We all know I haven’t been around much the last couple weeks. A few of us know why, and a few of us don’t.

It’s hardly a secret that I am overweight. There seem to be a lot of us. I’ve been amazed at the number of authors and readers and editors and publishers and artists and what have you, that are overweight, that are on diets, that exercise like there’s no tomorrow, that want to change their bodies, etc… I was glad to not be alone, but, I was kinda sad about it, too.

We work in a relatively sedentary profession. We sit for hours on our asses writing, editing, reading, blogging. We often don’t eat right, going whole 12 and 14 hour periods without food or drink, though most can’t get through the day without a couple pots of coffee…grins. Some of us exercise, but probably not as often or as consistently as we should. Heck, my heroines are full in the caboose and aside from the sweaty, near constant romps in the sheets, I don’t mention exercise at all in my books. And we all know I write about decadent desserts and yummy foods.

I will continue to write full-figured heroines because I’ll never see single digit clothing again (those are the genes talking, you know, the things charts don’t take into account) and because there’s a inherent vulnerability in full women now. For the most part we aren’t seen as beautiful and sexy and everyone is always talking about toning up those curves, losing the belly flab.

Over the last few months, Mandy Roth has talked on Twitter about her weight loss and how she’s done it. It’s very inspiring and I actually started to put into practice some of her methods. But at that point, this idea I had to lose some weight and get healthy was still a want. I wanted to do it. I even tried a little here and there. It wasn’t though until my husband was diagnosed with diabetes a couple weeks ago that I started understanding the difference between want to and have to.

He’s only 20lbs over where he and the Dr want him to be weight wise. 20lbs. Me, I’m… well, about quadruple that 20lbs over…

In the last 11 days, I have read more on nutrition and exercise than I have in my entire life. I have read about carbs and fiber and calories and blood sugar and glucose levels. I have read and studied so much because…I have to. I have seen what happens to a diabetic person that I care deeply for that didn’t take care of himself. He was just 29 when he died. Five years prior to that, he was brimming with health and life and a new marriage. By the time he passed, he’d had both legs amputated, his kidneys were failing, he’d had 2 massive heart attacks, and a host of other problems. The image of him in the casket has stayed with me for so very long and that was the first image to come to mind when I was told my husband has diabetes.

I don’t know what the future holds for my anything, but while I’m here in this house, changes can be made. It’s not just him that’s affected by this. It’s everyone. It changes how we eat, how we think about food, how we buy it, fix it. It changes how we treat it. It changes outlooks and viewpoints overnight and suddenly the ‘I want to lose weight and be healthy’ becomes ‘I NEED to lose weight and be healthy’.

My husband is a take things in stride, we’ll deal with it when it gets here kind of person. But sometimes waiting for it to get here is the wrong thing to have been doing. I realize that now more than at any other time in my life. He is taking this very calmly and while I have not freaked out about it, I am concerned and I want to learn as much as I can so I know how best to help him and myself. I want to help my kids learn about this because it can be hereditary.

So, the changes in attitude are good and have strong motivators behind them. It should never take something like this to prompt us toward better health and care of ourselves and fuller lives. We should embrace those things from early on, but somewhere amidst the grind of life, we lose it.

Since his diagnosis, I have read tons of blogs, a few books, purchased 4 new cookbooks, an exchange guide, talked with people that have diabetes, and cried all over again for our friend that passed 13 years ago. We have cut out roughly 80% of the processed foods (weening the kids is harder than the adults, but we still have some stuff for us too like ff/sf pudding, sf ice cream, light popcorn), many more fresh fruits and veggies, packs of frozen veggies and some fruits, brown rice, multi-grain and whole wheat pasta (which I’ve been doing for years already), light whole wheat bread (again, been doing that for years), cooking from scratch a lot more, water instead of soda (though there are Crystal Light packets),  and portion sizes. Portion size has been the bitch. He’s had to start eating much more often than he was, roughly 5 times a day, small portions, but it’s keeping his blood sugar pretty level and he’s not feeling the fluctuation and drop like he was. We are still awaiting our first appointment with the dietitian to go over his specific carb level needs, but right now we’re roughly between 100 and 150 grams a day.

Me, I’ve taken to eating 6 small meals a day and keeping my carbs lower. I am doing this right along with him and slowly helping the kids to make adjustments too. He needs my support and one of the ways I can give it is to eat the way he now has to eat. I will say it has made me feel better, too.

I am walking more as well. Exercise is a key component of this diet controlled diabetes and while my DH would rather play hard at sports, his Dr said he needed other exercise as well, like walking or jogging or something to help improve his circulation and cardiovascular health. Hopefully one day he’ll heed that advice. I can’t make him do it. I can cook the right foods and he will eat them, but, I can’t force the other part of this regimen on him.

It was a wake up call. A very dear person to me told me how worried they are about this illness with my husband and I know that to be true, but they are also concerned and worried for me and how I handle it. It is a big life change, but one that once fully implemented and normal, we will be healthier, wiser, and better off.

There is no cure for diabetes. It can be managed with diet, exercise, and at times medication, but there is no cure.

And I am tired of being overweight, tired of hurting when I move, tired of not being able to look myself in the mirror and smile, loving my curves. This is more than me wanting to fit into a smaller size or look sexier in that lingerie. It goes beyond ‘reward yourself when you do good and stick to it’.

The diabetes wasn’t my diagnosis, but it was my wake up call that I needed a change in attitude.

Have a wonderful weekend.

~lissa