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Sunday, April 3, 2011

To Prevent Diabetes

A Life Journey Struggle To Prevent Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease that come in package with your parent's inheritance. If your parent got diabetes, then it is also on your gene to have this disease sooner or later. Your risk to have diabetes is greater than others. It is a struggle, just like knowing that someone is waiting for you that you whole heartedly do not want to see. It is a stress that could only be relieved through healthy dietary and lifestyle, then just hope that you would not have to suffer this disease. Here I want to share an article written by a writer that share the same struggle as me. People feel related when they have something in common even though there is no way that me and she would know each other.. but what Juneita Johari write about her quest to stay healthy and to prevent diabetes need to be share by all ...

I WENT to the doctor’s last month for a check-up. My sugar level was on the high side of normal. This, despite my drastically cutting down on cakes, cookies and sweets.

Most people would take it in stride and face the crisis when it comes, whenever that may be.
For me, the alarm bells rang loud and clear. Diabetes. My mother had it when she was in her 40s. My father had it much later, in his 80s. With such genes, not to mention the others — heart problems and hypertension — or the “package deal” as some people call them, now would be the time to act. The doctor said I could start medication now, or change my lifestyle and dietary habits and see where that would take me. So I decided. Medication later. Diet and exercise first. Such simple things but what havoc it will wreak on all I am used to. 
The doctor suggested going on a minimal carbohydrates diet, but I would be allowed meat and fish with unlimited servings of vegetables. First to be deleted from my carb intake are all the comfort foods I love — bread, pastry, pasta, potato and rice. Goodbye plain rice, nasi lemak, nasi goreng, kway teow, mee sua, bihun and all other noodles. 
It is truly depressing looking at the menu in restaurants and realising that most of our foods are carb-based and quite often, loaded with coconut milk, oil and sugar. What an eye-opener!
I was shocked to find how our meals are really the cause of where we end up in terms of health.
But my fear of letting diabetes into my life strengthened my resolve. I did not like the way diabetes literally wasted my parents. So I tell myself I am going to beat this. 
With a menu and a rather detailed plan, I worked it out with my doctor. We decided to have a 21-day plan for each cycle. The goal was to drop my body weight and slim down the waistline as much as possible. Do you know that the standard these days is to look at the waistline measurement first and then the BMI (Body Mass Index)? A woman’s waistline should be 80cm or less, and a man’s 90cm or less. That is a lot of work!
What I should eat and the workouts I should do, turned out to be simpler than I had thought. It was challenging the first week because I was craving for carb. I felt full after a meal but something seemed lacking. I was suffering from withdrawal symptoms. My body was missing the carb.
My bigger challenge, however, came from being with other people. Many of my friends are supportive and understanding of my mission. But I find I still have to explain in great detail why I have to do what I am doing. 
The impact diabetes can have invokes fear in me. From the time I accompanied my mother to see various doctors about managing her diabetes in her 50s to the time she passed away at 73, I saw her slowly lose her vision, kidney functions and be put on dialysis, compounded by the excruciatingly slow recovery from sores. Her toes went purple one time, and toenails actually wobbled and threatened to drop off because the blood circulation in her feet was so poor.
These are the typical horrors caused by diabetes. The consequences are overwhelming. My father nearly had his foot amputated because his wounds would not heal. 
My mother’s list of doctors grew as the years went by. From the endocrinologist, she had to later see the cardiologist, nephrologist and ophthalmologist. When she had water in her lungs, the specialists in respiratory medicines were called in. When she went into a coma, even the neurologist was involved. As a caregiver, you do not just watch and serve. You also learn. This is one journey I do not wish to take. It is one that I will fight and resist for as long as I can. I already carry the genes. I can only delay the reality for as long as possible. 
For me, one of my most challenging moments is refusing food people offer. I have to learn the art of being gracious instead of being defensive. I have to learn patience. People generally laugh and scoff when you tell them you are on a diet. They would say, “One little bit won’t hurt” or “Just a little bit to mark the event”.
Few people take dieting seriously because we are always breaking the rules. It is supposedly fun to do so. I should know. I have been on some sort of diet nearly my entire adult life. Fighting weight gain that leads to diabetes has become like a mission in my life. But I find that I don’t want to be explaining myself all the time. If I say I am avoiding cakes and sweets, for example, I get lectured about how “everything should be done in moderation”, “you’ve got to know your limit” and “exercise la!”, followed by “have some”. 
I can’t be peddling my fears openly all the time. But people just seem to need some sort of justification as to why you cannot eat what they offer. They take umbrage as though their food is not good enough for you. It is rarely a short story. Sad to say, I actually decline some invitations for fear of being grilled and having to repeat “the story”. If I feel up to it, I take the opportunity to “educate” people about diabetes. 
Whether it is getting ourselves together for workouts, or being careful of what we eat, we all have issues to deal with. If it’s not about this, it will be about something else. All of us are fighting some sort of battle. A little bit of kindness and understanding won’t go amiss. 
Few people take dieting seriously because we are always breaking the rules. Fighting weight gain that leads to diabetes has become like a mission in this writer’s life
The writer volunteers at the Special Children Society of Ampang. After more than two decades of grappling with the system, she finds that the whole experience is just one big learning curve

Read more: I,caregiver: Determined to stay healthy

Stay Healthy To Prevent Diabetes


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