Sally never had to worry about her weight. She had always been active, enjoying her daily walks in the park.
But things changed when Sally's mom had a heart attack. Sally took care of her mom night and day. But Sally got so busy taking care of her mom that she forgot to take care of herself.
For months, Sally didn't do any kind of activity. "When my mom was resting, I would take a nap instead of going for a walk," Sally says. And her eating habits changed. "I went from eating healthy foods to choosing comfort foods like macaroni and cheese."
Over time, Sally gained 20 pounds, and much of the weight was around her waist. But that wasn't all. Sally later found out that her cholesterol and blood sugar levels were higher than normal.
"My doctor told me I had some of the health problems related to metabolic syndrome. And he said that I was at a greater risk for getting heart disease or diabetes if I didn't make some lifestyle changes."
Sally knew she needed to get back in shape. "I started to go on some walks again. It was hard at first, but I started slowly and worked up to walking 30 to 45 minutes most days of the week," she says. "I also made some changes to my diet. More often than not, I choose fruits and vegetables over junk foods. And I make low-fat versions of my comfort foods."
These changes have helped Sally lose weight and lower her cholesterol and blood sugar levels. And they have given her more energy to care for her mom, who now joins Sally for walks as part of her recovery.
This story is based on information gathered from many people who have metabolic syndrome.
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February 15, 2013
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
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