Mum-of-five Kim Thompson, of Christchurch, shares how her family helped turn her life around after a shock diabetes diagnosis just before her 39th birthday in October 2017. Today, Kim has lost 40+kgs and says being diagnosed was the best thing to happen to her and her family because it was a giant wake-up call to “Act Now and Live Well”.

Kim Thompson and hubby Vince

Kim Thompson and hubby Vince

I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes last October, four days before my 39th birthday – it was a huge shock, and I was totally terrified because my blood sugar count was very high and the doc was super worried about me. I was living on seven to 10 cans of coke a day, eating a huge range of bad foods, and doing limited exercise.

Sadly, I had got lazy, although my birth family is riddled with type 2 (some have lost limbs to diabetes) and yet I still let myself go. This was a giant wake-up for me. I have five kids and I want to be as healthy as I can be. I want to be with them as they grow up, and I have big plans for my life when they fly the coop. I was scared after seeing the doctor, but I am stubborn, and this time I used it for good.

I made the choice that day that type 2 diabetes was not going to control me. I read as much as I could, joined groups on Facebook, and taught myself about food, and what was good, bad and a “sometimes” treat. I learned new ways to cook and snack, and with the support of my family, especially my youngest daughter, I started the huge mission to reinvent myself.

Today, I live on fresh veges and homemade meals so I can control what’s in my food. I gave up alcohol and fizzy drinks – I only drink water and the odd coffee without sugar. I stopped eating for the sake of it and instead eat just to fuel my body. I walk every day, rain or shine. Lucky for me, there are some awesome hill walks here in Christchurch, and I explore them three times a week and find new places to explore so I don’t get bored.

In the months since having my world tipped upside down, I have found a new love for life. I eat less, I feel great, I have more energy to play with my kids and live my life to the fullest. It was scary at the start, but my gosh I have lost 40+kgs, my clothes have dropped in size so often, and for the first time in years, I feel amazing.

My advice to anyone starting out on this journey is “Don’t let diabetes define and control you, take small steps, make One of the themes for this year’s Diabetes Action Month is “Act Now to Live Well”. The aim is to encourage as many Kiwi families as possible to take positive steps to help whānau members live better with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, and reduce the risk of other family members developing it.

Throughout the month Diabetes NZ will showcase how Kiwi families are working together to support relatives who are living with diabetes by making lifestyle changes together. This includes healthy eating, incorporating exercise into daily routines, and upskilling their diabetes knowledge.

Diabetes NZ wants to encourage these positive changes without the judgement and stigma that is commonly associated with diabetes. ” small changes every day and before long they will become normal and you will forget the old days of bad foods. Find support where ever you can, especially in your whānau, take this diabetes and kick it in the butt!” I could have done without this happening, but, in all honesty, it has truly turned out to be the best thing for me. It woke me up, taught me so much, and has had a huge positive effect on my family, all our lifestyles, and my five kids’ future.

Kim shared her story in the Summer 2018 issue of Diabetes magazine. Subscribe to Diabetes NZ today to receive your copy.

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Jo Chapman