This post appears as part of our Healthier 2021 series, in which we follow three WebMD team members as they strive to improve their health this year. You can follow their journeys here.
By Bill Kimm
On Feb. 20, 2019, our then 13-year-old daughter, Kailynn, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. It was truly one of the most terrifying and confusing 3 days I’ve experienced as a parent. In an instant, Kailynn’s life was changed forever, as there is no cure. To try to turn one of the worst days into a positive, each year on Feb. 20 we celebrate her “diaversary” as a way to recognize her new normal and how well she manages it.
Our tradition is Kailynn chooses the events of the evening: where we eat, what we do, what’s for dessert -- it’s her day. Now, when you’re trying to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle, this can be challenging. I assure you, my 15-year-old daughter is not worried about calorie counts when it’s about her! And she shouldn’t be. Because of her diabetes, she has to weigh, measure, and count carbs for every single thing she eats and drinks. It’s 24/7/365 -- it’s exhausting and never ends, so when she gets to celebrate, she celebrates big!
For dinner, we went to a steakhouse, followed by a trip to the pet store (just looking!), her favorite retail store, and some ice cream. It was an awesome night. Our oldest son, who just moved into his own place, joined us for the evening, which made it even more special. Believe me, the last thing on my mind was calorie counts and being healthy.
But you know what’s great? It came naturally! At dinner, I made some healthy choices and it didn’t change the evening at all! We all agreed to skip the appetizer; instead of my normal choice of a ribeye, I went for the leaner New York strip (and only ate half!); and one of my sides was a salad with light dressing (and I only used about half of the dressing). If I had to guess, I easily cut more than 1,000 calories with just those three changes. To be fair, I didn’t skimp on the ice cream, but I also didn’t have to!
I had a great week with my food and exercise. I was well under my calories for the week, worked out 5 of the 7 days, ran nearly 5 miles that weekend, and did my first-ever yoga workout (which was incredibly more difficult than I imagined!). Because I was focused and disciplined all week, Saturday’s calorie bomb didn’t have an impact and I lost 3 pounds this week!
Y’all, life is too short to not indulge once in a while, especially when celebrating with my family! As long as I’m mindful the rest of the week, that one meal isn’t going to reverse all the hard work I’ve done. And I surprised myself by still making good decisions in the moment, which made the wins all the better. We can focus on our health and still have fun and enjoy life! Isn’t that the point of living?
Kailynn, happy second diaversary! I am so incredibly proud of you! Thank you for teaching your dad the definition of strength and resilience!
Bill is the Senior Manager of Funded Content Strategy for WebMD. He’s been trying to find balance with his weight, exercise, and overall wellness for 15-plus years. As Bill approaches 50, he understands how important it is to keep good healthy habits and take better care of himself. He has the support of his wife and two children (ages 22 and 15) and hopes this blog humanizes the difficulties of weight loss in middle age and offers hope to others who are experiencing the same. For more on his journey, follow him on Instagram @billkimm and on TikTok @billkimm3.