I have been seeing a “diabetes doctor” ever since last October when I received my “pre-diabetic” diagnosis. He checks my food records, asks about my exercise for the week and gives me advice and encouragement.

So far, he’s been very pleased with my progress and last week he called me a “role model.”  I said, “I’m actually a role model for myself.” That interchange made me think a lot about the concept of role models. Can we actually emulate someone else’s positive experience? Is it helpful to see that others have succeeded at challenges we find daunting? I’m not sure.  Having been overweight for my whole life, by this point I have read scores of stories of people who have lost enormous amounts of weight. While I often admired them for their persistence, their experiences did not spur me to do the same.

There were several reasons for this resistance. That person wasn’t me. They weren’t living my life. They didn’t have my problems. Most importantly, they had found something in themselves that I apparently lacked—mental toughness—determination—commitment—resolution—call it what you will. I was born without it. I was congenitally incapable of sticking to a diet and/or exercise routine.

Then I was told I was pre-diabetic.  Horrified at the possible consequences (blindness, amputations etc.), I realized that this was it. It was now or never. No more excuses. This diagnosis worked like magic. All of a sudden, I was as determined, as resolute, as committed as anyone I had ever read about.  I am certain that I will reach my goal. There is no other choice.  I know I can do it because I am doing it. I am, in fact, my own role model.  I am so grateful for that diagnosis. Without it, I would still be a 256 pound couch potato. Instead, I am now a 218 pound woman who actually enjoys moving. Even more importantly—I have found the quality that I admired in all those others.

Before

After

 

– Cheryl

 Who is your role model?

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