Cville Woman Reverses Diabetes Diagnosis With Lifestyle Change
A Charlottesville woman is proving that being diagnosed with a disease or disorder does not necessarily mean a lifetime of medication.
Tamyca Brown was diagnosed with pre-diabetes about 6 years ago.
"At first I was shocked and not afraid... I was a little concerned," she said.
Soon that concern gave way to a more complacent attitude.
"I was just like 'oh well, it's just, you know, something's got to change. Something I got to take medicine for... I didn't really think of the importance of changing your diet... eating right," Brown said.
But last summer Brown decided to get fit.
"I really needed to do something to change this... and to know that I could change from the way that I was eating," she said. "The Lord gave me the strength to do what I need to do and as I changed things... I saw it was possible."
Before, Brown was eating a lot of carbohydrates, pasta and sweets. "And not understanding what I was putting in my body was really hurting me instead of helping me," she said.
In June, she started exercising more and watching what she eats. She now goes to ACAC four to five days a week, does exercise tapes, walks, and runs.
She's changed her diet to include lots of fruits and vegetables. And says she keeps carbs to 40 grams a meal.
"I don't write it down. I'm not in a program. I just started changing and exercising," she said.
That change helped Brown to lose 90 pounds.
"It's amazing what modest lifestyle changes can do for diseases like diabetes," said Rita Smith, registered dietician and diabetes educator.
Smith says battling disease through a healthy diet is becoming a trend.
"I think part of it, for the folks I see, they want to take control of what is going on in their body," Smith said.
"Modifying your diet by cutting back on carbs, having three meals a day, not skipping breakfast, spreading your carbohydrates out throughout the day... those are all little tips and tricks for getting blood sugars down and may actually be enough to get a person off medications," said Smith.
But she says it takes a long-term vision of your health to make this work.
"You know, you're not dieting short term, you're not going to pitch in for exercise for a few weeks and then quit, so for those people who have the long term vision of the changes that they'll make, they have a really good chance of decreasing the meds or getting off of them and staying off of them for many, many years," Smith said. "Whatever they do to get off the meds. They have to keep it up. Therein lies the challenge."
Brown is living proof that lifestyle changes can make a big difference in a person's health. She's now off her medication and diabetes free.
"I really just ask the Lord to help me really do better and to think about what I'm eating is to help me to live healthy not so much what I like and enjoy all the time... to really see that food is nourishment for your body," Brown said.
Brown hopes her story will help others.
"I just want to be an inspiration to others and let them know that you don't have to be... you don't have to stay a diabetic you can get off of medication you don't have to let it be the final say," Brown said.
Smith teaches free diabetes supermarket smarts classes at the Giant on Pantops. The next class is Tuesday 9 a.m.
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