I started walk­ing ev­ery­where

Women's Weekly (Malaysia) - - INSPIRE -

“My mum had di­a­betes but I never knew it was ge­netic or that I would need to watch my own diet and life­style,” says Pooja Jain, 40, who is a free­lance learn­ing de­signer. All she knew at that time was that her mother’s di­a­betes was a side ef­fect of the med­i­ca­tions she was tak­ing for some other ail­ments she had.

Although she found out she had di­a­betes when she was preg­nant, it wasn’t just ges­ta­tional di­a­betes, “as my doc­tor in­formed me, it was wait­ing to hap­pen and found preg­nancy as a ve­hi­cle to man­i­fest it­self”. Add to that was the fact that Pooja had a dif­fi­cult preg­nancy, which in­volved a few hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tions prior to de­liv­ery.

“Our fo­cus at that time was to fol­low the doc­tor’s ad­vice and not over­think any­thing,” she says “I stuck to the pre­scribed diet but since I was on com­plete bedrest, it was ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to man­age my blood sugar lev­els with diet alone. I had to be put on in­sulin in­jec­tions prior to ev­ery meal.” This meant tim­ing her meals and in­sulin shots, and care­fully watch­ing what, when and how much she ate, she says.

A learn­ing curve

Although Pooja strug­gled with be­ing over­weight, a dco­tor told her that her di­a­betes was more a re­sult of her un­man­aged and un­tamed blood sugar lev­els and had less to do with her weight. “The oral medicines he pre­scribed turned my life around.

As you know, weight man­age­ment is a cru­cial part of fight­ing di­a­betes.

His pre­scrip­tion helped me shed weight and start lead­ing an ac­tive life,” she says.

Find­ing the bal­ance

“The big­gest chal­lenge was to keep a level mind and not get over­whelmed by the num­ber of changes re­quired to bring a sub­stan­tial change,” she says. It started with her diet – Pooja re­duced her por­tion sizes, which meant no pro­cessed foods and less carbs as well, and in­creased the fre­quency of her meals – this was com­ple­mented by prac­ti­cal ex­er­cise.

“I started walk­ing ev­ery­where. It was killing two birds with one stone: Get healthy and re­duce my car­bon foot­print. In­stead of tak­ing buses or taxis, I would walk to the the­atre, to the library, to the mall… lit­er­ally, ev­ery­where. Places that were too far to walk, I cut them out of my to-do list,” she says.

As a re­sult, her fit­ness and en­ergy lev­els have in­creased and she has man­aged to bring down her blood glu­cose lev­els (Hba1c) from a whop­ping 9.5 to 6.7. But it’s a work in progress: ”Reg­u­lar health checks are a must. We women of­ten tend to rel­e­gate our needs, but it’s cru­cial to mon­i­tor Hba1c ev­ery three to four months and plan changes that are eas­ier to sus­tain,” she says.

Find­ing the bal­ance also meant manag­ing fam­ily and friends’ of­ten well-mean­ing, but some­times un­so­licited ad­vice on how much ex­er­cise was too much. “As long as you know your body and mind can han­dle the changes, don’t let fam­ily and friends bring you down,” she says. “They don’t have di­a­betes. You do. Con­sult your doc­tor and do what you

think works best for you.”

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