Tag: diabetes

Metabolic Syndrome, The Hard Truth

As the years of our lives pass, it gets easier and easier to become a little over-weight, obese, or even morbidly obese. It may seem that just a few short years ago you were the high school star athlete or cheer leader. You were in top physical condition and a fine specimen to look at.

Then came the responsibilities of life, where you are raising a family and sometimes, no matter how hard you work, keeping the bills paid becomes a stressful focus. Sally has dance lessons, Johnny has his trumpet lessons, while the baby has colic and her constant crying is allowing no peace for anyone in the house.

Yesterday you were the picture of perfect health and fitness, today you look and feel like a busted can of biscuits. Your gut is hanging over your belt, unless you wear those stretchy pants where a belt is not required. You quit tucking in your shirts to hide said gut and you have also begun coordinating your clothing in order to not appear as fat as you have become. And yes, guys can be just as bad about this as the ladies. Well, guess what? You are not fooling anyone. If you are fat, you look fat no matter how you dress. But more importantly than your physical appearance, your health is what matters. Face it, if you continue your path to obesity with poor nutritional habits, your ability to care for your family and even yourself is going to become more difficult over time. You may find yourself making a choice between paying a utility bill this month or a co-pay at the doctors office in order for you to be seen for a condition that is 100% related to your poor dietary choices.

Metabolic Syndrome

What is Metabolic Syndrome?

In short, you are fat, out of shape and no longer a healthy individual.

Or for a longer explanation, you have a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels. (1)

The term Metabolic Syndrome is a medical diagnosis. What you do about this diagnosis is going to be a matter of personal choice. You can choose to continue with your poor nutritional habits of convenience foods that are packed full of simple sugars, high in fat, sodium and preservatives. This weak choice is going to lead to taking out the time for more doctor visits with blood labs possible each time, along with having to take medications to control the issues you suffer from. Unnecessary money and time being expended away from the larger responsibility of your family and home.

Your other choice is to take personal responsibility for your health and to be proactive in doing something about it. If you are smart, you will clean up your diet and replace processed foods with healthy whole foods. You will eliminate simple sugar from your diet, and you will begin some form of exercise with your doctors approval. By cleaning up your dietary habits, your blood labs will normalize. By quitting refined sugar and other simple carbohydrates, your cravings for foods that contain them will subside. If you think eating healthy foods is too expensive, consider the reduction of monthly expenses when you no longer need to see your doctor regular and all of those monthly prescription refills you may have for blood pressure drug, statins, acid reflux etc… With the cost of medcal care today, you could likely pay for at least a weeks worth of groceries with the medical expense savings alone.

Is exercise necessary to become healthy? What if I am in a condition where my ability to do so has become impaired?

Well. if you either cannot, or simply do not want to exercise, then you had damn well better be much stricter about your diet. That is a simple and plain hard truth my friends. This point is not even arguable on any level. Here is another truth, if you can move your body in any fashion, then you can begin doing something, anything to become more mobile. Even if you cannot walk, you can still do arm. abdominal and back exercises. If you are still capable of walking, then you can do the following:

  1. Walk briskly. Or, briskly for you.
  2. Put on some music and move your body with dance, Move your body around, shift your weight from one leg to another, lift your arms to the beat of the music. Look like a young child again, have fun with it.
  3. If you cannot jump rope, make believe you are by skipping in place.
  4. Get up and down from your chair 50 to 100 times.
  5. If you have stairs in your home, then walk up and down them several times per day.
  6. Try doing jumping jacks.
  7. Hop in a circle around a room in your home. Get your kids involved, the young ones will have a blast. Try hopping on one foot at a time for 30 second intervals.
  8. Rise up and down on your toes to work your calves.
  9. Stand on one leg and hold onto a chair or a wall for balance. Extend your free leg in front of you so the heel stretches out about 12 inches in front of your standing leg. Now bend your standing leg knee so you lower your body about 6 inches, and then come back up. Do this 25 times and then switch legs.
  10. Jog in place, picking your knees up higher each time and also extending the time you do this.
  11. You can pick and choose any of these simple exercises and do them as you watch television and your program is interupted by a commercial.

