LIFESTYLE CHANGES FOR GOOD
Cutting up fresh veggies was something I thought I would never do. I liked vegetables and I believed what they said about eating raw, but in a sack lunch? That wasn’t my idea of tasty or something that would keep me going for the second half of any workday. I scoffed at veggie trays and fruit bowls and had always opted for packaged treats, quick sugar, and mouth-watering saltiness.
It was my last visit to the doctor that changed my whole outlook. “It’s up to you,” he told me. He looked into my eyes and I sank back into myself. I thought about the lie I had told the nurse.
“I exercise,” I nodded as if the words were not strong enough to stand on their own.
My mind raced. I didn’t expect to be questioned. Three days, four days? “Seven days a week,” I blurted. “I’m a jogger. I love to jog. And,” I continued, “I go to the gym.” I regretted the words the minute they left my tongue and danced, wobbling in the air between us.
The truth of the matter was I hadn’t been to the gym or done more than walk from the front door to my car in over a year. Who had time for exercise? I was working full time, managing with the kids, a demanding husband, and an aging mother. I didn’t have time for exercise, but I couldn’t admit that to her.
The doctor flipped the pages of my chart. “My suggestion,” he glanced at me over his glasses and back at the chart, “is you watch your diet and continue to exercise. You are exercising aren’t you?” His voice denoted his disbelief in what his eyes reported to his brain. Surely the chart and my physique were contradictions. He nodded and put his hand on my shoulder. “There is no need to pull the wool over my eyes. There is no judgement here. I just want you to be healthy. As much as I enjoy seeing you, I’d rather it be routine and social.”
I grinned. This visit was far from routine. I had been feeling worn out, hungry all the time, and very thirsty. I couldn’t drink enough water. I had even gained 15 pounds since the last time I was in his office. I chalked it up to stress. I was surprised when the doctor mentioned Diabetes.
“Lifestyle changes can make a world of difference,” he assured me. “We will do this together. You make the small changes I suggest and I promise I won’t push too hard.” He chuckled and helped me down from the paper-covered table. “Is it a deal?” I shook his hand and smiled.
I took the A1C tests and he declared me pre-Diabetic. But I’m not out of the woods. The goal now is to make lifestyle changes: little things like swapping out sweet snacks for healthy ones, taking time to meditate and slow down the busy-ness of my life now and again, and exercise. I even joined the gym. I take classes three times a week and walk with the new friends I make it there on my off days. I guess carrots and celery sticks are a fair trade-off for good health. The next time I see my doctor I won’t have to stretch the truth one bit.
Ginger M. Galloway
Poet, Author, Playwright & Artist
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