By Dr. Jeffrey Lant
The number of adults with diabetes worldwide has more than doubled in three decades, to an estimated 347 million a new study says. The study, led by Goodarz Danaei of the Harvard School of Public Health and Majid Ezzati of Imperial College, London, analyzed diabetes data from 1980 to 2008. Their analysis found that 153 million people had diabetes in 1980; this number had swelled to 347 million in 2008.
Much of that increase is due to aging populations — since diabetes typically hits in middle age — and population growth, but part of it has also been fueled by rising obesity rates.
With numbers climbing almost everywhere, experts said the disease is no longer limited to rich countries and is now a global problem. Countries in which the numbers rose fastest include Cape Verde, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Papua New Guinea, and the United States.
More alarming news.
These figures do not reflect the generations of overweight children and young adults who have yet to reach middle age. This will create a massive burden on already severely challenged health systems.
The most alarming news of all… Each of these people could take charge of their disease, but too often don’t, thereby triggering even graver health problems.
“A disease of the mouth.”
I like to say, tongue firmly in cheek, that diabetes is a disease of the mouth: open mouth, insert enough of the wrong things, get disease and all its myriad of complications. I should know; I’m one of the world’s aging diabetics. Now 64, I was diagnosed about 50.
The day my blunt, most direct physician delivered the news he asked me one question: “Do you want to live longer or shorter?” I chose longer; he then laid on me exactly what I needed to do to achieve the objective of more time and that of the highest quality. While hardly an ideal patient, I was more than willing to make the necessary changes in diet and lifestyle. Not only willing but committed and determined to do so. Once over 205 chunky pounds, my 5′ 10 1/2″ frame is now a lean 157 pounds… with all other numbers appropriate; something to write home about, especially since I can wear the same trousers I wore in graduate school 40 years ago! Can you?
What I have learned along the way.
I want to say, right from the get-go, that I am NOT playing physician here; you need to consult yours at regular intervals as I do. Still, diabetes seems to me a disease tailor-made for personal management. There are things, lots of things, you can do to improve your situation. Here’s what works for me:
1) Take ownership of your disease and decide whether you want to gamble with your life by doing little or nothing.
The great thing about diabetes is that its improvement or deterioration is very much in your hands. If you take charge in a positive, pro-active manner you are going to improve. if you persist in fighting your diagnosis and what you can do, right at home, too, you won’t. In other words, you can be adult about it… or select adolescent petulance.
2) Don’t try to change everything overnight; do start making changes at once. Remember, diabetes and what you do to manage it is a marathon, not a sprint. This is a disease without (just yet) a cure; it’s a disease that’s with you sleeping and waking. You cannot, therefore, do something today and then ignore it. With diabetes you’re fighting a war, not a battle. Treat it accordingly.
3) Clean out your cupboards… clean out your refrigerator.
If you don’t have readily at hand the destructive things… the high sugar drinks, the cakes and bakery goods… all the things that work against your success and create long-term problems, so much the better.
If you don’t have readily at hand the bad things and have to make a special effort to go out and get them, you will, perforce, ingest less.
4) Don’t think in terms of diets and deprivations. Think in terms of the additional life and time you’re getting.
We live in a culture that screams “I want this and I want this NOW!” We are all influenced by the “I’m worth it and I’m going to have it” mentality. Thus you need practical ways to overcome these insidious influences.
To start with, never call what you’re doing a “diet”. Diets are about depriving yourself; think instead of buying your life back from the pawn shop. When you eat bad things you’re cutting time off your life; when you make the necessary changes, you buy yourself back.
5) Count to 10.
Before you drink that sugary concoction or take another bite of your favorite confection, count to 10. This gives your brain time to remind you that you probably can live without the indiscretion you are about to make. The sequence goes like this: want. stop. count to 10.
Now, if you do this and still eat the offending morsel, even two, don’t collapse with guilt and recrimination. Just resolve to do better next time… because you can be sure there WILL be a next time, and many such.
6) Eat all day.
Still eating big, set meals that leave you breathless and bloated? These constitute an assault on the body. Stop it now!
Instead eat frequently throughout the day, small portions that satisfy and which your previously overworked body can handle.
Start eating fresh fruit… nuts… small snacks of maximum protein and nutrition, minimum sugars, calories, carbohydrates. Make the portions small but make their ingestion frequent. Your body knows its work. Don’t overfeed… graze instead. All day long.
7) Make breakfast your most important meal.
You’ve got a lot to accomplish today. You’re going to need a lot of energy and stamina. Thus, you must make breakfast your most important meal. Don’t even dream of stinting here. Breakfast constitutes the launching pad for a successful day. Treat it accordingly. By comparison never, ever eat your biggest meal at the end of the day or evening. Your body can’t handle it and shouldn’t have to try.
Before bed, give yourself a snack, fruit (raisons are always a treat), popcorn. You get the idea. Go to bed satisfied, sleep satisfied, wake up in productive good humor.
You’ll start seeing — and feeling — results at once.
The great thing about managing your diabetes is that if you follow these sensible suggestions, you’ll start seeing results at once. For one thing (and very gratifying it is) your weight will start to drop… reverting to your body’s natural weight. And as you see and feel that occurring, you’ll be spurred to keep on truckin’, towards the Promised Land.
As you go, as you achieve results, reward yourself. You deserve it, not least because you are doing what every one of the 347 million afflicted should be doing… but aren’t. Now that you are on your way to success, print this article and share it with a friend. It’s one of the privileges of your improved situation and state of mind. Use it… and help someone you know and love. Someday they’ll throw their arms around you and tell you you saved their life. And it’ll be true…
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About The Author
Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Dr. Lant is also a syndicated writer and author of 18 best-selling business books. Details at worldprofit.com and JeffreyLantArticles.com