My Dad is a wealth of knowledge… he’s taught me to much growing up from how to play the Atari to how to stand out as a leader [versus a follower.] It’s funny how as time passes, we end up being able to grow up as individuals and repay our parents for taking care of us growing up. I’ve talked about it on my blog off and on and mostly on my Facebook page posts, but the health of my family is a huge reason I do what I do as a fitness coach – they are the primary people in my life and I want them to be around with me smiling and with as limited health issues as possible.
Diabetes runs throughout my family – on both sides as well as with my husband and his family. It literally surrounds me. I have always had a sweet tooth, too, so I always wondered if that was why and if I would become one myself. As I’ve learned more and more about the logistics of Diabetes – Type 1 and 2 – I understand how the pancreas works, how insulin works within our bodies, and how to work to prevent Type 2 from happening [as best I can.]
I can’t remember the specific year, but my Dad was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes over a decade ago. I do remember that I was a teenager at the time and that the doctor was concerned because of our family history with it. In our house, we weren’t the best eaters either. We ate rice at every meal (and not the portion it should be), had tons of soda and sweets, and had limited vegetables or whole foods. It’s no one’s fault, it’s from our upbringing and family – soul food and Chinese food were a part of my culture and it was all that we knew. With his diagnosis, I know that it was super tough for my Dad to acclimate and adjust his habits – how do you change how you eat and live after years and years of not thinking about it and focusing on your family instead?
As the years have gone on that I’ve become more and more knowledgeable about nutrition it’s also caused me to worry more and more about those I love. I dissect how they eat and what they do and want to help so badly! I have to remember, though, that you can’t force that on anyone. My Dad did well managing his T2 for years and years, through walking and exercising, but the diet piece was where he needed a little more adjustment. This past year we’ve talked more about how I can help him learn how to eat better, so that it’s not about finding ‘sugar-free’ items at the store or ‘Diabetic-friendly’ processed foods, BUT instead embracing whole food nutrition as a means to manage his T2 even better!
We looked at what he ate and incorporated Shakeology into his morning routine along with oatmeal and sustainable carbs made from whole foods. It was an adjustment at first, but I am so proud of my Dad now for sticking to it through the tough times and creating a new SUPER CHARGED health routine with his nutrition!
He even helped me with this post, so here’s his lessons he wants to pass on to others – LISTEN UP, My Dad is in the house!
✓ STOP WITH THE CANDY & SWEETS – Dad said he used to eat lots of candy – which I remember – and that he did it without thinking. He didn’t know the impact it could have down the road. So, he said looking back he’d understand how sugar affects the body and avoid eating it in excess – only as a cheat off and on – not daily.
✓ EAT + UNDERSTAND YOUR FRUITS & VEGETABLES! – Dad and I were talking about meals he and my mom used to make a long time ago when I was growing up. We had heavy starches and always had meat at each meal. He said it was tough because growing up on the farm, you ate what was picked and harvested and sometimes the only vegetable was corn. He now knows to look for green vegetables and fruits that are low in Glycemic Index since he knows how that can affect his blood sugar.
✓ GET MOVING! – Dad loves to walk now. When he was growing up he ended up in the military, how he met my mother, and after that he didn’t have it be a part of his life consistently. He went to the gym off and on, but not regularly. He understands now that even 30 minutes a day, EACH DAY, makes a huge difference in how we use the sugars stored in our bodies.
✓ EAT FOOD GOD MADE – An occasional drink here and there is okay as a cheat…just as he said with sweets. However, the majority of what we eat should be food that God created – whole food nutrition. Even if it’s in shake form (like Shakeology) Dad said he’s seen a dramatic change in his life after adjusting to whole foods. He said don’t be fooled, even as a Diabetic or someone with a dietary issue, by labels like “Sugar-Free” or “Gluten-Free”…. most processed food is low on one thing and high on another – so focus on food from the Earth!
He said that we can never go back into the past to change things, BUT he wants to help others see they have a chance to be proactive and not REACT to their health. Even when he was first diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, he took lots of medications that I questioned. When we looked into it, it appeared HE was able to control his condition and not need medications that only created other side effects in the body.
He’s a smart man, so let’s listen to him, shall we?