An unsuccessful success story
As I began writing my own story, I reflected on my entire life and family, and my heart wells up in tears. Why?
“Diabetes is a very serious and debilitating disease. I come from an Asian family (Filipino). We are six siblings. Four brothers and one sister have some level of diabetes. My parents were also diabetics (both deceased).
“Our present diabetic treatments ranged from strictly diet (me) to other family members taking medication, insulin, or dialysis three times a week. All siblings range in ages 62-74 years old. I have no control on what each of my siblings’ health practices are with regards to their diabetes. However, I now live by the adage, ‘eat to live, not live to eat.’ Though diet is only one factor that plays a keen role in this process, I had to face the fact that I could not allow food to control me. I use the word ‘unsuccessful’ in the title of this story because I still have triggers that are very difficult to control.
“Food is an addiction! I have made headway, and I’m still a work in progress. All I can do is take it ‘one meal at a time.’
“I have curtailed my meals to two meals a day. I can live with two meals. Some of you may not be able to. That’s your business. If I get a hunger pang, I’ll snack on something to kill the pang. Lately I’ve been able to bring my numbers down with this new habit. My numbers in the morning before breakfast are 130-140 [mg/dL]. In the evening before dinner, it drops to 88-112.
“The bane in my diet is rice. I’ve curtailed that to three tablespoons every other day. Rice is a cultural thing with Asians. It’s in our DNA. There are just some meals that go perfectly with rice. You can’t substitute anything else. Somehow you feel insatiated if you don’t eat rice. I could go without bread, pasta, or potatoes; but rice, like a friend said, ‘I’ll die if I can’t eat rice.’ I know there are substitutes like cauliflower rice or brown rice (lesser of two evils), but it’s just not the same.
“Desserts were also a cross I could not totally cross out. I’ve compromised to indulge my sweet tooth only on weekends. It’s been a long journey and I’m not totally there yet. But I’ve sensed a change in my overall disposition, outlook constitution, as well as my physical, spiritual, and emotional life.
“I was 192 lbs. height 6’ 1” when I started. I’m still the same height but I am 180 lbs. now. This was a slow process. But it’s working.
“I work out five days a week physically by playing Pickleball 2 hours a day competitively. My goal is to weigh 175 lbs.
“This whole process doesn’t happen overnight. You can put yourself and your body through a phase that works for you. As they say in AA, ‘one day at a time.’ And no matter what happens (triggers, falling backwards, or relapsing) in your own personal journey, keep coming back to the regimen that you need to stay healthy. The unsuccessful times will turn successful if you stay the course.
“It’s okay to be discouraged, but don’t dwell there too long. Say, ‘It’s history, move on.’ As long as you keep coming back and trying again. Take it one step at a time. Above all, I pray you succeed in all you are undertaking. You can do this!”
Joc Anderson is a retired Doctor of Psychology who practiced addictive personality disorder therapy (food, gambling, drug/alcohol, sex, and credit card).