Health — February 1, 2020 at 10:58 am

Keeping Life Sweet: A Year in Review

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This is the last installment in a 6-part series by Staff Writer, Maegan Carrasquillo, on living with diabetes.

Last year I began with a hopeful resolution and a plan of action, which has come full circle. If you’ve been following along, you know I have type 1 diabetes and started the previous year with a penchant for chocolate and lack thereof for exercise. If you haven’t been following along, welcome, and here’s how things are going so far.

I wanted to get on track to be a healthier, happier me, so to move forward, I set goals and gave myself a year to complete the following:

  1. Better Control of my Diabetic Health – Lower my A1C from 8.8 to between 5.5 and 6.5 (an A1C of 8.8 means average blood sugar is 200+ which is too high, with an A1C of 5.5 to 6.5 the average would be somewhere between 105 and 130 which is where it should be)
  2. Change My Diet – Eat foods with less sugar and salt, add vegetables and lean protein. Work on portion control and curb snacking
  3. Get More Exercise – Get outside more to walk, jog, or swim depending on the weather
  4. Work on My Mental Health – spend more time with family and friends, find healthier ways to reduce stress, and do things that make me happy more often

Now that it’s 2020, and the year mark has come and gone, I’ve accomplished most of what I set out to do. My A1C has gone from an 8.8 to a 7.2. At first, I wasn’t thrilled because 7.2 definitely isn’t 5.5, but after some consideration I’m happy with the outcome because overall what I wanted was to feel better and I do.

My diet change has helped with my energy level, and though I still occasionally indulge, I’ve found I’m not even thinking about most of the unhealthy food I used to crave so intently. Instead of reaching for a bag of chips I’ll have some carrot sticks while watching a movie.

Getting more exercise was probably the one task I was most hesitant about in the beginning, but now I’m amazed by the things my body is capable of and I continue to push for more. I wanted to better keep up with my daughter and my active dog, and now I’m the one looking forward to warmer weather so we can try out new hikes.

As for working on my mental health and stress levels, I think learning about and understanding my depression as just another facet of who I am was a big turning point. After realizing there wasn’t necessarily something wrong to fix, I was able to continually hone in on the things that really make me happy, like breakfast dates with friends and quality time with my daughter, which vastly improved my outlook. I prioritize my enjoyment more now and it’s become a routine part of life, with the hope that even on my darker days I’ll still be able to see all the good and light in my life

So, if you started this year with a resolution in mind and you’re already losing steam I urge you to remember why it was your goal in the first place and keep trying. Even though I didn’t fully reach every aspect of my goal I’m so proud of how far I’ve come. I truly enjoyed the process, and though this is where I leave you, it’s not the end. Thank you for following along, and as with all journeys it’s time for me to grow in a new direction!

The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by Health Canada or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. None of the information presented is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. This is a personal account and individual experiences may vary. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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