Changing lifestyle for the long haul

As a new guy in town, I'm going to try not offend anyone or be insensitive. If I do say something wrong, please let me know.

I was diagnosed some time ago and had things under control for a while. Then I needed a double hip replacement and my activity level, as one could imagine, went way down. Now I'm able to pick it back up, but the consequences were my sugar was up for a long time, and I didn't realize it. I had stopped testing and was off meds. At first, I could feel it when my sugar was high. Then after a while, I couldn't. So now, here I am at age 50 with what seems to be a fairly entrenched case of Type 2.

So here's my question for the forum/group: When I realized my sugar was up because my eyesight went a little blurry, I went to my doctor and my bloodwork showed that my sugar was skyhigh and my A1C sucked. Well, I went nuts, eating no or very few carbs and hit the eliptical trainer or jogged twice a day. I lost 30 pounds quick, but it took going back on meds to get my sugar below 200. In any case, it's been about 6 or 7 weeks now, and my sugar is under control. What I want to guard against is losing my sense of urgency. My doctor told me that there was some damage to my kidneys, which was reversable, but not if my sugar went back up. So although I am only hitting one workout per day, I want to guard against slipping in my diet and my workouts. My question to the panel is this: How do you guard against that happening. Is discipline like that sustainable for a lifetime? What modifications have you guys made to keep a healthier lifestyle? For example, I have arthritis in my knees and I can't run on concrete without hurting pretty bad the next day.

I limit my carbohydrates to 80 a day. I've done that for 7 years now, with good results.

We're all different, but that is what works for me.


hi brian, congratulations on losing 30 lbs and getting sugar under control again! i was diagnosed t1 three years ago and was supreme in the will power department for quite a while out of fear. ive seen three aunts and uncles die from t2 complications and it wasnt pretty.

these days the will power is still there for the most part, and its still mostly from fear. i exercise every day and eat between 75-100 carbs to keep my sugars easier to control. to keep myself sane, i celebrate with stuff i wouldnt normally eat when theres a celebration, ill take a day off from my regular exercise if theres something special going on.

i try to do exercise that i can integrate into everyday life. i cycle to work, walk EVERYWHERE with my dog. to keep myself motivated i try to participate in mud runs and races. the mud runs require weight and strength training so i do lots of different stuff and the difficulty, the challenge, the "yeah right. like i cant do this" really helps. i think finding activities i like has been key.

maybe with arthritis and bad knees, running wouldnt be the greatest, but walking, cycling and swimming would be gentler.

This is great Lloyd.

For some reason I can relate to this as a Type one for over 25 years and being over 50. It would be nice to just feel okay and forget about things I have to do. I instead remember that I am not being asked to do anything that other people should not do as well, watch the diet, exercise, have the most healthy habits as possible. Today we all need to do that. People of all types take medication.
I remember when I was 50 I thought I was invincible. Now that I am turning 58 (yikes, close to 60!) my body is changing. I am not going to remain young forever after all and I know my body is changing because I can feel it. I switched from running to walking twice as day and swimming. I did this to obtain a more consistent BG and it does not make me go up and down a lot. I try to take my medication and check BGs as the cornerstone of my health maintenance.
I feel that being "easy" is the best policy, so I keep food simple, exercise simple and my goals realistic. I am like the turtle now in the race of the turtle and the hare, but I am going to get to the finish line in one piece. With arthritis I feel a lot of pain, so I drink water and stretch and try to keep up gentle movement most of the day. I avoid medication whenever possible. I use diet and drink a lot of water to get rid of symptoms. Water hydrates the bones, and drinking a lot of pure water really makes a difference. The body is meant to work hydrated.

The advantage you have now Brian is that now you know. Just knowing and believing the consequences of uncontrolled T2 is the hardest thing for most to accept, but now you know and that is an advantage.

I find my best tool for keeping me in line is my meter. My meter tells me when I'm straying from my ideal path. I do not have to step on a set of scales to know when I have gained weight, my meter tells me first. My meter tells me when I have eaten too many carbs.

