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With soaring levels of Type II Diabetes over recent years, it’s not surprising we’ve written about Diabetes several times before in this blog. You can find our posts here, here and here
 
The good – and potentially bad (!) – news about Type II Diabetes is that it’s a Lifestyle Condition. In other words, it’s the result of poor lifestyle choices being made over a long period of time. And we would emphasise the last few words. Over a long period of time. The effects of poor lifestyle choices cast a very long shadow, with the seeds usually being sown many years – or decades – before… 
 
 
We often hear people saying they can’t understand why they’ve been diagnosed with Type II Diabetes when their current lifestyle is good. Or, more often, when we dive into the specifics relatively good (!). We then have to explain to them that the damage may well have started many years or decades ago... However, this is not as dire as it initially sounds, as our bodies are incredibly forgiving and resilient IF we give them what they need to heal. 
 
So, what are these poor lifestyle choices? 
 
While we know that people don’t want to hear it, they can be summarised very simply. A diet high in carbohydrates and sugar coupled with a lack of exercise. Sadly, it really is that simple… 
 
However, despite how it appears, this is good news; although we appreciate it may initially sound like very bad news too. The good news is that lifestyle choices are entirely within our control, even though many people will try to convince themselves – and us too (!) – this isn’t the case. However, it is. Full stop. End of story. They’re the choices we make every day – usually without thinking about them – so we’re the only ones who can address them. It can’t be done by anyone else for us. 
 
This means taking a long and hard look at the choices we’ve been making – now and in the past – and then taking steps to address them over the long term. Studies have repeatedly show that Type II Diabetes can be reversed – and in a relatively short period of time – but it’s up to us to make the necessary changes. And, just as important, make them part of our lives. This is a long term project, not a short term fix. But this, again, is good news as it brings a multitude of other health benefits too… 
 
Interestingly, in the last few months, we’ve noticed a change in the way this matter is being addressed. A definite change of focus. No longer is it simply a case of diagnosing whether a person has Type II Diabetes or not. Prescribing lifestyle changes and / or medication if Diabetes is diagnosed. No further action – for the moment, at least – for a negative diagnosis, which can be akin to ignoring a ticking timebomb… 
 
Instead, a slightly more proactive approach is being taken, which has to be a step in the right direction. This has taken the form of two additional diagnoses. “Pre Diabetic” and “Insulin Resistant.” 
 
While these are essentially the same – indicating that someone is already on a downward slope, potentially leading to Type II Diabetes – it does acknowledge that an issue is building and action needs to be taken NOW. 
 
However, from a number of recent conversations with Clients, this new approach just doesn’t seem to be having the desired effect. Acting as an early warning of potential problems ahead. Encouraging the person to start making changes NOW to address the issue. 
Instead, it seems to be causing confusion, coupled with a feeling of inevitability and powerlessness. 
 
Why is this? 
 
Well, sadly, it’s largely down to the way this information is communicated to people. In particular it doesn’t seem to be made clear that Type II Diabetes isn’t inevitable. In fact, the outcome is largely in their own hands. Instead, the message people tend to come away with is that they’re going to get Type II Diabetes and there’s little they can do about it, so may as well carry on as they are. And, in the process, a golden opportunity is missed. 
 
This is why spending time with a Client, giving a proper explanation, information and follow up are so important. Explaining what this diagnosis actually means, both now and in the longer term. Giving the necessary information and support to make lifestyle changes. Making it clear that Type II Diabetes isn’t inevitable or irreversible. 
 
All too often, this means going back to the basics of nutrition and the things we talk about regularly in this blog. After all these years of working with Clients, we’re still amazed by the number of people who seem to have little idea about what their body actually needs, let alone how to prepare it at home. 
 
While it may be easy to give someone a leaflet or website to visit, we all know that people tend to go for the easiest option. This means these resources probably aren’t going to be used. Similarly, expecting someone to make what may be quite radical lifestyle changes on their own, just isn’t realistic. They need help and support over a long period of time. 
 
And, while this may seem like a lot of work for one person, the benefits are much greater. Not only for that particular person, and their future health, but also for their families and those around them. Improving the lifestyle choices of one person in a family is going to send ripples out across the family as a whole, particularly children… 
 
Added to this, it’s increasingly becoming clear that Insulin Resistance, Pre Diabetes and Type II Diabetes are about so much more than simply getting blood sugar under control. Keeping it within “safe” limits. Research is now finding that Insulin, directly or indirectly, affects many other body processes and hormones. In fact it’s being referred to as a “Master Hormone” in recognition of this. This is also one of the reasons why Insulin Resistance and Type II Diabetes are linked to so many other chronic and Lifestyle Conditions. Once again, it just isn’t as simple as we’d like to think… 
 
So, in a couple of weeks’ time, we’re going to take a closer look at Insulin. Compare the traditional “Insulin controls sugar” point of view with the much broader role that’s starting to emerge. And, in the process, give an additional incentive for everyone – regardless of their current health – to take a long hard look at their lifestyle and diet. 
 
As always, the choice is yours. 
 
 
Picture by unknown author 
 
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