I Lost 30+ Pounds and Changed My Diabetes Diagnosis in 3 Months

by Ayesha Depay
|
October 15, 2022
woman with diabetes checking blood sugar
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After landing my dream job in March 2020, it was time to finally, at age 31, move from my home in New York City and live on my own in Virginia. Little did I know my dream would soon turn into a nightmare of working in health care during a global pandemic.

While living alone was planned, and freeing in some ways, some of my newfound freedom was handled in unhealthy ways. I never learned to cook, because in NYC I had access to a lot of home-cooked meals from my Caribbean mother and an African father. After moving, I found myself eating a lot at McDonald’s for lunch or dinner and pasta noodles from a box. I indulged in crab legs and lobster tails from my instant pot, as well as my all-time favorite cookie dough ice cream.

After years of neglect, I finally went to the dentist and found out I have eight cavities and a tooth in need of a root canal. Even then, it still didn’t dawn on me that I was a sugar addict. And yet, any negative emotion manifested in a craving: a bad day always ended in ice cream and a cure for my loneliness was a bag of honey BBQ chips. By August 2021, I was burnt out. I left my director position and took a remote position as an admission rep for a private college. I was depressed, alone, and using food to fill the void. Even though my diabetes diagnosis was devastating, I knew something had to give.

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On April 27, 2022, I called my girlfriends right after my doctor called with my A1C lab results. The A1C test is a blood test that provides information about your average levels of blood sugar, over the past 3 months. If your levels are 5.7 to 6.8 you are prediabetic. If they are above a 7 you’re a diabetic. My levels tested at 10.8. No wonder I had blurry vision at times while driving I thought I was just tired.

For the next three days, I drove my girlfriends crazy with morbid jokes about losing limbs and going blind. I did a lot of whining about all the foods I will never eat again. I was grieving. I cried while drinking a Sprite Zero in the car. “This is all my fault I did this to myself!” I wailed.

On the third day, my friend Kia had enough. She sat me down and told me that I can still eat the food I like, I just needed to learn moderation. In the moments to follow, my friends took care of me. They went grocery shopping with me, cooked for me, escorted me to my diabetic education appointments, and helped me practice my new moderation habits. After a lot of reflection and wisdom from others, I came to realize that I chose what was cheap and convenient over what tasted good or was good for me, and I knew I needed to change my outlook on food. I took the time to reconnect with my body, really listen to how I felt before and after a meal, and take note of what I truly needed. Once I made changes, I finally saw results.

I was rapidly losing because I was changing my lifestyle. You need a plan for when you have cravings, and for me, it was finally listening to my body’s truest needs. I had another A1C test done in June and my A1C is down to 6.8 and likely still dropping. My nurse practitioner said that if I keep this up eventually I will not need medication anymore and will be a diet-controlled diabetic.

For years, I coasted around 230 pounds. Today I am 198. I haven’t weighed under 200 pounds since I was a teenager. And now I am now proud to say, with good support and dedication, I now have a new problem: baggy clothes.

Read next: The Best Snack Combination for Your Blood Sugar

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