Activity makes a difference
Now Gloria makes activity the top priority of her day. When she first found out she had diabetes, she started walking laps at the mall with friends. These days Gloria climbs on a stationary bike in her den 4 times a day and cycles for 10 minutes. She does it once before each meal and again before she goes to bed.
"Exercise really changed everything for me," she says. "The way I feel, my blood sugar, everything. It really works. I'm 70 years old, and I've never felt better, stronger, healthier, or happier in my whole life."
There are days when Gloria doesn't meet her blood sugar range. She doesn't worry too much about it, but she does keep track when it happens.
"You can't be perfect all the time. Everybody slips up sometimes," she says.
Finding support and swapping recipes
Gloria meets once a week with her support group-women she met in her diabetes education class at the hospital.
"It's not a formal group. We get together for coffee every Wednesday morning and talk about how we're doing, what we're eating. And we swap recipes. It's really fun, and I learn a lot from them."
She loves trying out recipes for healthy eating and is always on the lookout for new ones. One of her favorites is a zucchini-crust pizza.
"It uses zucchini and egg whites for the crust. You add a little cheese, tomato, and spices. I just love that. And it's really low-carb," she says. "I used to eat regular pizza all the time. Now I can still enjoy it by making a few healthy changes."
Staying motivated with a long-term goal
Gloria has a long-term goal-to rely on diet and exercise to lower her blood sugar levels. First, her doctor asked her to take a stress test. She passed it.
"We have a deal. If I keep exercising and my numbers keep going down, he said I may be able to slowly decrease how much metformin I'm taking. I know it might not happen. But it feels good to me to be taking charge of my situation."