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Fitness is simply not in my genetics
Weight loss is something personal, something different for everyone; and as a middle-aged diabetic, it certainly was not an easy path for me. Times when I would rather lay back and watch my favourite TV show after a long day has been replaced by exercise. My favourite foods that make me salivate just by the mere thought of it has become a rare treat. These things may seem like insignificant, but to maintain such control over a long period of time is not easy. But I am living proof that it’s possible, weight loss is not something to be feared.
I have type 1 diabetes, and I know that puts me at higher risk for a wide variety of diseases. Diabetes is essentially an autoimmune disease where my body is no longer producing the hormone, insulin, needed to maintain the blood glucose (sugar) at a healthy amount. To treat this, I need to inject the required insulin into my body multiple times a day, but that alone is not sufficient to keeping my blood sugar levels consistently in a normal range.
Exercise is critical for my body to decrease the odds of diseases, and further lower my blood sugar by enhancing the absorption of glucose into the cells. Exercise for me isn’t just about weight loss, it’s about maintaining a healthy body and mind. It enables me to feel stronger and in control of my choices. Personally, I love long walks and mild hikes in nature. It isn’t full of adrenaline or new adventures, but the slower pace and longer lasting exercise is perfect for weight loss in a healthy manner as you can slowly build endurance and strength into your body. But this is not enough. I started working out because walks were no longer cutting it, and I found that the more structured routine perfectly matched my needs. After six months, I could see the change even if progress was slow.
Diet is very much the same. It’s about balance, it’s about consuming the right and good foods for my body. We all need carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals to survive, and we get those in our diet. For someone with diabetes, it is crucial I have all those things. Many people go on diets of such extreme they are simply perishing rather than becoming stronger and healthier. Don’t go binge eating fries or chocolate, but you needn’t cut them out of your diet completely. Eat in moderation. Have carbs, but good carbs like whole grain oats and rice. Include protein, lean ones like beef and chicken. Healthy fats in, say, salmon and avocado are great for your body. Eating well provides your body with the fuel it needs to perform well, which is important for you to be able to exercise regularly and stay healthy and fit.
I, especially, need to ensure I have all of those things in my diet, the slightest imbalance can cause my blood sugars to plummet or skyrocket.
Even though most people would not need to undertake such careful measurements to weight loss, my experience is one that should be applied to all journeys. Do not try to lose weight instantly, or live on a no carb, no nothing, diet. Your body is precious and sensitive, it requires all the nutrients you feed it, which will only better its performance. Balance is all you need to weight loss, and persistence. Weight loss continues to be a challenging but fulfilling journey, as I see progress not day by day, but month by month. Weight loss is not an exponential curve, in fact, it cannot be graphed mathematically with a simple function at all. There will be days where weight loss is stagnant, or my weight goes up, but I have reached a point where I can confidently say I am beautiful, happy, and most importantly, at the peak of my health. Fitness is simply not in my genetics, but I have worked to gain endurance and muscle I haven’t seen since my youth.
“The only impossible journey is the one you never begin.” So just try. Don’t give up, but don’t be unrealistic. Stay healthy, but don’t push your body to extremes it is not ready for. Lose weight, but don’t lose sight of the goal. Aim to be healthy, not just skinny.
You can do this, just start.