Diabetes was a rarity in cultures with people that ate diets composed entirely of wholesome, natural foods; who exercised vigorously; who lived and worked outdoors under natural sunlight; and who were exposed to a minimum of environmental pollutants. A physician’s primary goal is to help diabetic, pre-diabetic, or insulin-resistant patients take the first safe exit off the freeway and head in a completely new direction.
In dealing with diabetes it is important to realize that relying on conventional medicine alone sets in play a relentless worsening of the condition with little chance of successfully modifying the outcome. Diabetics or those with a pre-diabetic condition such as impaired glucose tolerance or syndrome X need to make serious changes in their whole way of life
If you have diabetes or a pre-diabetic condition, you will need to accept the need for change. Denial is a big barrier to change. People who have addictive conditions, the first step in recovery is a willingness to see one’s situation exactly as it is. Depression is another common barrier to change which is a common occurrence in diabetes. Five critical changes must occur and must be consistently maintained if you want to win good health and avoid catastrophic outcomes from diabetes.
- Change your attitude
- Learn to deal with stress
- Don’t smoke
- Achieve ideal body weight
- Exercise regularly
The first step in dealing with diabetes is developing a positive attitude. The most important coping mechanism to learn is how to calm the mind and body. The goal of relaxation techniques is to produce a physiological response known as relaxation response which requires breathing with the diaphragm, which changes a person’s physiology by activating the relaxation centers in the brain. There are three key habits to help you develop a positive mental attitude.
- Improve the way you talk to yourself
- Ask better questions
- Set positive goals
The damaging effects of diabetes are multiplied over and over again if you smoke. To be able to quit smoking is not easy. Once you have come to grips with the fact that you must quit, the next step is to set a quit date. You should have a physician to assist you with this. Smoking is both and addiction and a collection of habits that have been integrated into your lifestyle.
Determining the need for weight loss is one of the most important first steps in determining the treatment priorities in the diabetic by the use of the body mass index (BMI). To calculate your BMI use the following calculation:
Most people will successfully lose 10 percent of their body weight by consistently learning to make wise food choices, avoiding overeating at all costs, and consistently finishing each day with a modest calorie deficit by eating slightly less that than they need to maintain their weight in addition to burning some extra calories with moderate exercise.
Successful and long-lasting weight loss results from losing ½ to 2 pounds per week, depending on the amount of total weight to be lost.
Exercising is essential in the prevention and management of diabetes as well as in pre-diabetic conditions such as glucose intolerance and syndrome X. It has been shown to sustain weight loss more effectively than any other treatment available. Exercise directly improves insulin sensitivity and blood sugar, probably from a combination of increased lean muscle mass and an improvement in muscle cell metabolism. Exercise also decreases symptoms of anxiety and depression and improves sexual functioning, confidence, and self-esteem. Aerobic exercise, strength training, and stretching exercises are the three types of exercises recommended for people with diabetes.
Aerobic exercises produce a rise in heart and respiratory rates. Strength training should be done two or three times per week with light to moderate weights. Stretching exercises should be done daily. You should make a commitment to achieve optimal health by choosing to be positive, choosing to eat for optimum health; choosing to lead a health-promoting lifestyle, and choosing to support your body chemistry through proper nutritional supplementation. By doing this, you are building a strong foundation for achieving ideal health and a long life, and possibly setting the stage for a possible cure.
Part 11: Diabetic Complications
Recommended reading: How to Prevent and Treat Diabetes with Natural Medicine (Michael Murray, N.D., Michael Lyon, M.D.)