“The most important thing in the Olympic games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.”
~ Pierre de Coubertin, founder of modern Olympic games
So, you were just diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, now what?
- First of all, take a deep breath and know that you’re going to be all right. When they first get the news, many people automatically think the worst as their subconscious drifts off to all the commercials and Internet ads describing diabetes comorbidities like metabolic syndrome, chronic disease and death. No wonder their thoughts travel down the tailspin of believing that they’ve been given a death-sentence. Just know this: Type 2 diabetes is completely reversible, so you need not fret.
- Second, start off on the right foot. After you regroup from the initial diagnosis, commit to implement the life changes necessary to reverse your disease. You don’t even have to know the details just yet. Just COMMIT to doing WHATEVER it takes. This will help set the tone for your health and recovery over the long haul. Faith precedes action and you will need to boost your “believe-o-meter” for the challenging road ahead. Trust us when we tell you that ALL things are possible for you and reversing diabetes certainly falls in that category!
- Third, start to clean house. Performing some serious spiritual, mental, physical, emotional and financial housekeeping will serve you well in the upcoming months as you tackle diabetes head-on. Keep laser-focused positive thoughts at the forefront of your mind and make a list of the destructive aspects of your life. Take this new diagnosis as an opportunity to reinvent yourself. Therefore, approach your housecleaning with pinpoint accuracy and slowly rid yourself of everything negative that may be poisoning your life.
- Finally, surround yourself with life-giving people. The time spent immediately after recently being diagnosed with diabetes is NOT best spent with negative people with destructive eating and exercise habits. Birds of a feather certainly flock together, so if you want to soar with the eagles, don’t spend your time on the ground with the penguins! Is everyone in your life a downer? No worries! Hire a natural health or personal life coach! They are fantastic resources so choose someone you admire because you’re certain to spend a lot of time with them.
At this point, what should you expect from your doctor? He or she will probably:
- Refer you to a diabetes management team to support you through the process. Including your primary care physician, this team may include a dietician/nutritionist, exercise physiologist, mental health counselor, and a nurse/nurse practitioner.
- Start to experiment with different types of medication, and/or insulin use.
- Put you on a blood sugar monitoring regimen.
- Provide some basic dietary and exercise recommendations in an effort to help you implement a more balanced meal plan and to get some well-needed movement back into your life.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Maintaining a healthy weight and monitoring your blood sugar levels are keys to managing your diabetes.” Subsequently, this will be the approach your diabetes management team will take at whatever costs necessary. Although, these are important steps to take by your leading physician, there are also some critical alternative options many doctors will not tell you to take into consideration.
“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”
~ Muhammad Ali, gold medalist in boxing in 1960
Ultimately, because no one has such a vested interested in YOUR health as YOU do, the onus is really on you to become the diabetes expert and not rely on your medical diabetes team. Their primary function is to help stabilize your blood sugar and point you in the right direction, but remember – at the end of the day – you have the final say in your care plan.
Here are some tips to get you started as you go “back to school:”
- Beginner – Google is the search engine of choice for getting started. Let your interests lead your search and have fun hopping from one article or website to the next. You’d be surprised what you can find on the Internet nowadays and most of it is offered for free! The primary issue with Google, however, is that there is virtually no censoring. Anyone can literally say anything that they want. And just because someone has MD, DC, ND, or RD after his or her name means squat. Letters don’t guarantee common sense and many people out there are looking to make a buck. So, peruse carefully.
- Intermediate – Google Scholar is for the more advanced search. With more rigorous requirements for inclusion comes less risk of reading off-the-wall craziness posted by any fool wanting to make a buck. This tool centers on more academic and evidenced-based articles and books, but still has links to lay websites.
- Advanced – PubMed is by far the most advanced search engine you’ll want to use. This is your go-to resource for free access to many medical journals that have been peer-reviewed and is considered to be the gold-standard of literature searching. With over 23 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books most of everything you’ll want to know about the research behind conventional and alternative recommendations for diabetes will be in here. Keep in mind that some journal articles are only available via subscription-only, but you can still review the abstracts (mini synapses of the articles) to give you a gist for what the article is saying.
Examples of key words and phrases to look up include:
- “Type 2 diabetes and insulin.”
- “Type 2 diabetes medications.”
- “Side effects of type 2 diabetes medications.”
- “Alternative treatment for type 2 diabetes.”
