TCOYD Member Highlight: How a Change in Thinking Can Change Your Life

Tim Smith was sitting in his car in the parking garage of the San Diego Convention Center thinking about the invitation he had just received, and he didn’t want any part of it.

Yet, he wasn’t driving away.

He sat there for a few minutes more and then something inside of him shifted.

Maybe I should take this stuff a little more seriously.

Begrudgingly, he got out of his car, walked to the elevators and headed back up to the exhibit hall.

He made a beeline for the TCOYD booth where a producer had just interviewed him to be on a cutting-edge online video series aimed at helping people with diabetes live healthier lives.

“Alright, you can put my name in for it,” he said.

A few months later he got a call to be part of TCOYD’s Extreme Diabetes Makeover program.

“After that,” he said, “my life totally changed.”

Born in Springfield, Massachusetts and raised in San Diego, Tim was always very active in sports – especially softball, baseball and golf. He’s been an attorney for 40 years and had been married for almost the same amount of time. He and his wife have (two) grown children and share a love of traveling and cooking.

Well, a shared love for a very unique cooking club.

“It is not your typical cooking club. In this one the men do all the cooking while the women relax and drink wine.”

When Tim was first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes over ten years ago, he didn’t immediately make any significant changes to his diet or lifestyle, and his doctor became concerned.

“My doctor happened to have a flyer for the TCOYD San Diego conference and he told me about it, but I wasn’t going to go. When he said things were getting serious for me though I thought, “Well, okay, maybe I need to do something.”

Tim Smith

He went to the conference and stumbled upon a booth where producers were looking for participants for a new video series that would connect them with TCOYD’s ‘Dream Team’ of diabetes experts and resources for five months. The producers were taken with Tim’s lively personality and asked him if he’d be interested in being part of the program. Not only did Tim say no, but he walked out of the conference altogether. That’s when he went down to his car to think, and subsequently had a change of heart.

After joining the Extreme Diabetes Makeover program, meeting the six other participants and working with the Dream Team, Tim quickly became motivated to make some changes.

“I educated myself, I took advantage of the experts, I asked a ton of questions and I gained a solid awareness. After three months of working with them on a daily basis, it had an enormous impact.” So much so that Tim’s A1c went from 11.8 to 6.4.  Not bad for a guy whose favorite saying was “Everything tastes better with butter and sugar.”

Although the Extreme Diabetes Makeover program wrapped several years ago, Tim still regularly attends TCOYD conferences and has remained part of the TCOYD family since that very first conference he attended back in 2009. He has even taken part in panel discussions and has not hightailed it down to his car in the middle a conference since.

Asked if he had any advice for others living with diabetes, he said, “First and most importantly, diabetes is a 24/7 disease and you have to tend to it accordingly. It’s easy to slip, and it’s easy to not take control. I still slip every once in awhile, but I always get back on track.

“Managing my diabetes is still a process and I’m not where I want to be in terms of calorie intake, but I’m better. It’s also about reducing portions. When I do that, my blood sugar is significantly lower. I still enjoy potatoes and rice but I don’t eat as much as in the past – just smaller portions. But I’ll eat every single grain of rice on my plate! ”

He also makes sure to find time to indulge in his passions. He and his wife continue to be part of the gourmet cooking club they formed years ago, but their focus now is a little different than in years past. These days his cooking is tailored more toward foods that don’t spike his blood sugar.

He keeps cruising along, both in travel excursions with his family and in his diabetes management, and life is good.

“Food has always been a big part of my life, but now I just try to be a little more focused. Doughnuts were always my favorite food. As difficult as it may be to give them up, the results are worth it.”

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