A few years ago I went through a very stressful time with my then teenager concerning his health. I was told by his pediatrician that he was pre-diabetic. He gained more than twenty pounds in one summer. His blood test results came with higher than normal triglycerides, LDL levels, as well as blood sugar levels.
Up until that time I never thought my preteen would be at any risk of this dreadful disease. Maybe, I thought, when he is adult, but not as a child. That made me realize just how important it was to educate my child about the complications of becoming a diabetic and the importance of diet and exercise. I couldn't bear the thought of my child becoming a diabetic.
I joined him in martial arts classes, which he enjoyed. I started reading the labels on cereal boxes, breads, milk, hotdogs, frozen pizzas, waffles whenever I took him grocery shopping. We looked for foods with low saturated fats and no trans fats. We chose foods low in sugars and carbohydrates. All the while, I felt guilty I was depriving him of his normal way of living as a child; eating whatever he wanted with no restrictions. But he learned quick.
At times he was frustrated that he couldn't have what other children had, but I made sure he understand that eating right doesn't have to mean not eating what he wanted. "Just choose wisely," I said. That was a very hard period his young life, and mine too, but it was worth it.
Regular lab works have became a part of my son's life. There were times, again, when he went to college where he got used to fast food, especially pizzas, because he couldn't take time off between classes to eat right or exercise.
Luckily he wasn't diagnosed as a diabetic, but whenever he had bouts of eating discrepancies it showed as elevated cholesterol and triglycerides in his blood work. But because of the awareness instilled in him at a young age he knew what he needed to do to solve those issues.
He got right back into an exercise routine and started buying his own groceries to make his meals. It is not always possible to eat in the dorm rooms, but he maintains outside meals by choosing health food places on campus.