Learn to critically appraise the material that you’re reading. If, for instance, you’re reading an alternative treatment for diabetes and the author (regardless if they’re a MD, dietician or a shaman!) promises that your diabetes will be reversed in 30 days if you follow their “break through” program “GUARANTEED!” then take their advice with a grain of salt. Never throw out the baby with the bathwater, however, but always keep a keen eye for truth.
DIABETIC DIET OR A NEW WAY OF LIFE?
“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.”
~ Wilma Rudolph, gold medalist in athletics in 1960 and bronze medalist in 1956
At this point you have hopefully spent several hours educating yourself and have now gained a clearer perspective of what got you into this diabetes mess and what it now takes to get yourself out of it. If you haven’t stumbled upon it yet, let us suggest that for you to truly beat diabetes, you need to embrace a new way of life, not just another health gimmick. Diet programs are meant to be broken, and have built-in “cheat days” to help you stay the course, but this is not sustainable.
The reason most people develop high blood sugar and insulin resistance is not because they haven’t followed a certain exercise regimen. The reason is because their lifestyle has not been conducive to health and wellness. For most American diabetics, the culprits are sedentary lifestyles and diets filled with processed foods high in fat and sugar. Period. To reverse type 2 diabetes, therefore, one must simply reverse this trend and adopt a lifestyle defined by regular movement and consuming those foods and drinks that give life and are not filled with toxins.
BURST OR SURGE TRAINING
“Nothing can substitute for just plain hard work.”
~ Andre Agassi, gold medalist in tennis in 1996
As far as exercise goes, there’s arguably no better bang for your buck than burst training. This type of program maximizes on your natural metabolic reserves for short bursts of energy and will help you shed needless pounds that contribute to diabetes. As you do your Internet searching, find a program that fits your needs. Most capitalize on your busy schedule and only require 20 – 25 minutes of training per day, up to 6 days per week. Don’t shrug 20 minutes off as easy, though. Burst training will kick your butt and you’ll be happy to get through 15 minutes your first few times at it!
Some claim that au natural is the most effective, long-term approach to health and wellness with most enthusiasts never taking supplements or artificial products of any sort. According to natural health expert Joseph Mercola, DO, “You can obtain most of the nutrition you need from wholesome organic food. There are some exceptions, but it is quite rare that someone would really benefit from a shopping bag full of supplements, especially the synthetic varieties.” However, for someone who has just been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you may want to consider recruiting some help and kick start your body into gear.
There are more supplements on the market than we’d care to admit, and it’s honestly overwhelming to choose what to take and when. As you search the Internet for health tips and timeless advice, keep your eyes on the lookout for these staples as suggested by natural health expert Mercola:
- Pure fish or krill oil (for omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids)
- Live Probiotics (for ideal gut health)
- Super Greens Powder (for energy, power and tons of nutrition)
- Vitamin D (because people cannot get it unless they’re in the sun and most people are inside all day)
When taking any supplement, always try to consume them in a form that is as natural as possible. Don’t go cheap. Consider this your new medicine. Put your money where you want your health to be! Look for descriptors like:
- All natural
- Whole foods
- Not refined
And stay away from anything with added fillers such as:
- Vegetable Magnesium Stearate
- Titanium dioxide
- And artificial colors FD&C Blue No. 2 Lake, FD&C Red No. 40 Lake, FD&C Yellow No. 6 Lake
Don’t discount alternative methods to diabetes reversal like yoga, meditation and Tai Chi.
For example, in 2010 the British Journal of Sports Medicine published a preliminary study of the effects of Tai Chi on indicators of metabolic syndrome. Several participants with metabolic syndrome were recruited to be part of a 12-week Tai Chi program. After the 12 weeks, significant improvements were recorded in the following areas: Average 1.05 reduction in BMI waist circumference (2.80 cm average decrease), systolic and diastolic blood pressure decrease (11.64 mmHg, 9.73 mmHg) and glucose control (0.32 percent decrease in three month glucose test. In addition, insulin resistance fell, indicating a decreased predisposition for type 2 diabetes and the participants reported that they had experienced less stress and depression symptoms as well as increased mental health, increased vitality, better sleep, less pain, and fewer cravings for food while participating in the program. Amazingly, three patients no longer met the criteria for metabolic syndrome after this test.
A FINAL THOUGHT…
In summary, let your passion to beat your diagnosis be your guide as the wonderful world of type 2 diabetes reversal becomes available to you as you search the Internet. This is an exciting time for you and we are excited that you have taken the first step!