We don’t like to hear this, but the primary causes of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes are tied directly to our habits. Our lifestyle choices: what we eat, how active we are, and whether we’re overweight are major factors when it comes to high blood sugar and a host of other diseases.
This is why I cringe when someone says they’re going to treat their lifestyle disease (e.g., diabetes) with a drug. Follow the logic. If our lifestyle led to a particular disease, doesn’t it make sense that we need to change our lifestyle? Instead, we swallow a pill thinking that will take care of things. Meanwhile, we continue living the way we always have with the false assurance that the drug will make up for it.
What doctors seldom tell you is that if you rely solely on a drug to manage your blood sugar, the disease will progress.[i] True, with the help of the drug, diabetes will progress at a slower rate, but it will still progress. The reason for this is that drugs like metformin merely address the symptoms, not the cause of your high blood sugar.
Also, over the years that you’re on that drug, your body will develop tolerance to the drug so that you’ll continually need stronger and stronger drugs to achieve the same benefit you initially hoped for.[ii]
Third, I don’t have space in this article to get into all the nasty side effects of metformin and other similar drugs.[iii] Of course drugs have their place in medicine, but when we take a drug, we should know how else this drug is going to affect us.
Fourth, know that the medical community is predisposed to prescribe drugs, because they exist to make a profit like any other business. It’s like asking your barber if you need a haircut. Of course he’s going to say, “Yes!”
Initiate a Change in Your Lifestyle
Okay, if you’re open to changing the lifestyle that led to high blood sugar, there are at least three powerful things you can do that will help you lower your blood sugar. Be sure to engage in these three actions under the supervision of your doctor. At the same time, it’s your body; your life, so take control of your health.
And by the way, even if you don’t currently have high blood sugar, these three actions can help prevent you from developing it.
3 Powerful Ways to Manage Your Blood Sugar
- Lose weight if you’re overweight! I know, this is easier said than done. But even losing 10 or 15 pounds will lower your blood sugar.[iv] Don’t look for a magic pill or crash diet to lose weight. You need to change your habits. If you follow the next two ways below, you’ll see your weight and blood sugar drop.
- Change your eating habits! The standard American diet is filled with sugar. To a great extent that’s what has gotten us in trouble. One simple way to change your eating habits is to involve any or all of the following:
- Reduce your portion sizes.
- Eat only three meals per day with no snacking. (Contrary to what you’ve heard, eating numerous small meals throughout the day does not help lower blood sugar. Every time you eat, your blood sugar rises.)
- Eliminate all sugar and artificial sweeteners from your diet. Don’t drink sodas (diet or regular) and learn to drink your tea or coffee without sugar or other sweeteners.
- Increase the amount of protein you eat and consume fewer carbs. Substitute whole grain foods for white bread, white rice, and pasta.
- Exercise regularly! Physical exercise is one of the best ways to manage blood sugar and prevent the physical problems often associated with diabetes as it progresses. Regular exercise offers numerous benefits:[v], [vi], [vii]
- Burns glucose and lowers blood sugar
- Increases cell sensitivity to insulin
- Increases the take-up and utilization of oxygen throughout the body
- Lowers risk for heart disease and stroke (the number one killer of diabetics)
- Lowers blood pressure
- Increases your energy
- Helps you sleep better
- Helps you lose and maintain a healthy weight
Here are some tips for beginning an exercise plan:
- Choose an exercise you enjoy (or can learn to enjoy)
- Select an exercise you can engage in regularly
- Purchase necessary equipment to make your exercise enjoyable
- Start out slowly
- Exercise four or five days a week at least 30 minutes at a time
- Exercise with a friend or loved one
- Drink plenty of water while you exercise
- Track your progress
Give exercise and your new eating plan time to work. If you’ve been sedentary, your body will need time to get used to your new routines. Monitor your blood sugar levels and watch them drop. Also, remember that muscle weighs more than fat, so don’t rely solely on your scale to gauge your progress.
Finally, here’s a video link to a personal testimonial of a celebrity who has managed his blood sugar for over 25 years using the methods described in this article. I think you’ll enjoy getting reacquainted with this television personality! And following his example, you too can manage your blood sugar.
[i] Diabetes Digest.com, “Natural Progression of Type 2 Diabetes,” February 7, 2014, http://diabetesdigest.com/living-with-type-2-diabetes-progression/.
[ii] Daniel A. Hussar, PhD, “Tolerance and Resistance to Drugs,” Merck Manual, nd, http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/drugs/factors-affecting-response-to-drugs/tolerance-and-resistance-to-drugs.
[iii] Drugs.com, “Metformin Side Effects,” nd, http://www.drugs.com/sfx/metformin-side-effects.html.
[iv] WebMD, “Will Weight Loss Help Your Diabetes?” May 14, 2015, http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/safe-diet-tips-for-diabetes?page=2.
[v] WebMD, “11 Exercise Tips for Type 2 Diabetes,” October 22, 2014, http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/type-2-diabetes-guide/exercise-guidelines.
[vi] Dr. Joseph Mercola, MD, “Exercise Alone May Help Those with Type 2 Diabetes,” July 26, 2013, http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2013/07/26/diabetes-exercise.aspx.
[vii] American Diabetes Association, “Physical Activity Is Important,” April 9, 2015, http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/fitness/physical-activity-is-important.html.