Friday, January 13, 2012

Diets & Diabetes: What Is A Food Blogger To Do?

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you have seen me detail some rather decadent and fattening meals. I have dined out at hundreds of restaurants, sampled goodies from numerous bakeries, and savored treats from many other places as well. I am not alone, and many other food bloggers are in a similar situation. We have many opportunities to eat, and often avail ourselves, with the intention of providing our readers some worthy writing. I don't regret any of it.

But, I recently received a wake-up call, that there can be a price to pay for all of this drinking and dining. I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, the most common form of diabetes and a disease that affects millions of people worldwide. Sure, that was a scary diagnosis but my blood sugar level was rather borderline and it seemed possible to control it without the need for drugs, just through diet and lifestyle changes. Armed with a blood sugar detector, I was sent home to see if I could make the necessary changes to my life.

I read up on diabetes, consulting resources like the Joslin Diabetes Center, as I wanted to be as informed as possible so that I could best defeat my problem. I pondered a number of questions. How does a food blogger diet, yet still enjoy the food they eat? Some bloggers take the route of detailing their diets, posting about the recipes they use, but I did not want to go that route. How do you diet during the holiday season, as my diet started on December 13? Some would think I was crazy to start at that time, but it was necessary to deal with my diabetic condition. Which specific diet, out of the hundreds out there, should I follow? Or should I not follow any specific one?

It is now exactly one month after I started my diet. I am proud to report that I have lost 15 pounds and my blood sugar levels now appear to be within normal levels. That does not mean there is no longer a need to continue my good work. I should continue to lose additional weight and keep an eye on my blood sugar levels. But, it is a very good start and indicative that I can do it if I so choose.

How did I do it? The key was discipline, using my willpower to control what I ate. I don't care what diet you choose to follow, if you lack the willpower to follow it, then you will fail. I did not follow any specific diet, rather instead just following some good, general nutritional advice. I cut portions sizes and greatly reduced my usual after-dinner snacking. I also tried to reduce my overall intake of carbohydrates, to help reduce my blood sugar. When I dined out though, I did not generally restrict myself. I didn't want to turn dining out in a chore, I wanted it to remain something special. And finally, I exercised more, primarily doing more walking. All of this was sufficient to lose 15 pounds so I must have been doing something right.

This is not going to turn into a diet/health/nutrition blog and I may only mention this issue a few more times during 2012. It is a personal issue but I hope that it gives some inspiration to anyone else in the same position. It is not easy and requires discipline to accomplish your goals, but it is within your grasp if you truly want it. Kudos and good luck to all of my readers currently dieting or facing some type of medical condition which affects what they can eat.  

22 comments:

Adam Japko said...

Great news Rich....now, if you start adding green where there is red in your diet, imagine that.....you would need a whole new wardrobe. Congrats on finding a path to rework eating and health without having to lose your passion.

Richard Auffrey said...

Thanks very much Adam. And I have been actually eating more salads with dinner.

David Dadekian said...

Nice work, Rich. I'm struggling with this a bit myself (cholesterol vs. diabetes, but health nonetheless). I haven't found the willpower quite yet, but I'm working toward it. Great story. Thanks.

authorjaneward said...

And thanks for sharing so openly and honestly. Type 2 diabetes is a diagnosis given with more and more frequency these days. Your story of the road to better health will certainly give others a great deal of inspiration to find their own way.

Alana Gentry said...

RIchard, good for you for getting a hold of it and then doing everything right. I have bad genes & was diagnosed as pre-diabetic at age 15, I'd probably had it for years. I was skinny-mini. I struggled in my teens & when I got on my own. I finally found a good endocrinologist who helped me understand how to get it under control. You are totally right, it takes will power but as you can see the pay off helps with that struggle. Cheers to you mate!

Todd - VT Wine Media said...

Keep walking man, it is the best all around fitness regimen, and it allows us to take in the world at a human pace. Some Yoga and Chi Gong should be next on your list ;)
Smaller portions are definitely part of the formula, and the old Okinawan saying "Hara Hachi Bu" Eat until 80 % full, is one that has been very beneficial for me...deals more with the internal state than externalities.
Also remember seeing some reference to a study last year, that says wine WITH the meal promotes better digestion, and better regulation of blood sugar, than eating or drinking alone.
Cheers!

Richard Auffrey said...

Thanks so much for the support and encouragement!

Wine Harlots said...

Thanks for writing about the dark side of the food and wine writing. (It's all fun and games until a blogger has a coronary...)

I'm so glad you're back on the road to health -- and showing that small changes in diet and exercise can make huge differences in our health. And so glad you didn't have a Freakout Sally moment and go vegan.

Cheers to you,

Nannette Eaton

My So-Called American Life said...

Congratulations! It is challenging to find the right balance between healthy and tasteful, flavorful dishes. Especially if dining AND drinking is one's passion.

Wine Harlots said...

"The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not." -- Mark Twain

Richard Auffrey said...

Thanks as well!

And Nannette, there is absolutely no chance of me going vegan. They would have to pry the meat from my cold, dead hands.

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Keep it up sir,
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