Making Healthy the Norm


In 2011, my 6’1” husband of six years weighed 140 pounds. In two years, from his original diagnosis as a Type II diabetic, he had lost 110 pounds. He was then diagnosed as a Type I diabetic.

That’s right – the diabetes kids get. Not adults – usually.

In an instant, our world went from “Who needs insurance?” to “Oh my gosh, what kind of insurance do we have?” From “Eat all the food!” to “How many carbs does this have?” From only having sewing needles in our house to having needles with medicine.

It was, to say the least, a hard adjustment.

My husband was a champ. I bawled – and I didn’t even have to prick myself with needles five times a day and inject myself every time food entered my mouth. Kyle has always liked the coolest gadgets – the newest handheld devices, the spiffiest gaming consoles, and so on. So he channeled this trend into his diabetes care. What was the newest research out on diabetes? What about an insulin pump? What about a sensor that attaches to your body?

He listened to his doctors and followed their instructions. They called him a model patient. He uses an insulin pump and a senor – both of which I was very wary of – and they both have made his life so much easier. He or I can answer more on this subject if you are interested – just email me.

One of our biggest hurdles has been with food – what to eat? As a diabetic, he’s supposed to watch his carbs – breads, pastas, sweets, and even sometimes fruit. And what’s easier than making pasta? Or ordering a pizza (guilty on so many occasions)?

I usually incorporate some vegetarian meals into our weekly menu. Most of the time when we have a vegetarian dish, he will tell me how good it is – with the caveat, “You know what would make this better? Meat.”

Yes, I’m sure it would – but meat is also expensive. Pasta is cheap. But, then again, too much pasta is not good for anyone – and the vicious cycle continues. Do I splurge on healthy meals? Or do I just deal with buying cheap food?


I schedule weekly meals for our family of three. Usually on Thursday or Friday, I plan our breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for the upcoming week. I try to incorporate a variety of healthy and not-so-healthy options into the week. One night we may just have sweet potatoes with black beans. The next, pizza! It’s a delicate balance between easy meals and those that take a little more preparation, too, and it’s certainly not a foolproof method. But it works the majority of the time.

We also both schedule runs. He started running last year, and I’ve been running for six years. We both work, we both have fairly active social lives, and we have a two-year-old. So if we want to run, it has to be planned at least 24 hours in advance. I prefer morning runs before my family is up, and he generally will run when I return home and hurry to shower or after we put the toddler to bed. But it takes joint effort and coordination for both of us to stay active.

We also hold each other accountable using the MyFitnessPal app. I can see what he’s eaten at work and tell him he better watch his calories, and he can see when I neglect to log and tell me to add that Twix bar to my intake.

But maybe the most important aspect is the support we give one another when we go way over our calorie limit. Or if we had planned a run and it just didn’t work out. Or when we get home from work and don’t want to even think about cooking and are just as happy with Chinese take-out.

Those days happen. They’re going to happen. And that’s okay. Tomorrow is always a new start. But if we’re consistent most of the time, we’ve learned that these “splurge” days aren’t so bad.

When Kyle first was diagnosed with diabetes, it was a huge life change for us, from dealing with medicine, checking his blood sugar regularly, making sure we ate fairly healthy and exercised.

But isn’t that what we’re all struggling to reach, a lifestyle change? We all want to get to a point where eating healthy is the norm, and exercise is expected. Cheat days are the exception, not the rule.

That’s our goal. Let’s make May the month our new lifestyle begins.

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