I will share the story of one of the members of the diabetes community support group about how they learn to live with diabetes. Jasmine (not her real name) is 45 years old and has lived with Type 2 Diabetes for the last 7 years. She works as an executive assistant to the CEO of a bank downtown on the 24th floor of a bank tower. She lives in Scarborough. Her travel time to work is 1 hour, hence she loses 2 hours of the day in her travel. She is at work by 8 a.m. and doesn’t finish work till 5 p.m. Her lunch break is 1 hour but she feels she always has catching up to do so she only spends ½ hour at lunch and often only has time to go down to the food court to grab a quick meal.
Jasmine feels frustrated and is unable to lose that extra 50 pounds of weight by carefully following the changes in her diet suggested by the dietician at the Diabetes Education Centre. She had attended a meeting on the “ why and how” of exercise at one of the Diabetes chapters of the Canadian Diabetes Association and wanted to do at least 30 minutes of brisk walking 5 days a week. Knowing the importance of resistance training, two years ago she even had a few sessions with a personal trainer at a health club. She said she had the knowledge but did not seem to be able to put it into practice.
She has only been able to walk one evening during the week on Sundays and has not been able to do any resistance training. She has however noted that her blood sugar has often fallen from 11 mmol/L before the walk to 7 mmol/L after the walk.
Here is a list of suggestions from the group members:
- Time management: At lunchtime, take a full hour at least once a week. Either do the exercise prescription in the plaza for 30 minutes once a week or walk up and down two flights of stairs in the building for 10 minutes, Then gradually increase over a few days to 30 minutes. (She chose this option).
- Walk in the plaza for at least 15 minutes before starting work.
- Someone who lived in the neighbourhood suggested she hated walking alone and maybe they could start a walking group in the neighbourhood on weekends.
- Another person said while she watches her favourite show on T.V., she does a set or two of different exercises, such as biceps curls, triceps extensions, seated overhead presses, forward fly exercises, side leg raises, ankle exercises, lunges and squats. Jasmine liked this the best as a way to get back into resistance training.
A month later the group met in a church basement and had invited me to talk about the ABC of Diabetes. Jasmine was bubbling with enthusiasm and described how she had adopted all the changes that were discussed in the group. Most remarkably, she had even found 3 co-workers with diabetes and started a walking group at her work place.
Here are her other comments:
I feel energetic and enjoy my work more.
My blood sugar is rarely greater than 8 mmol/L 2 hours after eating even on the days I don’t exercise. (It’s well proven that the beneficial effect of exercise on lowering blood sugar can last for 24-48Hrs).
I am sleeping better and in the last 4 weeks I have lost 4 pounds in weight. By this time next year, I plan to shed all my extra pounds.