WRITTEN BY: Jeannette Alligood
Jeannette Alligood is a health coach who has been living with Type 2 diabetes since 2016. Her diagnosis was revealed after being rejected by life insurance. Jeannette was also featured in our Beyond Powerful social media campaign and told us how she lives powerfully with diabetes.
Denied by Diabetes
It was a call I would never expect: my insurance agent called to tell me my application for life insurance had been denied because of my medical exam. She couldn’t tell me much other than she had requested the results would be sent to me. Fortunately, I still had a life insurance policy in place with another company. A week later, I received my results and made an appointment with my doctor, who I had not seen in a few years. The tests showed I had an A1C of 10.2 and the underwriters denied my application because of uncontrolled Type 2 diabetes.
My first thoughts were shock and then anger and blame. I blamed myself for “getting” diabetes. I blamed myself for being a couch potato. I blamed myself for getting fat. I blamed myself for somehow allowing this to happen.
I decided that I needed to make changes in my life. I was afraid of what diabetes could do to me because I’d seen what health issues others in my family had during their struggles with diabetes. I told my husband about my diagnosis but didn’t tell my college-aged girls because I didn’t want them to worry. When my girls went back to college and I started a meal plan and workout regimen. I read everything I could on Type 2 Diabetes and how to live with it. However, it was not until I changed my mindset that it all came together. When I started to realize my diagnosis was not my fault, I realized this was something I could control. When I stopped living a life of fear of what could happen and started to take control of my circumstances, I started to thrive.
The weight came off, the numbers came down, and eating healthier became easier. I joined support groups where I could hold myself accountable for my workouts and my food choices. After a while, I started running groups to not only inspire and help others but to also continue to keep me accountable for my choices – this accountability was vital for me. The most important thing was I was happier about my life, in general. I may have this diagnosis, but I was controlling it rather than letting it control me.
Eight months after my diagnosis, my blood work showed that I had lowered my A1C to 5.2 and I no longer needed diabetes medicine, but that didn’t change how I lived my life. I still eat a healthy balanced diet. People think that I never eat sweets or have a dessert and that’s not true. Life is to be enjoyed and you can do that with a little planning. I meal prep and plan my meals for the week. If I go out to eat, I know what I am going to eat before I get there. If we are going out to celebrate, I plan ahead for that. Does that mean I don’t sometimes have a bad day and go off plan? Absolutely not. However, one bad day does not lead to a bad weekend or week or month – I get right back on plan the next day. I still workout daily but not because I have to, it’s because I want to. I enjoy it and the “family” I have gained through this fitness community I have found. They have been so supportive and encouraging and that is how I want to be toward others.
Some Sound Advice
Most people are overwhelmed when either hearing a diagnosis or trying to make a major change to their lifestyle. My advice is:
You have to love yourself where you are at currently. This is not a punishment, you are not to blame for it.
Set small goals. It is overwhelming thinking I need to lose x amount of pounds but if I set small goals of 5-10 lbs each it seems achievable.
Find a support system that will help not hinder you while you are making these changes.
Celebrate the non-scale victories whether big or small. To me, these are more important than the changes on the scale.
I became a coach to help others in similar situations. I run monthly groups or work with individuals because I’ve been there and I love helping someone else find that control and accountability in their life.