Diabetes is the scary sister of the obesity epidemic.
The physical fallout from insulin resistance (IR) and the resulting roller coaster of blood sugar leads to life-altering circulation problems which in turn can lead to vision issues, neuropathy (nerve issues), kidney issues and more. It’s scary stuff.
What does it feel like to live in a body that has pre-diabetes?
It feels tired – unusually tired. It feels hungry – really hungry for comfort foods and fat – things like bread, cookies and sweets, potatoes with gravy or butter. It feels a little shaky and often nervous. It can feel overall crummy, unmotivated and a little hopeless.
It’s not you! It’s your blood sugar.
When you feel like you have diabetes, comfort foods – the very foods that make the condition worse – are most appealing. Yes, the universe is ironic.
Most diabetes begins as pre-diabetes and worsens over time. UNLESS!
Unless you change.
The good news is that for this type of diabetes, you can, to a HUGE extent, prevent progression of the disease. I have seen it reversed time and time again when someone has the support to eat to manage blood sugars, gets adequate movement and manages stress. Maintaining it is the tricky part…hard (but possible) to do.
Many mainstream medical docs are not talking about the extent to which you can reverse diabetes. It drives me (and my proactive doc friends) crazy to hear that someone’s blood sugar is a bit up and their doc tells them to watch and wait. What you’ll end up watching is your blood sugars rise, and diabetes take hold. When I see someone with a borderline high fasting blood sugar, it’s ACTION TIME! It’s the time you can completely change your future.
You are so very worth it.
It’s all about finding your version of a healthier life; enjoy a delicious healthful diet, manage stress and move adequately. There are so many paths to managing blood sugars. You don’t have to be perfect, and each person can find the balance of eating, moving and having fun (another way of thinking about managing stress) that works for them.
A few easy ways to get started are:
- Add one more serving of your favorite vegetable, either raw or lightly cooked, than you eat right now. Begin today, and repeat tomorrow.
- Try the psyllium shot before meals. I swear it works!
- Consider the disco minute. Put on your favorite dance song and dance like no one’s watching.
The earlier you address the issue, the better (though it’s never too late – even if you are on insulin, improving your self-care will improve your overall health). The earlier you begin, the more likely you’ll be able to fix the issue. From years of providing evidence-based nutrition to people with creeping weight gain afraid of diabetes, I can tell you that the number of people with metabolic syndrome (a little diabetes and a little cardiovascular disease that add up to bad news for health), who don’t know they have it is very large and growing. Even many people with good medical care don’t seem to know (or are too afraid to know).
I hear you – diabetes is a scary condition. It might seem that in order to address it you have to give up your favorite foods – all the comfort and fun in your life. While you do have to change to address the condition, many people are doing it and actually enjoying life more. Step by step, little (or a lot) at a time. When I work with someone with diabetes, we work on making sure food is not the only source of comfort in life – we have to do that first, then addressing food is easier.
Once you’re ready to make a change (and have practiced one of the easy kick-starts I mentioned above) is to take stock of where you are. Again, it can be un-nerving to take that clear look at the numbers that describe what’s going on, but just know that whatever they are, you can change them.
This summer I’ll be blogging more about diabetes – what it is, and how to manage it with lifestyle.
In the meantime, here are a couple posts that you might find helpful: