Diabetes avoided with lifestyle change

In 2010 I visited my GP for a normal health check. I had a blood test and the results were a little worrying. I was 90 kgs which was considered overweight. My cholesterol, sugar level, and blood pressure were all borderline. I was told that if I continued this way I would likely to be diabetic in 12 months. My GP advised a need to change my lifestyle and lose at least 20kgs. I was eating too many carbohydrates and I needed to reduce my portions of food.

I was advised to include the three important food groups in the main meal of the day, these are:

● proteins – which is meat, poultry and fish,

● carbohydrates – potato, kumara, bread

● vitamins: vegetables and fruits

I was advised to:

● drink water and have no fizzy drinks

● exercise (walking regularly, playing sports and doing activities that exert energy)

● take time out to de­stress

● get at least 7 hours sleep per night

After two years of changing to my new lifestyle I had lost 17 kgs and two dress sizes ­ I went from size 20 to size 16.

Losing the weight was only part of it, maintaining it has been the real challenge. Learning to do without the food I loved was difficult, I loved chocolate and would happily eat a block while watching TV. If I was hungry at 9pm I would eat the leftover dinner. I had enjoyed lots of coconut cream with fish baked the Niue way with spinach wrapped in foil and having it with taro.

As a result of my experience, I decided to develop a Lifestyle Change Program for Pacific women  ­especially for the mamas of the clients I provide cultural support for. Today I have maintained good health through changing my lifestyle. Losing the weight made me feel happy about myself, and comfortable in my own skin.

Now my lifestyle looks like this:

Meals

Home­cooked meals are the best as I know what and how I prepare it. I eat one main meal a day. I cook only enough for the meal and no leftovers. If I use coconut cream I dilute it with chicken soup mixed with water.

Timing of the meal depends on what happens during the day. Working people would eat in the evening which means have dinner two hours before bedtime. No eating after 8pm. I drink water if I’m hungry beyond 8pm.

Exercise

Walking is routine, twice a day in the morning and evening for an hour. I play badminton for 1 hour on Tuesdays with a social group.

Time out and relaxation

It is important to have quiet time by oneself, sitting alone or with spouse in the park, enjoying the scenery and watching people go by and just be.

I hope this will inspire someone to change the way they live. I believe we all need to change some aspects of the way we live especially if our health is affected by the way we live.

Best Wishes

- Tiva, Auckland