and milk products. At least 50% of the calories consumed each day should come from carbohydrate foods.
Include high fiber foods; they take longer to digest, so you feel full longer. Fiber helps to decrease cholesterol and blood sugars, and keeps bowels regular. Choose whole grains, beans and brown rice; eat whole fruits/vegetables (as opposed to juice, which typically has too much sugar and not enough fiber). Add ground flax seed and psyllium fiber to cereals, muffins, soups and salads.
Know your portion sizes.
I know, speaking for myself, that the portions of food on my plate have been getting bigger and bigger over the years. Which of course has made ME bigger and bigger over the years.
And not just on my plate….but my beverages too. I used to be totally fine with a CUP (that’s right, 250 mL) of coffee in the morning. And my cup (ie the drinking vessel) was actually not much bigger than 250 mL. But then I started getting MUGS. From events I went to. From trips I went on. As gifts.
So I went from consuming 250 mL of coffee, to nearly 400 mL of coffee. But it’s not the coffee itself that’s bad for us. It’s what we put into the coffee….in my case, cream, and honey (I stopped using sugar several years ago).
I’m not about to get rid of my favourite mugs…but what I DO do now, is I only fill to about the 1/3 to 1/2 point.
For non-liquid/food portions……it’s easiest to use the “hand method”.
A portion of vegetables should fit into your two hands.
A portion of fruits/grains/starches is the size of your fist.
A portion of meat is the size of your palm.
A portion of fats is the tip of your thumb.
Awareness is key.
Take focus off the scale and instead ask yourself, “How do I feel?”. The “trick” is to be honest with yourself. How do you REALLY feel?
Truth be told, I got comfortable with being overweight.
Now, when I say, “comfortable”, I don’t mean that I was proud of carrying the extra weight. I have been self-conscious of my waist-line for years now. But I said to myself, “You only live once! I’m not going to NOT eat something because it’s bad for my waistline. If I get hit by a truck today, I don’t want to be on my death-bed regretting not eating _______.”
And yes, that IS true, we only live once. But now I see that I don’t want to live once THIS way, I want to live once feeling great in my body. And by carrying the extra pounds I DON’T really feel great in my body.
We have to be honest with ourselves. NOT hard on ourselves! But honest. Yes, just as “the truth hurts” so does being honest with ourselves, but isn’t your life WORTH the effort? Mine is.
During my morning walks, I’ve been listening to an audio-book by Deepak Chopra, “What Are You Hungry For“. SUCH a great book!
I look forward to these walks just so I can learn more from him! A lot of what he’s narrated in the audio-book has stuck in my head, but this one has stuck with me most: “Eat for hunger not for other reasons.”
Another thing I’ve learned is how important it is to eat slowly. Deepak talks about that in the book too….whether you eat alone, or with others, chew your food really well.
Don’t just shovel food into your mouth (these are my words, not his) and then leave the table (assuming you’re eating at a table and not in front of the TV). Linger.
Eat about half of what’s on your plate, then pause. It takes 20 minutes for the stomach to signal to the brain, “I’m full”. If you’re still hungry, REALLY hungry, then finish what’s on your plate.
That last one has been challenging for me because I hate to waste food. So I’ve been working on making my portions smaller and smaller, so when I pause, that I don’t have to put the food in the compost bin, or store it in the fridge for later.
“Refined, processed, manufactured” – if what you consume is any/all of these three, it is unhealthy.
Keep food triggers out of sight and out of your home.
My food trigger is salty foods, like Cheetos. Gosh I love Cheetos. I know. I know. I know. They are junk. There is NOTHING healthy in Cheetos. But they are my “kryptonite”. So now, since learning I am pre-diabetic, I have stopped buying Cheetos. That’s not to say I won’t ever have them. I know I will. But I will buy them only once in a while, instead of having them in the house all the time.
So there you have it. Was this helpful to you in any way? Can you relate? Feel free to share in the Comments section below.
***note: this post is not intended to offend anyone. Beauty comes in all sizes. If you are happy with your weight, and your health is at its optimal best, that’s excellent! I am simply sharing MY experience and what I’VE recently learned.