How One Woman Reversed Her Diabetes Through Healthy Eating & Exercise
Tiff McFierce got a pretty big scare when her doctor told her she had diabetes. Originally, her blood sugar numbers were in the prediabetic range, but she wasn't able to stick to healthier habits consistently, and at her next visit they had gone up. That was what it took for her to really turn healthy into a lifestyle and not just something that lasted for a little while. Watch her take you through a day in her life to see how she's staying healthy and taking care of herself from breakfast through a dinner out on the town and then learn more about her journey in this inspiring interview.
Watch: How One Woman Reversed Her Diabetes in Four Months
We talked to her while she was in her kitchen cooking up quinoa and broccoli (true story) to find out how she stays motivated, what her diagnosis felt like, how she learned to love vegetables and more.
Learn More: 12 Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar
How did it feel when you first talked to your doctor about prediabetes?
I was very disappointed. I have been challenged in the past with overeating and binge eating and I felt that something was wrong. I was really disappointed because I had a feeling something was coming. I was trying to figure out if I was going to be able to fix it and how.
You tried to make changes and they didn't necessarily stick until you went back and your doctor told you your blood sugar levels had progressed to having diabetes. Did that motivate you more?
Hearing diabetes let me know, I am actually sick. It was a fact. I needed to make sure that I could continue to be healthy. I had been practicing healthy eating and learning more about that for years. I read everything. I research what I eat. I had already progressed with my education, so now I had to put it into practice. I needed to tackle what was going on underneath the surface, because you'll never be healthy if you don't. You'll go back and forth and back and forth. I never knew what it was to nourish my body and I had to learn. I had to dig deeper.
Once you tackle what you're eating you have to tackle why you're eating certain things. The diabetes made me realize that you can hurt yourself with food. The diabetes slapped me in the face and woke me up and helped me learn how to nourish my body. Cold turkey has never worked for me. I can do it for weeks, even months, but it doesn't work for the long haul. I need to live my life and be realistic. I needed to make healthy changes little by little and be gentle with myself, not try to be a raw vegan by Thursday.
Did your doctor recommend trying lifestyle changes before exploring other treatment options?
When I did get diabetes, I switched doctors because my old doctor suggested medicine right away. She knew I was challenged with eating, so she wanted to help. I switched doctors because I knew what I needed to do. I told myself, "I've done it, I can do it."
I talked about making lifestyle changes with my new doctor. She didn't want to put me on medicine, but told me I had to make changes with food. She helped a lot. I knew I could do it, but needed support. She took the time to sit with me and talk and tell me to get serious. I needed to advocate for myself. If you can, its important to get a second opinion, do your research and find a treatment plan that you're comfortable with.
Get More: Packable Diabetes-Friendly Lunches
Speaking of support, have your friends and family been supportive of your lifestyle changes?
People can only be as supportive to you as they are to themselves. I've said things to my family and friends to let them know "I might eat this, but don't want to eat that," if we're eating together. I ask them to help me out and, say, tap me on the shoulder if I'm reaching for certain foods. I have also told my friends there are certain things I don't want to do. I don't want to just go out to drinks, so maybe invite me somewhere else.
Some people are not ready for the changes I am making. So I'm finding new support systems-people who eat vegan, people who work out more often. My close friends sat down with me and said, "What do you need from us?" That was great. Some of my friends said, "I need to eat better too. Do you need me to eat greens with you?" Sometimes people can't follow through. I try to meet people where they are and meet myself where I am.
What have been the biggest challenges you've faced when making healthy changes to your diet?