Two great decisions have formed my current and future life more than any others.
There are many similarities between the two: a deep yearning for something better but feeling stuck in what I should do, searching, finally making a decision and now, looking back with gratitude for the journey.
Sometimes the biggest decisions, the ones that shake you to the core, also bring the most growth and happiness.
I grew up in a cold weather climate and never liked it.
The land of ice and snow was my home for 32 years, all the while, I was dreaming of something else...
Yes, autumn was beautiful and snow was fun for a week, but then winter just felt oppressive: bundling up in several layers of clothing every time you wanted to leave the house; the slushy, dirty boots making a huge mess as they melted by the door; the difficult (and often dangerous) driving conditions; the dry, static of forced-air heat and it's affect on your hair, skin and eyes. I felt like a dry, shriveled raisin all winter long.
For as long as I can remember, I dreamt of warm weather; of mild winters and green grass all year round. I thought that I MUST escape my cold-weather home, but I didn't know how. Everyone I knew was in my town or surrounding area. You didn't leave there, that was life.
I used to rationalize my life there. Summer was nice. The city and people were wonderful, but I also suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), needed to use a light box and anti-depressives to get through the dark winter. It wasn't easy.
"Us Northerners" viewed warm-weather locations as foreign and exotic. They were somewhere to go for vacation but you never actually went there to LIVE. But imagine, being comfortable, being outdoors year-round. Kids in the playgrounds, no cold weather gear needed....
I started to try out warm places: Vacations in Mexico, Spain, Bermuda. The warm weather called to me like nothing else had.
I saw there was a lifestyle out there that would fit me better than where I was living; Not just the warm weather, but the pace of life, a walkable neighborhood, less stress and more family time.
Then, 10 years ago, my husband and I decided to move to South America. It was exciting, new, scary and something I had wanted to do forever. We worked really hard for two years (through the birth of our first child) to actually make it happen, but I'd felt wanderlust for my entire life and this was my/our chance.
While life in a foreign country is not always simple nor easy, we enjoyed a wonderful lifestyle in South America, in a temperate climate, free to explore and learn a new culture, language and people.
We've moved around since our years there, but we're still in a warm-weather land. I can appreciate where I grew up and dearly love the people who are still there, but I don't think I can live there again.
I know this place, this life, is right for me.
I view my escape from the frigid northland much like my escape from standard diabetes care.
Deep inside, I felt there HAD to be a better solution but I felt stuck in what I'd been doing for 14 years. I followed my doctors orders and went about my life. It was what I was expected to do, but I wasn't happy with the results.
I felt stuck. I was supposed to follow Drs advice. I rationalized it, I told myself that nothing was going to happen to me. Diabetic complications happened to other people. I was active. I'd be fine.... but yet I wondered.
My gut told me there HAD to be something that could help me feel better and avoid the high blood sugar levels that my doctors always criticized.
I tried various things: I completed 2 Whole30 months, I ate Paleo, I tried vegetarian, I read, researched and read some more. There had to be a way to achieve the blood glucose levels that the doctors wanted, but I didn't know how. I was doing what I should but I felt like I wasn't getting anywhere.
Then I found Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution. I read it and it sounded crazy. I was scared to make such a drastic change and told myself, "People just don't do that!" (kind of like moving to South America with a toddler and two dogs).
But my spirit said "This is your chance!"
It took me a year to listen to that nagging spirit, but I eventually listened, after trying EVERYTHING else I could find. I made the decision to drastically change my diet to improve my health.
The first week of eating low carb and following the Law of Small Numbers, I knew this was right for me and I had to stick with it. Has it always been easy? No, I even thought I was dying for a while. :) Have I grown and learned and experienced more, and met more wonderful people than I ever thought was possible? Absolutely.
I recently read a question,
"If diabetes were cured today, would you go back to the standard American Diet?"
No, I can't even imagine eating the way I did for so many years. Eating low carb is a habit now and seeing the results every day on my meter and Dexcom, with my energy level and weight, I am convinced that this is the way we're meant to eat.
I'm happy to have found my home.
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