Keeping in shape is half the battle when it comes to controlling your diabetes, writes Dominic Munnelly.
Over the past 10 years, Liz had gained over 45lbs of excess weight through poor eating habits. Everyday was filled with white bread, soft drinks, sweets, sugary cereals and pasta.
Having a part-time job in the local accounting firm and two children (aged six and eight) was very tiring. When she got a serious flu, Liz's doctor did some blood tests and discovered that she had type 2 diabetes. This explained why she had been experiencing tiredness and rapidly changing moods.
After starting her medication and getting dietary advice, Liz began to exercise in earnest. She walked every day in her first two weeks and started to see slight improvements in her blood glucose control. Through careful monitoring of her glucose levels, Liz was able to avoid hypoglycaemia most of the time (she always carried some fruit with her, just in case).
However, as the weeks went by, Liz was busy in work and the kids were off school, so her exercise routine was sporadic at best. She started taking more medication to control her blood glucose levels as her body lost the benefits of the reduction in insulin resistance and improved fitness.
Liz needed a boost so decided to join her local gym. At first it was very daunting, but with some simple advice she was back on course. Her programme consisted of 20 minutes brisk walking and 10 minutes on the exercise bike. The intensity of the aerobic exercise was gradually increased as her blood glucose levels came under better control and her fitness improved.
With weight training, stretching and stomach exercises, Liz was now finding toned muscles in her body that she hadn't had since she was in her twenties.
The goal-setting exercise her instructor did with her greatly helped keep her on track. The programme was reassessed every four weeks, maintaining her interest.
Liz was inspired by the new friends she'd met through various classes and slowly became a success story of her own.
Sometimes she couldn't attend as often as she would have liked but was always driven by the consequences of not exercising - increased use of expensive drugs, and risk of injury to the eyes, kidney and circulation.
Liz's drug use was carefully reduced and her accompanying weight loss improved her self-esteem. Most importantly, she realised how much she had missed out on previously due to tiredness.
The fog had lifted and Liz was now able to clearly see what was important to her. She was able to spend more time with her children and husband due to her increased energy from consistent exercise. To help her stay healthy, she used the mantra 'If it has got to be it's up to me!'.
Liz is now training for the ladies mini marathon and over the past year has dropped down to her ideal weight of nine stone (a decrease of 47lb).
She is frequently asked for advice from friends and family on how to reduce their chances of getting type 2 diabetes as they show the dangerous risk factors of obesity and physical inactivity. Liz made massive progress through her determination to live the life she wanted.
Where you are today is due to the decisions you have made in the past and where you will go in the future relies on what you decide in the present. Choose to make exercise a regular part of who you are and you will reap the benefits of a life full of energy and happiness.
Dominic Munnelly, BSc Sports Science, NLP www.thetransformationcatalyst.com
Issue June 2003
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