Weight had been a longtime struggle for Tamyca Brown, a pharmacy technician, but her Type 2 diabetes diagnosis 10 years ago was her wake-up call. At just 5 feet 2 inches tall, she weighed 270 pounds.
“I was eating anything and everything, not even thinking about what I was putting in my mouth or how many carbohydrates were in the foods I ate,” Tamyca says. “Exercise was nonexistent. I didn’t think I could do better or get off medications or that changes in my lifestyle habits could make a dramatic difference.”
Fortunately, a good friend helped to change her mindset.
Tamyca admits that changing old habits was not easy in the beginning — and that even today, the habits still try to come back.
“It’s critical to take one step at a time — and as you take those steps, you will see positive results,” she says. “I started seeing drastic changes in my weight, and my health began to improve by leaps and bounds. You must want to see changes in your health. You must want it so badly that you will do whatever you have to do to get it.”
Eventually, with Tamyca’s weight down to 182 pounds, the day came when her doctor asked her if she wanted to get off of her diabetes medication.
“At that moment I was so happy. Words cannot express my feelings,” she says. “I got off of the medication. My weight loss has continued, and today I weigh 166 pounds and have a normal A1C reading. I am living a healthy life, taking it day by day and step by step.”
Tamyca had already been making dietary changes when she came to Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital for a diabetes nutrition consultation, but she wanted to learn more. To improve her glucose control and continue her weight loss, she planned her meals with balanced portions of protein, starches, fruits and vegetables. She also learned to read nutrition labels to check calorie and carbohydrate content; paid attention to portion sizes; and added healthy snacks to her day to curb her appetite at mealtimes.
Tamyca is exercising five days each week, including walking, running and going to the gym. She believes that a healthy lifestyle is possible for everyone, and that each person has the power to make decisions about personal habits that can have a positive impact on health.