Now of course if you are overweight and in poor condition, fatigue and soreness are going to be a limiting factor. But, these factors are only short term in nature. The objective is for you to work your way up with increased exercise. You may not be capable of running in a marathon next month, but you may find yourself at least able to walk in a 5k event. You can walk, do a few flights of stairs until you are fatigued. Take a rest and go at it again after a few hours. Build on the amount of time you can do this until you can go for a solid hour. The more out of shape you are, the more important it will be for you to exercise in short periods on a frequent basis. If you can only go at it for 5 minutes at a time, then plan your day to dedicate six five minute time frames to do your exercise. No excuses, just choose to plan and then commit. If you make regular exercise a habit, before you know it, you will find yourself far exceeding your original capabilities.

You can burn calories and fat with a variety of cardiovascular exercises, but if you want more bang for the buck, you must consider some form of strength training in order to increase your lean muscle mass. Some people will complain that they can not lose weight even when they have cut back on their food intake. Usually the problem is they are still consuming too many calories for their basal metabolic rate, still eating sugar and have very little lean muscle mass. The more lean muscle mass you have, the easier it is going to be for you to burn body fat. The way to address this is to go to our Calorie Calculator in our menu to find out your caloric needs and then consume a sugar free diet that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates, along with performing strength building exercises. Your body needs the protein to not only maintain your lean muscle mass, but more importantly to increase it. As your body fat percentage comes down, you also need for your lean muscle mass percentage to rise. At David’s Way, we actually support working towards a healthy body fat percentage over a random number you might want to see on your bathroom scale.

Invariably, people who complain that their metabolic rate is slow and they have trouble losing weight no matter what they consume week to week have weak muscles and are poorly conditioned. When you perform strength building exercises, you are going to increase the density of your lean muscle mass which is going to raise your metabolism. Increasing your lean muscle mass can be done by anyone who makes the choice to do so. If you want to be healthy, this is imperative. This is why we encourage achieving a healthy body fat percentage over a number on the scale. You might lose 50 to 100 pounds, be thin and yet be what is referred to as “Skinny fat”. Your weight means little if your body fat percentage is still at an unhealthy level. If you are thin and also soft to the touch, then you are no healthier than you were when you were much heavier. You are only thinner, do not fool yourself that being able to wear smaller clothing now means you are in decent shape. Skinny fat is still bad for you.

Many, if not most who go about losing weight, lose lean muscle along with body fat. If you do not maintain what you have or build upon it, you can regain all of the weight you have lost and now have a higher body fat percentage than you had before losing weight. This is going to be detrimental to your metabolism. If you are a yo-yo dieter who does not build muscle too, then your metabolism is going to slow more and more with each weight gain. Exercise is going to facilitate your weight loss and make you healthier. Vigorous exercise is even better. Build up to it gradually, You have the rest of your life if you have made a decision to be healthy for the remainder of your life. Start slow and build yourself up, do not injure yourself. If you have the fortitude to begin living a healthy life, you will find the will to eat healthy and exercise.

Metabolic Syndrome may be a medical diagnosis, or maybe it is actually a politically correct and polite way of saying you are fat and out of shape. Either way, you can do something about it. And what you do, does not have to require expensive doctors visits and medications. If you make an intelligent choice, you will clean up your diet and begin an exercise regimen right away. This truly is a matter of personal choices and then sticking with it. You are likely to have a few saboteurs along the way who will try to derail you by getting you to “just eat a little cake” or what ever. People who will tell you how good you have done and then pester you to join them in poor food choices. When you stick to your decision to only eat healthy and remain committed to making time for exercise, some of the people close to you may get angry when you do not join them in unhealthy habits. Bear in mind, if these kind hearted folks really care about your health and well being, they will not try to sabotage you. Misery loves company and unhealthy people will try to drag you down to their level. Sometimes, being around a crowd that eats a lot of unhealthy foods and do not exercise is like finding yourself in a bucket full of crabs. Where the harder you try to climb out, the harder they are going to try to pull you back in. Do yourself a favor and avoid the crabs.

Life and how we live it is truly a matter of personal choices. Choose wisely, you only have one body and one life.

(1) http://www.MayoClinic.org

Diabetes, Obesity and Life Choices

In America, in this modern world where we have all the information in the world contained within the phone held in our hand, we as a nation have become nutritionally ignorant. It is now the norm for American citizens to be overweight and almost all adults will eventually have to take prescribed medications for heart disease, diabetes, cholesterol, or blood pressure. Today, the number of obese Americans actually outnumber those who smoke, use illegal drugs, or suffer from other ailments.

