On each “Why Not Wednesday” we hear about someone else’s detour in life. The more inspiring stories we hear about people dealing with unexpected difficulties, the more empowered we are to deal with our own detours in life.
Everyone’s life “detours” eventually. It’s what we do with that detour that makes the trip amazing.
After my coma, I was led on quite a few detours – detours that provided me with superhero strength. So now, I’d like you to meet an incredibly strong Detourist who reached out to me and truly inspired me. That is the superpower of all Detourists – we ALL have a story. We’ve got to share them to KNOW how amazing we all are!
With that said, share your story with our community here,and…Take it away,Kim!
What’s A Foodie If They Can’t Eat Food
My name is Kim Jackson and I am a Detourist. I found out I was prediabetic in 2014, at the arguably young age of 27. I had a very similar reaction to when I discovered I was 200lbs at 11 years old; shock and horror. While being overweight was bad, being so overweight that you’re now determined a prediabetic before you’re 30 was even worse. As I read my blood test results I could only think to myself “How could this be happening?”
Diabetes didn’t run in my family and I felt like I maintained a moderately healthy lifestyle. Since the 11 year old intervention I inflicted upon myself, I’d been very aware of my diet. I drank more water, stayed active, at least intermittently, I ate more vegetables, I cooked more often and even counted calories. All my efforts had not gone to waste as I’d lost several pounds, though in that moment it didn’t seem like enough. My weight fluctuated, as with many I presume, but I felt I was in a healthier place, so reading my results was painful. I was scared, devastated and overall at a loss. Does this mean I’ll certainly get diabetes? Will I have to prick my finger for the rest of my life? Will I lose my toes?!
Because I didn’t know, I cried….and then I asked google. Fortunately, this was the only time google didn’t tell me I was facing eminent death. Prediabetes does not inevitably turn into Type 2 diabetes. With healthy diet alterations and a more aerobic lifestyle, it wasn’t too late to reverse the effects. There was hope yet!
Around this time, I started giving myself 30 day challenges. The first was 30 days sugar free. Given that sugar seemed to be my enemy, I felt it most appropriate to start there. Ironically, I decided to take on this challenge as Halloween quickly approached, when all things delicious and craftily carved into pumpkin shapes would soon be 50 – 75 percent off. Let’s also not forget that it was right before the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. It was a challenge, but drastic times called for drastic measures. The first week I went cold turkey and immediately understood the comparison scientists make between sugar and drugs. Going through what could only be described as withdrawals, I had cravings that would not subside. This lead to crankiness and, eventually, allowing myself the consumption of no sugar added hot chocolate whenever I needed a fix to remain a functioning participant in society. After that slight alteration, everything else was semi smooth sailing. The cravings didn’t disappear but they were easily placated. I ended my 30 day standoff with sugar on Thanksgiving, where I planned to binge eat every last frosting topped, glaze covered confection set before me. Surprisingly, after biting into my first pineapple Ciroc infused cupcake, I didn’t feel the rush of pleasure I thought I’d get. Not only had it gotten easier to avoid the sugar’s calling, it wasn’t as satisfying either.
My next 30 day challenge was pescatariansim with a heavy vegetarian focus as I wanted to avoid mercury poisoning from over consumption. While seafood is actually my meat of choice, trying to have a largely plant based diet proved difficult since there are far more vegetables I’d rather not eat. Throughout the process I cozied up with plenty of beans and became much friendlier with carrots. I did have a slight slip up during the beginning stages when I requested a McChicken sandwich out of habit during a McDonald’s run. It wasn’t until I had that final morsel left, the last bite of delight, that I realized I sabotaged my own challenge; but we’re all allowed second chances right?! Still I persevered and no more McChicken hiccups occurred.
There was also a 30 day yoga challenge for which I managed to make it to 25. As you can probably tell, I’m not that great at completing challenges, even ones of my own volition, but the cycle of healthy eating, weight loss regiments and revamped lifestyle had begun. Even though there were some speed bumps, overall I felt I’d made progress. I’d lost weight, I felt better and was confident I had overcome my ailment, even without any medical confirmation.
