I have prediabetes? I mean, doctor, are you sure? I’m 23 years old.
My doctor slowly nodded his head. “Your test results indicate a condition known as fatty liver and your blood sugar levels are showing that you’re on the way to developing diabetes,” he replied.
I was in shock.
I wasn’t exactly a healthy eater, but I’d been a varsity long-distance runner in high school. I didn’t realize how much I’d changed. My post-high school lifestyle of avoiding regular exercise and eating take-out on a constant basis had clearly taken its toll.
“How serious is this?” I asked.
“You’re what we call clinically obese,” the doctor said. “And if you don’t start committing to a healthier diet, you could very well become a diabetic”
In the five years since completing high school, I had avoided seeing a doctor. I was gaining weight, which I knew any doctor would frown upon, and I kind of just assumed that I was healthy, with a few unhealthy habits that I would change one day. However, I’d been noticing health problems arising over the past few years like chronic headaches, muscle spasms, and joint pain. I told myself, day after day, “Oh, I’ll just work out tomorrow,” or “I swear, I’ll start my diet tomorrow.” But, “tomorrow” would come and go, and I wasn’t making any changes. . Every day, my unhealthy habits became worse. From munching on chips and having my eyes glued to the TV to compulsively drinking bottle after bottle of soda. Not to mention, I could feel the legitimate embarrassment when going out with my wife. Although she was supportive of my unhealthy actions, I could tell that continuing in the direction of diabetes wasn’t going to end well for either of us.
So, how do I feel as a young man who has been diagnosed clinically obese with prediabetes? The truth is, I don’t really feel that way. It’s been hard to accept that the list of potential diabetes complications are things that could happen to me, even though I rationally understand my diagnosis. That’s probably why in the period right after my diagnosis, some daysI dove back into the jnk food and some I stuck with a strict diet and went out for a run. I was yo-yo-ing and unsure where to turn. I knew, however, I couldn’t keep up making excuses, and allowing myself to ignore the truth about my body’s response to excess weight. But, am I really obese? I know what an obese person looks like and I genuinely don’t believe I look like that, which makes it even harder for me to swallow the truth. Although diabetes runs in my family, I never thought I would develop the disease, and certainly not in my early 20s!
Over the past month, I’ve turned over a new leaf. Not only for my health, but for my wife and the family we might be creating in the future. I’ve started working out on a regular basis, Monday through Friday, at my local Planet Fitness. Also, I started intermittent fasting and I’m a focused on consuming fewer carbs. After the first week of my new routine, I was incredibly surprised. I lost 3 pounds, and I’m I’m hoping to keep up those results and lose 75 pounds by next year. That will put me at 160 pounds, my average weight in high school.
So far, my doctor loves my new direction, so does my wife, and so do I. The key is to stick with it, stay on top of my blood sugar levels, and make sure I go to all my follow up appointments. So far so good. I keep reminding myself to do this one day at a time, and that with dedication and hard work, my body will become strong and healhty again.