Leena is the archetypal Indian housewife- a busy woman who works 24/7 for the well being of her family. She is a housewife by choice as she enjoys dedicating her time and energy to take care of her family and gives them her best. She cooks,drops and picks up her kids from school, and does chores.She manages all that lies in between and beyond without missing out on the sitcoms.
She juggles these various roles with ease and élan, even if this means getting up in the wee hours and being the last to hit the bed.Seeing her loved ones happy and cared for gives her happiness and a sense of control.
Amidst the humdrum of daily existence, one day she realized the need for some exclusive me-time when she can pay attention to her own self- her health, looks, hobbies, and interests and so much more.
Then, she wistfully thought about earlier times when she used to curl up with her favourite book and a cup of tea, or enjoy a morning walk. “Where is the time now for such small indulgences?” She resented, and continued playing a friend and guide to those who depend on her.
But all this changed one fine day when she began to face health issues. She was extra-tired for no reason and was feeling excessively thirsty. Leena knew that these were diabetes symptoms; she had seen her grandmother suffer from diabetes type 1.
Leena and her husband first consulted their family doctor for a blood sugar test and then went to a diabetes clinic. The results came in, and Leena was devastated- the diabetes doctor had proclaimed her to be a diabetic.
At first, she did not understand how this happened.She was never too fond of sweets or starchy foods, and she was lean and trim. She clarified this with her newly allocated Diabetes Team, and learnt that diabetes can crop up despite not being overweight.
But there was no need to worry incessantly, she was told.The condition could be effectively managed through a well thought of diabetes management program including a healthy diabetes diet and diabetes treatment. This was necessary to prevent possible diabetes complications .
After some counselling with the diabetes doctor, Leena and her husband decided that there was still plenty of hope for a great quality of life, if only they incorporated small changes in their daily lives.
Leena read a lot about diabetes, and came to know that there was a higher prevalence of obesity amongst housewives, a significant risk factor for diabetes mellitus. She also realized that she was in the more susceptible age group.There was an age-specific prevalence of these risk factors in women of 30-45 years, compared to other age groups (<30 years and 46 to 60 years). Reduced physical activity and a family history of diabetes were other contributing factors.
In fact, Leena realized that while she was doing all household chores that did not qualify as real exercise.It was then that she took it upon herself to give her health and well being a high priority. After all, if she was fit and fine, her family would be fit and fine too.
The woman of the family is often the decision maker on things like what to eat, how much time to spend on what activities, and so on.
Hence, becoming a health-role model for her family was critical not only for her own health, but for the health of the family too. With this realization, Leena brought about a conscious change in their lifestyle :
1. Dinners were replaced by fun home-cooking sessions where everyone pitched in to whip up a wholesome meal with loads of health and love!
2. Visits to the mall gave way to outings to the beaches and the countryside where everyone could engage in quality time together and fun activity would get them moving.
3. Snacking-time now meant yummy fruits and healthy bites rather than greasy burgers and fried stuff. Leena learnt to whip up quick and easy healthy titbits for her husband and her kids to keep them fuelled up with the right sugar levels, for an energy-packed day! Accordingly, the grocery shopping list took a change for the better.
4. Leena joined Yoga course and aerobics in the afternoon with the kids left to do their homework under the grandparents’ supervision while she got her much-required dose of exercise and stress-buster.
5. A couple of hours once a fortnight was set aside as “me-time” where Leena engaged in her long-lost love for reading while Daddy dearest got some “kiddy-time” going.
These were small changes, yet big steps towards effective diabetes management. Not only did Leena’s condition become more manageable, the family also realized the importance of making healthy choices. It was a step towards setting a positive tone for the future wellbeing of generations of their family! And of course, it was a step towards Leena reclaiming her happiness and health, the right way.