“I Do Everything I Want to Do"

Beth Velatini shares strategies for staying one step ahead of her diabetes.

Beth Velatini
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Type 2 Diabetes, Weight Loss, Nutrition

The bright side to having diabetes? “It keeps you on top of your health more than you normally would be. I’m healthy and fit. I do everything I want to do!” says Beth Velatini.

Managing her type 2 diabetes—“It’s really no big deal,” says Beth. “Once you find out what works for you, it becomes routine.” For this perky Chicago legal secretary/food blogger (MyBizzyKitchen.com), the biggest trick was figuring out how to adjust her meals and insulin to her exercise.

So with her doctor’s guidance, she went through some trial and error. “Within about six months, we got it dialed in.” And now that she’s got her dosages and timing figured out, there’s no cause for anxiety. “I test my blood sugar six times a day and take insulin with each meal. I take a slow-acting insulin at bedtime. I also record my food intake [1,800-2,000 calories on workout days, 1,500 calories on rest days] on an online site—I’m working at losing weight, but at 44, I know it’s got to be slow.”

Yet with her glass-half-full attitude, she knows she’ll reach her goal. “Diabetes is controllable. It takes work, sure. But there’s give and take. You don’t have to be depressed about it. What’s that saying? ‘Ten percent is what happens to you and 90% is how you deal with what happens to you.’ The way I see it, you just have to be proactive about your health.”

Here's how Beth takes charge of her diabetes:

Before you eat a treat, ask: Is it really insulin-worthy? “Nine times out of 10, I can live without it. I’m exact about matching my insulin to my carbs.”

Learn your body. “I worked with my doctor a while before nailing down how my body works. Now, my A1C is 6.3! You might not get immediate answers, but you can’t give up.”

Use technology. “There are a lot of free tools out there to manage your diabetes. One of my favorites is the website caloriecount.com. It’s got a recipe analyzer—I put all my recipes in there and it breaks down the calories, protein, carbs and fat per serving, so I know exactly what I’m getting when I eat.”

Write it down. “One morning, I mistakenly gave myself insulin twice. The sweat started beading up on me. I knew instantly what I’d done. It ended up okay, but I’m not going to let that happen again—I know I get distracted in the morning. So now I keep a little notebook in my purse and write down when I’ve taken my insulin.”

Don’t be afraid of insulin. “I tell people if their blood sugar is in the 200s and 300s, you’re damaging your body even if you can’t feel it. Insulin can prevent the damage. Why wouldn’t you [use it]?”

April 2014