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How I beat my Diabetes with diet and lifestyle changes without any medications

Updated: Jul 17, 2022

In September 2020, I saw redness in one of my eyes. For someone who uses contact lenses, I had experienced redness in my eyes before. In the past, it meant a couple of weeks of break from my contact lenses and some mild medications. This time, however, the eye condition seemed a little different. When I visited the ophthalmologist, he suggested that I check my blood glucose levels as well. This took me a little by surprise. My immediate reaction was that of astonishment because I wasn’t one of those who had a sweet tooth. When I mulled over the matter more, I realized that my stress levels were quite high. It was the first phase of COVID and Work From Home brought its own share of stress. I went ahead with the blood sample for the glucose test – Fasting and Post Prandial as they are referred to.

I had a reading of 96 mg/dl fasting and 110 mg/dl post-prandial. I was advised that those are within limits. I felt momentary relief but something still didn’t feel right. I shared these results with my family doctor in Hyderabad who suggested that I should get a HbA1C test done to understand my average glucose levels over a three-month window because the glucose tests I had done were static and only conveyed the status of that day's glucose levels. And voila! I had a reading of 6.2% Hba1c which indicated that I was pre-diabetic. There, obviously, was panic. Should I start medicines? What does this mean in the long run? No one in my family had diabetes … How was I turning diabetic? So many such questions. Fortunately for me, my family doctor advised against any medicine. He suggested that the increased levels could be on account of stress and the Hba1c test must be repeated after 3 months to consider medication or not. I had work stress and life stress and so, that advice made sense. I weighed about 75 kg and my BMI wasn’t ideal either.

I moved from Kolkata to Gurgaon. I initiated morning walks. It was winter time in Gurgaon and for NCR folks, it means good food time. My Hba1c concern moved away from my conscious mind. Once in a while, I was careful with my food but I didn’t follow any specific diet. But then, in January, I started Ashtanga Yoga twice a week and I also became far more serious about my morning walks. I started jogging and became more conscious about my added sugar and bread consumption. I also significantly increased my water consumption. Did I get the Hba1c checked in January 2021? No, I didn’t. Should I have? Certainly, yes.

By March 2021, my weight was now at about 67 kg and it certainly felt good. Around mid-April 2021 though, I was tested COVID-positive. My weight plummeted to 64 kg but as part of recovery, I was put on steroids. I also consumed a lot of market available fruit juices to help with my energy levels. However, again something didn’t feel right - fatigue and drowsiness all day through. That’s when I decided to get another Hba1c test done. The result was 6.6% which meant that I was a full-blows diabetic because I was on this side of the threshold of 6.5%. Fortunately again, for me, my doctor rightly advised that the increase in Hba1c was due to intake of steroids and lack of diet control.

So, after the advised rest period post recovery from COVID, I resumed my walks, yoga, diet control, 8 glasses of water and starting my day with fenugreek seeds soaked overnight in a glass of water. A 12-13 hour fast between dinner and breakfast was also started. A blood test after 45 days in mid-July showed Hba1c again at 6.2%. So, that was a relief because I had gone under the Diabetes threshold again. I have been analyzing my food intake and composition. I also track my fluid, rice and gluten intake. I do have cheat days but I have been striving to adhere to the exercise and food regime because I understand the importance of keeping my Hba1c level under control.

Roopa's Pre and Post Diabetes Weight Loss Transformation Image
Roopa's Pre and Post Diabetes Weight Loss Transformation

I still have a long way to go to bring my Hba1c to normal levels (5.7% or lower). I am not undermining medicines and their impact but it’s important to focus on the root cause (in my case, stress and COVID related lack of diet control) and on mind-body balance. Medicines alone won’t do the trick. Neither will diet alone nor will exercise alone. A combination and a balanced approach is more likely to work. In my case, I have been fortunate to also have advice from a good doctor who didn’t push me to start medications right away but helped me listen to what my body and mind had to say.


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