Where I live in Vermont, the land wants to be forest.
Many generations ago, men toiled for years to cut down the trees and transform the land into pastures and gardens. Today, we can keep it that way, but it requires constant work. If you neglect your pastures, they quickly grow up with goldenrod, and then brush, and then trees and dense forest again. There’s a lot of this happening now, because the income from farming is so low.
To keep the land open, we have to pasture animals or mow the fields as well as mowing the lawns. Both are a lot of work.
When you have type 2 diabetes, your body usually wants to be fat.
No one has figured out yet why some bodies want to be fat and other bodies want to be thin, but it’s a fact. True, if you put a bunch of people on a starvation diet, they’ll all lose some weight, but at different rates. If you force feed the same bunch of people, they’ll all gain weight, again at different rates.
But in the real world, we don’t get fed meals with carefully controlled calorie and nutrient levels. Many factors affect what and how much we eat, including hunger, food availability, habit, visual cues, social cues, portion sizes, and many more.
Losing weight isn’t easy, but many people find it easier than keeping the weight off once it’s been lost. Like managing the pastures in Vermont, managing your weight when your body wants to be fat is a constant job. When you have diabetes, and you’re trying your best to manage that as well, sometimes managing your weight seems as impossible as mowing a big lawn after a couple of weeks of rain.
But we can’t give up, because managing our diet is an important part of managing our diabetes.
What works for me is a low-carb diet, which I’ve been following for almost 15 years. At first, I craved all the carby foods I couldn’t have, like bread, potatoes, and noodles. But I no longer do. I remember the constant hunger I had when I was on an American Diabetes Association low-fat, high-carb diet, constantly glancing at my watch to see if it was time for the next meal. When I ate, I didn’t feel satisfied.
Now I eat until I’m not hungry, and although I’m not losing any more weight, I’m not gaining any either. And the loss of potatoes and bread is compensated for by being able to eat real cheese and full-fat kefir I make myself.
It’s not fair, I think, when I see how much other people can eat without gaining weight. But then, life isn’t fair. We have to accept that the battle for a healthy weight, like the battle for healthy pastures in Vermont, is never going to go away.
But with vigilance, we can win the battle.
Driving down a country road and seeing cows peacefully grazing on a hillside with the sun setting behind them, I think it’s worth all that work to produce such a view. Surfing the Internet and seeing a photo of a formerly fat diabetic person now thin and enjoying outdoor recreation, I think it’s worth all that work for such a result as well.