Here on UBB taking care of yourself is very important to us, and not just on the outside but the inside too. We wanted to share Dr. Holly Sawyer’s story.

Guest writer Dr. Holly Sawyer writes:

I had gestational diabetes in 2008 with my 2nd pregnancy. Diet and exercise was how I controlled it but in 2009, post delivery, I failed to follow up and stay on top of my health. I am 5”2, and at the time, weighed 224lbs wearing a size 24. I was in denial that I was obese although I knew it. I hated taking pictures or even seeing myself in the mirror. I was always fatigued. I wore maternity jeans to avoid going to a clothing store for “plus” women. I joined two different gyms but never truly committed to changing my diet and exercise habits!

Between two children (toddler & infant), work, being a PhD student (at the time) and wife – exercise and diet were last, if they made the list of “things-to-do.” December 20, 2010, my fatigue picked up unlike before and I began to have blurry vision. As time progressed, frequent urination picked up but on December 23, I was extremely thirsty and could not stop urinating. I remember driving to the store and buying gallons of water but my stomach couldn’t hold much water. I instantly called my physician and asked for an emergency visit. As my vision was going in and out, I drove to the doctor and she tested my blood level. It was 439 and she insisted I go to the ER.

When I arrived, they instantly checked my blood glucose and it was then 637. I was checked in and had to stay. I felt like I had awoken to a nightmare after being told I have Type 2 Diabetes. I was really sad but more so angry that I did not take better care of myself. It was extremely hard to fathom and grasp that “I” was going to have to take insulin 3 times a day and stick myself to check my blood glucose. I hate needles and felt so embarrassed to be 32 (at the time) with Type 2 Diabetes. I felt shamed when having to pick up my medication from the pharmacy. Being out at restaurants and having to go to the bathroom to inject insulin before eating was the worse.

My husband was very supportive because he is Type 1. He was persistent in making sure I changed my diet and committed to exercise. I cancelled my gym membership and found free exercise classes with free childcare. I used in-home exercise DVDs and weather permitted, I went outside for walks. I went on a diet. Yes, a diet and one that I actually liked. I found a site called www.sparkpeople.com

I go there, track my food and exercise while building a relationship with other women who are like me. This works best for me as I cannot afford Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig or any other weight lost program that requires hundreds of dollars and meetings. I have lost over 40lbs and counting. I am no longer on ANY medication. I work out in my house 5 days a week and joined a local co-ed flag football team where we play on Saturdays. To find local co-ed sports in your area try www.zogsports.com

I’m preparing to run a half marathon for Autism. There’s a great run group for Black women called Black Girl Run and they have chapters all over the nation. For a local run group in your area go to www.blackgirlsrun.com

You can eat healthy foods you like and incorporate an exercise regimen that works for you. If you work a 9-5 and can’t work out, small walks during lunch are better than not walking at all. I get it, the “busy” life! I wish Type 2 Diabetes understood a busy schedule, but it doesn’t!

Type 2 Diabetes can be reversed one day at a time but start now with small steps to avoid it!

By Dr. Holly Sawyer, PhD

Progress pictures of Holly below: