I was having an interesting conversation with my Endocrinologist, two weeks ago while we were busy high-fiving and patting each other on the back for an excellent A1C result (which you can see my excitement in the video I posted here). The conversation involved telling me that I was a very “boring” patient, because I took care of myself made an effort to maintain and control my Diabetes as opposed to allowing it to control me.
He explained that he occasionally spoke of me to some of his other patients (without using my name or personal information, of course) in relation to things they should be doing and he wanted my opinion as to what I felt the success of my treatment was attributed to. I gave him my usual spiel about exercising, trying to eat well and testing my blood sugars often, but the biggest factor I provided was the WILL to do those things.
It’s no secret that uncontrolled blood sugars and in fact, Diabetes in general can cause a person to be without energy, drive and ambition. Most importantly, a person who has suffered through Diabetes for any number of years will often just throw up their hands or hang their heads low and say, “Fuck it…” before indulging in an easier lifestyle and all the vices and poor health choices that it includes. And that’s where I differ from the norm…
The body is a complex machine; one that requires constant attention and maintainance. And that’s not just an expression. Although biological in nature, your body IS a machine, with a shit ton of complex and delicate moving parts, functions and movements. You need to fuel this machine in the form of food consumption for energy, patch up and repair when there’s damage and provide supplementation and medications, as well. And all of that is controlled by a meaty computer processor that’s protectively encased in an armoured helmet. Not least of which is that we have a tail pipe that vents gas and expels waste like a vehicle.
Even the most high-end and sophisticated engines will eventually seize if hey aren’t maintained, lubricated and fed the appropriate types of fuel. And the superb machine that is your body is no different. I’ve had this discussion with a number of Diabetic associates that I’ve had over the years (most of which are unfortunately already deceased). Although it can be easy to just eat whatever’s laying around and whatever’s easiest, one needs to put in the effort to eat fresh foods, lean proteins and portions that won’t cause you to balloon up like a morbid, meat-based beach ball. I’m partial to salmon and tuna steaks, and enjoy a carb-free meal of fish and brussel sprouts at least twice a week.
Exercise is already an integral part to keeping oneself healthy and it’s no surprise that it would be all the more important for someone with Diabetes. I’ve struggled for years against weight gain, blood sugar levels and better body chemistry, all of which can be manipulated and improved through exercise. And to be honest, unless you’re part of a club or formal fitness club that you’re paying for, it doesn’t have to take huge lengths of time. At home, I keep my workouts limited to thirty or forty minutes. This allows for a good sweat, an increased heart rate AND it allows me to opportunity to get the workout done before my children make me wish they were old enough to wear sparring gear! The point is that you can hammer out any variety of workouts in the short time that it takes you to watch one episode of whatever you’re binge-watching at the moment.
Between food and exercise, you need to pay close attention to your insulin levels and blood sugars. Maintaining those two aspects of your Diabetes in conjunction with food and exercise will guarantee an increased longevity and less chance of serious Diabetes complications. Most Diabetes complications are permanent. Although you can get SOME organs replaced, there’s never any guarantee. You can remedy an amputation by getting a prosthetic, but this ain’t a sci-fi movie. You won’t be hustling around with a cybernetic limb. At least not yet.
So knowing that it could help you live longer, be healthier and feel better, one would be inclined to think that this would be the only motivation you need. But unfortunately, this is rarely the case. You need to WANT those things. You also need to recognize that stepping up and putting the effort is the ONLY way you’ll get them. An important part of it is to ask yourself what you have to fight for.
Personally, I’d like to live long enough to see the potential birth of my grandchildren and grow old with my wife. I can’t do that if I have a heart attack in my forties because I ate like shit and sat on the couch day in and day out… So folks, work hard at keeping your engine running. It’s the only one you’ll get. And once you’re dead, there are no backsies! So work hard, eat well and make the effort to make all your medical appointments. Your engine will run smoother, longer and you’ll get to reap the benefits that come with a longer, happier life. ☯