Here is a hard truth for you, obesity is a personal choice made by the individual. We choose what we consume. We choose to eat high carbohydrate foods full of sugar and preservatives. We choose fast foods of convenience rather than preparing a healthy meal at home. We choose to mindlessly eat in front of the television over sitting as a family at the dining room table. The choices we make with food creates diseases and fuels out of control medical costs. This is a scientific fact that can not be argued with any intelligence. Are you aware that even just being five extra pounds of body fat on a normal size body frame can lead to type 2 diabetes? Sadly, diabetes is now beginning to explode worldwide as populations in all corners of the globe are now being exposed to processed foods in the worlds food supply,

Around the world, most physicians are attempting to solve obesity related ailments such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high blood pressure with medications and invasive medical procedures. The absurdity of this is, these maladies come from the choices we make with food. It is a fact that people who choose to eat healthy and exercise in order to keep their body fat down to healthy levels almost never get diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or the related ailments that come from these conditions. If you make the choice to eat healthy and exercise your body, you are much more likely to live a healthy life, physically, mentally and financially. Diabetes and obesity is taking a huge financial toll on America. Our choices to eat food products that are high in calories and low in nutrition may eventually bankrupt us as a nation. The average type 2 diabetic incurs about $6,650 a year in health care expenses directly related to diabetes. More than half of Americans can expect to be diabetic or prediabetic by the year 2020 which is soon to be here. Oddly, a lot of folks, despite their poor nutrition habits and obesity are totally unaware that they are either prediabetic or have it fully.

With our poor choices of nutrition, eating what is quick, cheap and makes us feel good, we as a nation are eating ourselves into premature graves. Our lack of good nutritional habits are at the core of our health care crisis If you or someone you love is obese and or diabetic these medical complications can and should be expected if you never take the initiative to clean up your diet and to begin exercising your body:

  • Heart disease-Death from heart disease and risk for stroke is three times higher for diabetics.
  • High blood pressure-75% of diabetics have high blood pressure (130/180 or higher)
  • Blindness-Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness among adults.
  • Kidney disease-Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure.
  • Nervous system disease-The majority of diabetics develop nervous system impairment such as reduced feeling in the feet, impaired digestion, and erectile dysfunction.
  • Amputations-Diabetes is the leading cause of limb amputations.
  • Cancer-Diabetes increases the risk of cancer, including a 30% increase in colorectal cancer.

If you are obese and are neither diabetic or prediabetic, do not get a false sense of confidence that you can continue to live with an unhealthy diet. You really are not any safer from health risks than the diabetic and here is why. If you are significantly overweight, with an excess of fifty pounds of body fat, your body is going to require huge loads of insulin from the pancreas, up to ten times more that of people of a healthy body fat percentage. Some folks have a large pancreas beta cell capacity, so they can produce insulin levels high enough to not become diabetic. These people have insulin levels high enough to be a strong predictor of heart attack risk and a shorter life span. Whether obese folks are diabetic or not, their high insulin levels are dangerous. You physician can better predict a heart attack from your insulin levels than they can from your cholesterol levels. It is not uncommon for people to end up on a gurney in a hospital emergency room fighting for their very life as a result of a heart attack when they learn their blood sugar levels are elevated. These heart attack victims never had any idea they were diabetic as their first indication came from a heart attack as a result of having high insulin levels for far too many years.

Every day you can begin the day by making the personal choice to live healthy by consuming a diet that is conducive to low body fat levels and by beginning some form of exercise with your doctor’s approval. You can make this choice. Choosing a healthy life may seem difficult at first, but it will become easier as you develop a new and improved lifestyle.

You can also wake up and make the choice to eat poorly and to not move your body except to get your butt up off the couch to waddle into the kitchen for another jelly donut. You can make the choice to live easy in the moment, but here is a dose of reality for you. This choice to live easy in the moment is going to cost you dearly later in life when you suffer the hardships which arise from unhealthy life habits.

It is your life and your choice to make in how you are going to live it. Choose your path intelligently. If you choose to take the path of least resistance, be prepared for the hardships which are sure to come. Choose wisely.