Fast forward to 2017; I was constantly fighting a battle with fatigue and asked to be screened for anemia. Imagine my surprise when not only was there no mention of anemia in my blood work but my hemoglobin A1C was STILL slightly elevated. The prediabetic cloud remained hovering over me. You have got to be kidding! Three years of what I thought had been dietary progress hadn’t made a difference at all. I was ready to cry again. This time it felt a little more earth shattering; I was preparing to launch what I was hoping to be a very successful food blog and I didn’t feel like I could be a foodie with the impending restrictions looming before me. I thought I had already been eating an abundance of natural or minimally processed foods, consuming adequate amounts of fruits and veggies and minimizing my intake of all forms of sugar. Apparently not and now I’d have to look forward to implementing more dietary sacrifices.
In the recent months following the re-diagnosis of my prediabetic state, I enlisted the help of a nutritionist. It was difficult to discern fact versus fiction when it came to food and I found myself so overwhelmed I’d avoid eating for fear of inadvertently ingesting more cancer. Dr. Atheer proved to be a beaming light at the end of the tunnel. Contrary to what the newly release Netlfix documentary What the Health promulgated, she reassured me that food was not the enemy. I could indulge in eating dessert but with moderation; I could have pasta but sparingly; Meat wasn’t the enemy when eaten with discretion. I believed her, but in my moments of weakness, when it came time to submit my food diary confessions that didn’t show I was eating brown rice and steamed broccoli, inputting only half of my carnitas nachos or itemizing each ingredient in my all beef chili seemed like an agreeable compromise; at least I’d get credit for incorporating more veggies and legumes in my diet.
I sat lying in my bed, shrewdly planning my next move. What was I going to do? Where does a foodie turn when the one thing that gives them so much pleasure is, seemingly, the same thing that can cause so much pain? I’m not one to easily succumb to defeat, so I refused to let my medical obstacles and this hyperbolic documentary distort the image of an industry I am so passionate about. I agree, there are changes that need to be made and actions that need to be taken. Personally, I’ve minimized my red meat intake and, unfortunately, have had to restrict my consumption of oxtail; Starbucks, bacon and McDonald’s sweet tea is kryptonite that I continuously try to stave off; Kale and I are becoming best friends; The treadmill and weightlifting are an obligatory ordeal that I have yet to fully commit to; And my love affair with dairy…well, that will never end.
We can become a healthier country it just takes recognition of the problem, accountability for your contribution and reparations for the damage. I’m still willing to eat food as long as I’m not forced to bite off more than I can chew. That is why…I #LoveMyDetour
Wow. Thank you Kim. It’s amazing what the human spirit is capable of when it’s tested. You are truly a testament to that!
All Detourists (which would would be YOU) have stories to tell. It’s scary to trust that twisted path and follow it, even if you’re not sure where it leads. Following that trail will lead you to the ultimate gift: The gift of realizing how incredible you really are. Don’t believe me? Check out these wonderful Detourist stories…and then send me yours!
Instagram #LoveMyDetour Challenge
There’re more than one way to share your detour. Sing it, dance it, walk it. Take a picture of your detour and share it with me on Instagram with #LoveMyDetour – anything goes! I’ll be featuring your pictures every week in my #LoveMyDetour Gallery.
Hold up a sign, draw a picture, snap a photo of your path. It could be the very road in front of you…you never really know where it leads, do you?
Kim Jackson is a passionate foodie native to Washington, DC and knew at a young age she’d be a writer. While lunch was always her favorite period in school, she had grown a fondness for reading and writing as well. It wasn’t until many years later, and numerous career goal changes, that she realized she could combine her love of food and writing into one. Initially, she had grand plans to take the broadcast journalism field by storm, but her stage fright tempered those dreams drastically. Instead, she found her passion in creative writing formats such as poetry, short story and eventually personal essays focused on her excitement around chocolate and carbs. She shares the same affinity for literature as she does linguine and her website EatandBeMerryDC.com is where the two have met.