Robin London gets paid to be the life of the party. Hired for birthday bashes, bar and bat mitzvahs, and the like, London not only plans the events but acts as a professional party crasher. After gathering inside information about the party host and guests, she entertains them with a roast-and-toast-style performance. London, 55, has managed events in the Hewlett, NY, area for 20 years. Being a professional partier might sound like a piece of cake, but it's a more-than-full-time job that requires lots of careful planning, a staff of 10 or more, and an event schedule that almost never gives her a weekend off. Throwing diabetes into her busy life could have easily slowed London down.
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The diabetes diagnosis came in 2005, when London needed a hysterectomy, and pre-surgery testing found her blood sugar to be sky-high. "I was overweight," she says. "I had resolved that this was just who I was. When I heard I had diabetes, I thought, 'Nah, it can't be. I feel fine.' But I wasn't fine." She needed to take steps toward a new lifestyle. And she did it in her natural fashion—by getting organized.
London found eating better to be a major change that she had to take 1 day at a time. With each grocery-store trip, she added more vegetables to her diet. But the biggest challenge was finding time for exercise. "I walked into a gym for the first time the day after my diagnosis," she says.
A new life
Within 4 months of putting her healthy lifestyle plan into action, London saw extra pounds coming off. Even more significantly, she had less stress and more energy—which opened up more time. "Before controlling diabetes, I'd get tired and go to bed around 9 or 9:30," she says. "Now it's 11 or 11:30." So even with exercise, she has netted about 1 extra hour a day.
So far, London has dropped about 70 pounds, and her blood sugar averages between 115 and 145—"still a little high, but for me, good." In some ways, she says, diabetes has changed her for the better. "You don't just get control of diabetes, you get control of your life," she says. "I look better, I'm more comfortable…I feel like a different person. I like to think that a negative [diabetes] became a positive."
- Weigh yourself every day. If you're gaining pounds, you need to know it now.
- Watch TV selectively. “I pick shows I want to watch ahead of time,” London says. “Otherwise, I don’t turn the set on.”
- Focus on choices, not restrictions. “There’s so much variety in the foods you can eat,” says London, who loves sampling new vegetable recipes.