After being diagnosed in 2005 with Type 2 diabetes I spent much of my time following that diagnosis acting like nothing was wrong. I ate what I wanted, didn’t check my blood sugar and didn’t take any medications that were prescribed. I was slowly killing myself. I was already doing that by being morbidly obese, which most likely brought on the diabetes in the first place. Even after three different hospital stays with cellulites, which is common for diabetics, I never got the hint, probably deteriorating my body more and more with each passing day.
Back in April after 6 years I started taking my life back. I decided it was time to start living my life how it should be lived, with me as a priority. I told a friend I had the idea of running a 5k at the end of the summer somewhere around my 32nd birthday. He was immediately on board and said he would need some training first.
I didn’t expect this response from him or anyone.
I have been obese for all of my adult life and most of my adolescent years as well. I guess I was more surprised that he took me seriously. At the time I didn’t even take myself seriously. On April 29th I had a friend ask me to go for a walk. We walked around Como Lake; here and now was where my journey began.
I started walking. I started out slow, walking a mile here, a mile there. Then one day I wanted to try to walk a 5k (3.1 miles). I had an application on my phone that mapped out my walk so that I could see when I was at 1.55 miles and then turn around thereby completing the course. I actually turned around at 1.6 and headed back home. I went just over the 3.1 miles and did it in a little over an hour.
Since then, I haven’t looked back. I got a doctor appointment after not seeing a doctor for about a year. My appointment wasn’t until June so I still had plenty of time to walk. I found another application on my phone and was able to begin documenting everything I ate. I started counting calories and made sure I stayed under 2500 calories a day. Do this for a few days and then you realize how many calories you were eating before hand. At the end of May I even began my own personal blog to document my weight loss journey for everyone to view and to help keep me on track. By the end of May I had walked a total of forty-five miles.
I went to the doctor and expected it to be like normal. Get a scolding from the doctor about not doing anything about my life. From the last time I was weighed back in March I had lost twenty-one pounds. I couldn’t have had a bigger smile on my face. I had all my blood tests ran and the next day the doctor called me with the results. He was stunned at how good they were. He expected my A1c to be between 10-12 and it was 8!!!. My LDL cholesterol was fine and he had taken me off the medication I was on previously, but was not taking. He even took me off the meal time insulin I was on and drastically reduced the number of units on the night time insulin. I kept walking in the month of June and walked two official 5k’s with my time getting faster on each one. I ended June walking a total of 62.5 miles.
Since the end of June I have gotten a gym membership and haven’t done much walking. I started hitting the elliptical. This machine wasn’t so nice at first as it was tough to just go a few minutes. After only going three quarters of a mile previously, last Tuesday(July 12) I was going to go twenty minutes. I got to twenty minutes and decided I was going two miles no matter what. I got there and every work out since I’ve gone two miles. I have mixed in weights as well and there is no better feeling that seeing my shirt full of sweat from burning calories. I’ve walked three official 5k’s this summer, and I hope to complete at least 5.
On July 9th I did the Challenge Charities- Challenge Diabetes 5k in St. Paul. There were only a few diabetics there to race. Knowing that the rest of the people were there to hear me speak made me tear up. I decided that this would be my cause to fight for. I have since registered for the Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes and plan to advocate for this terrible disease as much as I can.
This whole process has been emotional and trying but with the support of my family and friends I will get healthy one step at a time and defeat this disease and put years back on my life.
By Josh Pelant