I was diagnosed a little over a year ago with type 2 diabetes after a routine checkup revealed my A1C of 10.8%.
After a good talk with my doctor, I gave myself a month to panic and feel sorry for myself - and to come up with a plan on how to deal with this.
After that month, I Googled a lot and found a bunch of technology to help. First, I found One Drop and ordered a meter immediately. I'd need the data to see what worked and what didn't. I liked the style: it feels less like a medical device and more like a high-tech product that you'd choose to use.
The app is great and the tips are often good inspiration.
Then, I got an Apple Watch to motivate me to move more. I also got a smart scale and a treadmill. The doctor prescribed Metformin, which I've been diligently taking ever since.
I also decided that it would be folly to make all the changes I needed to make at the same time. That's how diets are broken and gym memberships go unused.
Diabetes Hacks I’ve Learned Along the Way
So the first step would be eating more healthy. I went to a diabetes class that helped a lot to come up with a good and balanced way of eating, and I slowly but surely changed my eating habits for the better.
I also set myself a goal of actively moving for at least 30 minutes each day. I started walking to work, and taking longer and longer walks. In a few months I’d more or less stopped using my car! I realized, most things I needed to get to were within walking distance.
My main focus for this new way of life is what I called DESS: Diet, Exercise, Stress and Sleep. All of these needed to be managed to get the glucose levels in a healthy range.
Focusing on DESS took me down 60 pounds. Then came time for phase 3 in my plan: building muscle to help eat up the glucose when activated.
I signed up for strength training and have been doing 3 sessions a week for three months now. I've added a bit of weight back, but changed the shape of my body considerably. I've got "guns" now and seriously broad shoulders. I can fit into all kinds of cool clothing!
Also, having muscle is great for cheating. If I decide to sin on the carb side, all I have to do is activate the muscles in the body by going for a brisk walk. The muscles open up and gobble up all the sugar they can get. Problem solved!
The best part? My one-year checkup had my A1C at 6.3%.
I am not the only person I know with diabetes. My dad and many of his friends also have diabetes. When they saw how much success I was having, they asked me to share my secrets. So I put together a website: Duck Diabetes.
I've gotten tons of feedback from people telling me how much the site helps them stay informed and makes the whole process a little less scary.
Most importantly, I want people to know that you can have a life outside of and beyond diabetes.
My life in Portland, Oregon, is awesome. I'm married with two grown kids. All three of them have been cheerleaders in this, helping me and challenging me to stick to the plan.
My software company, Bucket Gigs, helps people sell more tickets to their live events. I’m helping bring more rock and roll to the world! I love going to concerts. And there are tons of bands I never got to see back in the day!
Many of them are touring again. So I put together this site that helps fans connect to those bands they were never able to see before! I’m going through my own list and making sure I see them all: Toto, Queen, U2, and Tears for Fears have all been checked off my list.
My wife and I decided a while ago to spend our money on experiences instead of things, so we travel and go to a lot of concerts. I also sail! I’m originally from Iceland, where I was the captain of my sailing team, which won the national championship seven years in a row!
Right now, I am extremely proud of having been able to make the changes in my life to kick diabetes butt. But overall, I am most proud of having taken part in raising two fantastic, independent young women. Don't tell them, though. 🤫
The Best Form of Diabetes Treatment
One question I keep getting is
“So, you can't eat... carbs, breads, pasta, sweets…”
I try to explain that I can eat anything I want, it just has to be balanced. And that there are consequences that must be dealt with if I choose to eat this way.
But it is absolutely not a pain at dinner parties or at restaurants, and I never say "I can't eat this.”
I just eat a lot less of the bad stuff and more of the good stuff. And when I sin, I make it count. As cheesy as it sounds, it’s all about moderation. It really is the key.