At age 12, DR. JULIE KATE WEBSTER was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and had to adapt to eating healthy and exercising. Her family supported her new lifestyle, and her mother altered how she cooked to meet her daughter’s needs. Through middle and high school, Julie Kate danced with Ballet Memphis, which kept her in shape. She continued to dance while attending Vanderbilt University, where she was introduced to aerobics and running.
During the college summers, Julie Kate worked as a researcher at the University of Tennessee to find a cure for diabetes. After undergrad she moved to Chicago, where she earned a Doctorate in Podiatric Medicine and completed her residency.
“The only excuse I would allow myself for not studying was to exercise,” Julie Kate says. While in graduate school, she gained an appreciation for running, since she could do the sport at any time or any place. School was also where she met her future husband, Dr. Chad Webster, an avid runner as well.
The couple moved back to Memphis in 2003 and opened their practice, Mid-south Foot and Ankle Specialists. “Foot problems are a common complication of diabetes,” says Julie Kate. “I enjoy being able to relate to my patients and help them live healthier lives despite having diabetes.”
“You can be healthy if you choose to be healthy.”
In addition to exercise, eating a balanced diet is key to managing Julie Kate’s disease, which she has done by counting carbs and fats. However, Julie Kate realized that eating whole foods is the best practice for anyone wanting to be healthy, with or without diabetes.
“I cook at home as often as I can so I know what’s going into my food,” she says. Julie Kate tends to stick to fruits, vegetables, and healthy meats and fats, avoiding processed food as much as possible.
Julie Kate and Chad now have two children: Chloe, a freshman at St. Mary’s, and Wilson, a sixth-grader at St. Louis School. “Whether it’s running a race together on the weekend or going hiking while we’re on vacation, we try to stay active and healthy as a family, which is something I also try to teach my patients.” Chad completed his first mini-triathlon in 2017, Chloe is currently training for the St. Jude half marathon, and Wilson recently competed at the state championship for cross country.
Since being diagnosed, 45-year-old Julie Kate hasn’t had any complications from her diabetes. She wears an insulin pump and checks her blood sugar 6-8 times per day to keep it regulated. “It’s all about staying active,” says Julie Kate. “I have to find time to exercise and eat healthy in order to keep my diabetes under control.”
Sugar Run 5K
Dr. Julie Kate Webster is co-founder of the Sugar Run 5k. The 11th annual event is on November 11 and raises money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Fund A Cure. All contributions to Fund A Cure are 100% tax-deductible and go directly toward diabetes research.
By Christin Yates.
Photo by Tindall Stephens.