Managing diabetes through healthy choices
11/21/2016 4:17 PM
Slow cooker beef burgundy with veggies, green chile chicken and corned beef with cabbage are among the aromas that fill Miriam McCoy’s rural San Marcos home.
“I have my eating down to a science,” she said. “I always have good food in my refrigerator and pantry.” A nutritious diet is important to her because, at the age of 40, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Although she was not aware of any family history when she was diagnosed with the disease, Miriam knew something was wrong when she started experiencing excessive thirst and unintentional weight loss.
Miriam and her late husband, Emmett, relocated their family to San Marcos with their Building Supply Company in 1972. After Emmett McCoy’s passing in 2012, Miriam continued to make healthy meals a priority.
“Many people say you can’t cook for one person, but mother eats good, fresh food,” said McCoy’s daughter, Brenda Remme. “She likes to eat well. When my dad was alive, he always said he felt healthier because he ate what she ate.”
For Miriam, the key to healthy eating habits means setting aside a few hours every weekend to prepare bulk meals for the week.
“That way, I have good food ready to eat all the time,” she said. “I choose milk over orange juice because it has protein. The sugar in juice doesn’t last in your system as long. I’m careful to not overeat, and that makes a difference.”
Miriam McCoy checks her blood sugar before meals and at bed time. In addition to using insulin shots to manage her condition, she will use an insulin gel when needed. Because it’s important to include a carbohydrate in meals when taking insulin, she always has sweet and white potatoes on hand in her kitchen.
In addition to eating well, regular exercise is part of Miriam’s weekly routine. She played tennis until the age of 80. “It’s a great game for getting several generations together at the same time,”
she recalls fondly.
Today her personal trainer meets with her three times a week for an intense hour-long workout. “I never dread going to exercise because it’s a fun time and as we get older, we all want to keep up our muscle tone,” Miriam said.
A Central Texas Medical Center dietitian gave her a journal where she logs her blood sugar levels and keeps a record of her insulin intake. Every six months, she visits her endocrinologist for a check-up.
When it comes to managing her diabetes, Miriam’s positive outlook plays just as much of a role as her healthy nutrition and activity habits.
“If I had to get something, I would choose diabetes,” she said. “It helped me improve my lifestyle, and I could still live the way I wanted to live. I feel good every day. It really isn’t hard to live healthy.”