Choose your carbs carefully and use you meter regularly, at least daily, and your meter will keep you on track.

Please also remember that T2 is progressive. Great control will greatly slow its forward march but it will not totally stop it. T2 varies greatly from person to person and for some it is possible to out run the forward march. Just remember that it moves forward and as things change we must adapt. Remember that as this disease progresses it is not a sign of failure. One bears no blame if they are actively trying to control their diabetes.

Like I said in the beginning you have learned the hardest lesson.

My meter is my best friend. I set a goal, mine is to never go over 140, and then use my meter to tell me if things are OK or perhaps something needs to be adjusted.

For me that means eating 30 to 50 g/day of carbs and avoiding the types of carbs that spike me, sugar, grain, fruit etc. Others can do fine on more carbs, the correct amount of carbs for you is the level that allows you to meet your goal.

If you must start or change medication so be it. To maximize our chances of avoiding complications you need to keep your A1C as low as possible and avoid damaging spikes.

I really hate exceeding my blood sugar goal so testing is a way of helping me to stick to my diet.

Thank you sir. I guess you put your finger on what I am interested knowing. How do you stay motivated. Fear- same as me and might I say, makes all the sense in the world. Do you know people who are not afraid? Having a bit of denial, having a big of "oh, this can't hurt me" going on? Or maybe they try to do things right but they don't have that fear, so they keep slipping?

Thank you. what I'm interested in how to stay motivated. Pancreaswanted said he is motivated out of fear- exactly the same thing as I am. But I also think that for me and for many people as you say above, "keeping it simple" is important as well. Having to take too much time to prepare food every day is something that I suspect will make someone come in from a hard day at the office and think "the hell with that, I'm calling Dominoes." I also like your way of looking at things being that everyone should basically be doing the same hings we are anyway. Thanks for responding.

Hi Brian,

Congrats on getting back to healthier choices and losing weight.

I think running is not a good idea because it damages your joints etc. so I would do more of the elliptical trainer and walking which are going to be just as effective.

I guess the discipline depends on the person, some people find it easier maybe to follow a strict diet and keep the regular exercise. I would think if you have early kidney damage that would be a really good motivation to reverse it and keep it that way.

I think it's important to make food choices that you really enjoy so it won't feel like a loss and to treat yourself once in a while also. Total deprivation can lead to the opposite of going back to a less healthy diet for some people.

For me the obvious motivation is that if I don't keep my bg in a good range I can end up in the hospital again and or have terrible complications so I really have no choice- being on insulin is a huge responsibility to keep everything at good levels and take care of myself. I have experienced how bad D can be and it was very frightening.

I think in terms of food/cooking although it is definitely more time consuming to make all of your own food, you can prepare some things ahead of time and keep things frozen or refrigerated so it is a bit easier and less time consuming. Lately I have been buying bell/evans frozen chicken, which I have done in the past, and things like that so that I can have a break from cooking. Then I cut a lot of fresh veggies for a big salad and have berries and yogurt for dessert. It still takes some time but not as much as making a full meal from scratch. I just prefer the way it tastes and I have always prepared most of my own food in the past since I love good food and cooking. Another thing I eat is low carb almond-hazelnut pancakes with jam and butter. I make up a lot of batter and just leave it in the fridge. Eggs and veggies are another good meal which can be made very quickly. I have also made my own cauliflower crust pizza but that was a bit soggy unfortunately. I will have to work on that one. It was actually more time consuming than my other meals overall. There are many things that don't need any preparation that you can eat like nuts, peanut butter, cheese etc.

I also eat low carb, around 50-80g now, sometimes more depending on exercise and lows.

Welcome Brian,

Use all of the tools you can. My meter is my tool that i rely on to help guide me every step of the way. More than that.....I look at my kids, boyfriend, family in general. They keep me motivated to be positive every day and be the best i can be. Sure i fail...we all do. But every day i make a decision to try to be better than the day before. And that goes for more than just diabetes.

