Carol was in denial about her Type 2 diabetes for years, but is now training for a triathlon and determined to live a long happy life. Here, she shares her top tips.
Swimming regularly works for Carol
With careful management, diabetes doesn’t have to seriously affect everyday life. But maintaining a healthy weight through eating a healthy diet and taking regular exercise is essential to managing Type 2 diabetes well and Carol explains that her family members who have Type 2 diabetes don’t do a lot of physical activity.
Carol saw first-hand the effects of poorly managed diabetes, having looked after her father who suffered many diabetes-related complications including eye problems and a leg amputation.
But she remained in denial about her own diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes for years. It was only after the third time she was diagnosed with cancer that she started to take it seriously.
Carol says: “I had battled with my weight my entire life, but after a complete hysterectomy in 2013 I put on a lot of extra weight. This made managing my diabetes much harder. I became very unfit and developed a very high blood sugar count. I found it difficult to motivate myself to do anything.”
Carol decided to take control of the situation and attended a Diabetes UK Living With Diabetes Day. “I learned so much,” she says. “I thought I knew my stuff having been surrounded by people with diabetes for 20 years, but I learned lots and it really spurned me on to sort myself out.
“I have now joined Slimming World and a health club where I swim three times a week, which is not only good for me physically but also mentally. It is my time: I swim, I think, I relax. “It is so important to find an exercise you enjoy, or you will not keep it up.”
Carol’s tip in the book focused on why swimming works for her. “Find exercise that works for you – something you enjoy,” it reads. “I love swimming, it’s my peace and quiet time.”
Carol has lost over a stone by attending Slimming World and plans to lose another stone over the next year. She is also turning 60 this year and is planning to undertake a 60 miles in 60 hours triathlon for charity to celebrate the milestone. The challenge is due to take place in September and she is starting training in February.
Carol says: “So I am achieving what I set out to achieve. To be fit enough to play with my lovely young grandchildren and to live a long happy life with my wonderful new wife. I am determined to take control of my diabetes and not let it control me.”