Kathleen Hinschberger’s commitment to good choices has paid off for her blood glucose—and healthy spirit. Here’s how she stays on track.
Hometown: Grand Forks, ND
Diagnosed with type 2 diabetes: 2005
An unexpected phone message from her family doctor in July 2005 launched Kathleen Hinschberger’s personal journey to blood-glucose control success. “Diabetes runs in my family, but it can be a silent disease—I didn’t notice any symptoms in myself,” she says. “After my diagnosis, I thought about all of the complications I’ve seen in relatives—such as amputations and heart disease. That really motivated me to take control.”
Kathleen’s blood glucose numbers have stayed within target ranges for the past five years. “So far, I don’t need medication,” she says. “It’s worth what it takes to keep making healthy choices every day.” Here’s how she does it.
Never Too Much Support
Kathleen sees a registered dietitian and a certified diabetes educator regularly. “It keeps me a little more accountable, knowing I’ll be seeing someone soon to talk about my blood glucose numbers,” says Kathleen, a computer lab technician at a job-training and computer-learning center. “They’re my support team—you can never have too much information or too much support for living with diabetes. I also go to a support group for people with diabetes once a month at our local hospital, and I signed up for a Dining with Diabetes education class soon after I was diagnosed. I’m always learning something new. Even if you hear a piece of information several times, that’s okay. There will come a time when it’s exactly what you need.”
Portion Control for Real Life
Enjoying her all-time favorite foods was important to Kathleen. “My dietitian taught me that nothing is off-limits as long as you adjust your carbs and keep the portions small,” she says. “Whenever I can, I get single-serving packs or 100-calorie packs. It takes the guesswork out of it. I can enjoy a small treat without worrying about overeating.”
Walking to the Beat
A lifelong fitness walker, Kathleen made a new commitment to regular exercise after her diagnosis. “I try to walk three miles a day,” she says. Flexibility and variety keep her motivated. “I listen to music when I’m walking, everything from classical music to rock and roll—I love Creedence Clearwater Revival,” says Kathleen. “I had to take a break from walking recently because I had foot surgery, but I’ve already made plans to start meeting a walking buddy to get back up to speed.”
Sometimes, she walks alone—“It’s a good opportunity to think back over the day.” She also takes her sister’s dog out for a stroll whenever she can and takes her father on outings to a local park. On extremely cold days (not uncommon for North Dakota winters), she might even stroll at a local mall. The important thing that never varies: just getting out there and moving. “Having lots of exercise options helps keep me going,” says Kathleen.
A former TV station program scheduler, Kathleen knows that staying organized is a key to success. She tracks her blood glucose, exercise, and food choices regularly. “Writing things down really helps!”