In 1998, Shelby Kinnaird was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and used this diagnosis as an opportunity to work on improving her health. “My doctor sent me to a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE*) right away, and she taught me to use the exchange program, which was more common than carbohydrate counting at the time,” she says. Kinnaird kept a notebook handy at all times and carefully noted every food exchange. At her CDE’s request, she also checked her blood glucose three times a day, once in the morning to gauge her fasting glucose, once before leaving for work, and once before bed. Kinnaird says that her blood glucose stayed mostly in range while she was losing weight, particularly since she so closely followed the eating plan laid out by her CDE. Within nine months, she had dropped a total of thirty pounds – a whopping five dress sizes, going from a size fourteen to a four. “I had to buy a whole new wardrobe!” she exclaims.
Shelby Kinnaird and her husband, Rick, in the Bahamas.
A few years later, she met her now husband, and, during a period of high-stress jobs and quite frequent restaurant meals, she gained back ten of those thirty pounds. “Restaurant food is not diet-friendly for me! I had to force myself to cook at home after long days at the office, which was a challenge,” she says. “I also had to discipline myself to pack a lunch and snacks each day. It was difficult for me to make my health a higher priority than my job because I was very career-driven at the time.” But she stuck with it, and after a few months managed to pare off those regained pounds, and has kept them off ever since.
These days, Kinnaird is a food blogger and a web designer. She started her blog, Diabetic Foodie in 2010 because, she says, “I love food and I wasn’t impressed with a lot of the ’diabetic’ cookbooks out there. I’m not a fan of artificial ingredients or convenience foods – I want to eat real food in the quantities that my body can handle.” Here, she shares some of the tips that have helped her maintain her weight loss for the past fourteen years:
Befriend your scale. “I weigh myself every morning as soon as I roll out of bed. If my weight is up over yesterday, I know I need to be more careful about how I eat.”
Track it. “If I’m actively trying to lose weight, I track everything I put in my mouth, as well as any physical activity I do. I’ve done it with pen and paper, but now I use an app for my phone called Nutrition Menu and a website called My Fitness Pal. The only thing that works for me is to keep track.”
Use smaller plates. “I use a smaller salad-size plate instead of a dinner-sized one. When you see the amount of food you should be eating on a large plate, it doesn’t look like much and you feel deprived. If the food fills up the plate; the small plate has a more positive psychological impact on me.”
Cook at home. “I cook at home most of the time, so I can control the amount of calories, carbs, fat, and sodium in my food.”
Mini meals at restaurants. “When I do eat out, I usually order an appetizer and a salad or a cup of soup. Entrees in most restaurants are just too huge for me alone. If my husband and I eat out together, we sometimes share one appetizer and one entree. If I do order an entree, I ask for a box right away and put half in the box.”
Elizabeth Goodman Artis is a writer and editor with nearly twenty years of experience at some of the top women’s magazines in the country. She has held senior editorial positions at Cosmopolitan, Fitness, and Prevention, and is currently the Executive Editor of Muscle & Fitness Hers. She lives in Brooklyn. Artis is a paid contributor for The DX. All opinions contained in this article reflect those of the contributor, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies, or affiliates.
*“Certified Diabetes Educator” and “CDE” are certification marks owned and registered by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE). NCBDE is not affiliated in any way with Sanofi US. NCBDE does not sponsor or endorse any diabetes-related products or services.
© 2013 The DX: The Diabetes Experience