Diabetes has scared me every single day of my 30 years i've had it. But, what makes me smile is that i'm still here. The future of diabetes holds a lot of great things right now and i am very excited to see what will happen in the next 3-5 years.

Good luck and together we can all get through this.


Fear has kept me motivated for several years, I don't want to lose limbs or vision or have any of the myriad things that can go wrong happen to me. It helps to keep me on the straight and narrow.

I am going to tell a rather cryptic story because I don't want to divulge a lot of details as it's so very personal to me. I was misdiagnosed in the local hospital last Oct. and some lousy things happened as a result. Since then I have worked harder than ever to resolve this major pain in my butt so as to get my life back to normal. Lots of doctor visits, forms to fill out, appts with the diabetic educators, I've done it all, many times. I hope the end is in sight for my problem and there will be hell to pay to a certain doctor once it's all over. The impact on my life has been dramatic.

So now I've confused everyone, but let me say it's this incident that really got me fired up to work even harder to get my bg level where it needs to be. I went on insulin in May as part of my ever hopeful plan to solve my problem. It may help, it may not, but the insulin has certainly helped with my bg level. I don't like that I am on insulin, but for my health it's worth it.

So basically it's fear and a massive determination to right a wrong that keep me going forward.

Hang in there, do the right things for yourself, and if you slip for a day, don't beat yourself up about it! Do better the next day. Remember you are human and we humans slip sometimes.

Thanks Gary. I think that what you said about blame is a big thing for people with Type 2. Let's face it, there is a stigma. But I hope that everyone can get over the stigma. It's one thing to concious about a few pimples if you're a teenager, but this is life and death.

Also, thanks for emphazing the meter

HI Brian
I am a T1, so i really have no other choice than to test, bolus, eat repeat. If i went on for several days without testing, or even insulin, well, it would be nasty. so my motivation, i dont know where it is, but over the 10 years this whole diabetes management has become so normal to me, that i dont even question what i am doing. diabetes is my normal, i dont know it different. to me it is like brushing teeth, i just do it.
if you can make diabetes your new normal, this would be awesome.
here are a few motivational videos i think are great: (joe is just awesome, we had this interview here a while back) (danica is a young T1 and I just love her)
hope you can stay on the track you are on now, and congrats for making all those changes you have already made!!! it is the first step towards a healthy life with D!!!


Not to hijack this thread, but why don't you like being on insulin?

Congrats on all you have done so far, Brian.

You have raised a question that all of us face everyday (and not just in managing our diabetes). How does one stay motivated in their job, love life, parenting, being a friend, being a student, etc, etc?

Fear is one of the ways.

Another is to focus on the positive. Look for ways to stimulate the pleasure center of your brain, Brian!

Do you feel better with 30 less pounds? If yes, what did you do to lose AND maintain the weight loss? Are there variations you can use?

Do you feel better with your BG under 200 or over 200? If yes to under 200, what helps to get you there? Smaller portion sizes? Knowing the carbs in what you eat? Avoiding 'x'-type of food?

Do you laugh? If not, start today. Find a moment to just be silly, to surprise someone, to give someone else a smile in the hopes that you will get one back. Do a search on the web for ways to laugh and laugh hard - EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!!!

You are officially on a marathon that you can run, walk or crawl on to succeed (or bike, swim, roll, swing on vines in the jungle, paddle, sail, skate and more). Take the steps every day.

Hey Sally, Thank you for replying. From what I understand, it is best if your BG is 140 or below. I can do that easily on a normal day, but that means eating clean and exercising a couple times a day. I have had some advice from other people that emphasize and Atkins-like High Fat Low Carb diet that puts one in a state of ketosis. On days when I don't think I'll be able to do much activity, I try to eat that way. It keeps your blood sugar down, but I'm not sure that bacon on a constant basis is better for me than blueberries. So, I'm still trying to feel my way. If you don't mind my asking, how long have you had diabetes?