Rest in Peace Laverne

Early Tuesday morning as I was enjoying my first cup of coffee and watching our local news and weather, I was saddened to learn about the death of Penny Marshall as a result of complications from diabetes. Ms. Marshall was a television and Hollywood icon, in the seventies I always loved watching her playing the role of Laverne on the Happy Days spin off Laverne and Shirley. She was a talented and funny lady who went on to become a highly successful movie director. Ms Marshall made history when she became the first woman to ever gross more than $100 million for directing a film. The film was the 1988 hit “Big” starring Tom Hanks.

I do not want to jump into too many conclusions about Ms. Marshall’s death, except that in my experience with people whom I have known who also died of complications from diabetes, it has been exclusively because they did not control their disease by eating a diabetes friendly diet, nor did they attempt to control their weight in any fashion. Diabetes is a disease which can be managed, this disease does not have to cause your early death. The ravages of Type 2 Diabetes can actally be reversed through proper diet and exercise. Yet, too many people settle to monitor their blood sugar and take chances with their health by continuing to eat poorly. Too many have the thought they can carry on their lives as they did pre-diabetes because they can simply take a pill or a shot of insulin in order to keep them “healthy”. The reality though, it matters little how much money you have, nor your access to the best doctors and medicines, if you do not manage your disease through diet and exercise, you will eventually suffer possible amputations of extremities and or death at some point.

Why is it so hard for so many diabetics to give up foods they know are destructive to their health?

To be successful in achieving optimal health and permenent weight loss, the nature of human complexity needs to be considered. Most foods we consume today as a part of the Standard American Diet are full of sugar and can be addicting physically and emotionally. Sadly, there are many people who would rather face death than to change their way of eating. It is as if the subconscious mind quits caring about logic and science. As a species, we humans are physical, emotional and social beings. Many folks will flat reject learning about healthy eating and living, with a good many even rationalizing or making excuses why they can not change their ways.

It is not uncommon that folks will give reasons and excuses to continue down their path to dietary suicide. Yes, suicide is the word. If you refuse to change your dietary habits after a diabetes diagnosis, then you are committing a slow suicide and your family will have to pick up the broken pieces. This being the case, remember, it is never just about you in these situations. Your actions, or lack there of, impacts your loved ones too. You may not have a conscious thought of wanting to die, you likely do not want to. Our brains are designed to dim awareness to information that causes us distress and anxiety.. For many folks, the very thought of changing the way they eat is a huge source of distress and anxiety. So many can not fathom a life without sweet treats and such. Unhealthy, sugar laden foods are a slow working poison, but the human mind can fear change more so than it fears a unhealthy diet.

If you are the type who has an addictive mind, you likely will always be able to dream up a solid reason to justify the continuation of your addiction to unhealthy sugar laden foods. Many food addicts will resort to using the line “If you had a life like mine, you would binge too”. Sorry, but that kind of thinking is a lame cop out, please refrain from getting into a self defeating cycle of of self pity and gloom if you have a diagnosis of diabetes and a weight issue. You can live a healthy life, if you make the choice to do so. Many people with addictive personalities will lose total control once the addiction to their food choices takes hold. Often the food addict will lose control of their own descision making. Over eating, eating poorly and remaining obese in spite of health consequences are prime examples the power a sugar addiction has over the individual.

Over eating is also too often the result of a low self esteem. If you read social media from weight loss apps such as Weight Watchers, you can see this every day, multiple times. This makes people vulnerable to negative peer pressure, addictions and emotional binging. Have you ever feared appearing different than others and believe that changing the way you eat will result in a loss of social status? People will also over eat to raise dopamine and serotonin activity in the brain so that they can dull the frustration, disappointment and pain of life. Is this you? If so, all negativity can be turned around. Changing your diet can go hand in hand with a new attitude about yourself, life and the many possibilities ahead of you. Know that a healthy diet goes hand in hand with a healthy attitude about life and a love of life.

If you are obese and or have been diagnosed with diabetes, please acknowledge the problem. Ackolwedge the difficulties of getting through it, and just do it. You have to face facts, accept your discomforts and then work your way through them. Your mind may not like the changes you have to make to accomodate a new healthier life, but you have to stick with it until the changes begin to just feel natural instead of foreign. No one can cure an addiction unless they are willing and have made the personal choice to fight through it. The key to getting through a food addiction is to make the commitment to stick through dietary changes that will make you healthier. Go forth with the knowledge and comfort that every day spent working to a heathier life will become easier and more pleasurable.