Candice Walker, or CJ as she is called, journey began in March of 2019 when a routine doctor’s appointment and blood work revealed she had diabetes. Although she was non-symptomatic, she had a family history of diabetes, a sibling being diagnosed a week earlier, and gestational diabetes with two of her three pregnancies, Candice knew she had to make some serious, and significant, lifestyle changes.
When her doctor prescribed medication, but did’t recommend changes to her diet, or exercise, CJ started doing her own research. She found a Face Book group which suggested a low carb diet, combined with exercise, to control diabetes. Following their plan, she avoided all grains, bread, soy and all fruit except berries.
As a mom of three kids under 10, and a job working from home, CJ’s life-style changes were challenging. Her mom, a registered nurse, encouraged CJ to exercise every day, and to be more intentionally active. She started walking 35-45 minutes a day which didn’t cause her to lose weight, which was fine as she weighs “100 pounds dripping wet”, but she did see a significant drop in her A1 C, from 10.8 to 4.5, and she felt great.
CJ’s other challenge was going out to eat. She wanted to have fun dining out with family and friends, but she also wanted to stick to her program. Her coping strategy include calling restaurants beforehand and asking about carbs and sugars in specific menu items, and how meals were being prepared. Armed with information, she was better able to make healthy choices, and still enjoy a meal out with family.
Another coping strategy was realizing she needed self-discipline to change her life-style. She recognized that she had used food as comfort, and her new motto was Eat to Live, not Live to Eat.
When you are newly diagnosed with diabetes, CJ feels these are the top three things you need to know: 1) Diabetes is not a life-sentence; 2) Any chronic disease can make you sad and angry, and be a lonely journey on your own, so find your own tribe or support system; 3) Seek help, and do your research. She admits that, through her own research, she learns something new about diabetes every day.
As a busy wife, mother, and blogger, CJ knows that early diagnosis was critically important to managing her disease. Diabetes is the silent killer, so she encourages others to take care of themselves by getting tested, especially if you have a family history of diabetes or are overweight.
Changing your entire life-style is difficult, but staying motivated, educating yourself, and having a support system will bring results. CJ is the proof!