Defeating Diabetes One Day at a Time

TV’s first Bachelorette, Trista Sutter, was caught off guard when she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes during her first pregnancy. Now she shares her strategies for keeping herself—and her young family—healthy.

Gina Roberts-Grey
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She’s also learned to make room for occasional indulgences: “Sweets are a huge problem in my house—we love ice cream, she says. And when cravings strike, she acts wisely: “Just getting a taste of something sweet—like a few spoonfuls of ice cream—keeps away the urge to binge.” What about those times when a few spoonfuls won’t do? Just plan for them. Figure the carbs found in the dessert (whether it’s a scoop of ice cream or a slice of pie) into your total carbohydrate allotment for the meal and budget accordingly.

The challenge: Getting rid of belly fat. “My abs were the one area that didn’t jump right back into position after I had Blakesley, so I’m still really focused on getting more toned,” Trista has said.

Smart solution: Making activity a habit. Trista is committed to regular workouts that combine yoga, Pilates and power-lifting exercises. She also sneaks in exercise while she’s watching TV at night. “I try to do sit-ups for entire commercial breaks.” 

The effort is worth it: Rather than simply lying beneath the surface of the skin, belly fat is often deposited internally, cushioning and surrounding abdominal organs. Called visceral fat, it has been associated with insulin resistance, making blood sugar control more challenging. What’s more, it’s also linked with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, according to Harvard scientists.

Researchers have found that about 30 minutes a day of moderate-intensity activity—such as walking and strength-training—can help reduce visceral fat in combination with a healthy eating plan like Trista’s.

The challenge: Dealing with the demands of daily life. “As women, we don’t want to have to ask for help,” Trista has said of juggling motherhood, household tasks and professional commitments. “We want to be able to do everything on our own.”

Smart solution: Make time to de-stress. “It’s better for you and your kids if you take time to do what you need to do so you’re not stressed-out,” she has said. On Mondays, she has a girls’ night at her house. She catches up with friends while watching reality TV shows. She also carves out time just for her and Ryan. “It’s important to take time for yourselves, whether it’s a date night, traveling to get away from the everyday stuff that piles up or even just snuggling in front of the TV and reminding yourself of how important you are to each other.”

Finding ways to get rid of everyday stress and tension isn’t just good for your soul and your relationships—it can help you manage your diabetes better. After all, the calmer and more in control you are, the easier it is to make the choices that keep you healthier and happier. 

October 2012