How to Turn Your Type 2 Diabetes—and Your Life—Around in 30 Days

| May 1, 2004

According to the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases, of the 17 million Americans with diabetes, 90 to 95 percent have type 2.

Of these, about one-third are unaware they have it.

Type 2 diabetes has become an epidemic in the United States, related in part to an increased number of older Americans, increased obesity and sedentary lifestyles.

If nothing changes, by the year 2050, 50 million individuals in the United States will have type 2, according to estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A Way to Make Progress: Eat Less and Move More

It has been said that the definition of insanity is repeating the same behavior and expecting different results.

To turn the numbers around in the type 2 epidemic, we need to stop the “insanity” of overeating, not exercising and still assuming that our weight will go down and diabetes will go away.

In other words, we need to start eating less and moving more.

The problem, however, is that we often subscribe to unrealistic strategies that give us no chance at success—and we repeat this pattern time after time.

The 300/200 Plan: A Realistic Strategy

I have worked with participants in adult fitness and cardiac rehabilitation programs for nearly 25 years.

Our team uses a plan called the “300/200 daily plan.”

We encourage our clients to reflect on their current lifestyle, especially in terms of exercise and diet. And we ask them what they are willing to change.

We help them quantify those changes by reducing caloric intake by 300 kcal and adding 200 kcal of exercise each day.

A net decrease of 500 kcal per day, through either eating less or moving more, can result in a one-pound weight loss per week.

Only a Starting Point

The 300/200 plan is simply a starting point for lifestyle change. As you see results, you may find other ways to increase these numbers.

One of my friends has type 2 diabetes. After a clot developed during knee replacement surgery, his obesity worsened and his mobility became even more limited. Nevertheless, in eight months, he lost 40 pounds. He actually saved his life using the 300/200 plan.

The changes he made, based on the plan, are straightforward and easy, and he feels able to stick with them (see the accompanying sidebar on page 40, for example). Simply put, he is eating less and moving more-and he is not miserable.

As a result of following the 300/200 plan and losing weight, he is now able to begin an exercise program.

Are You Willing to Try?

You can change your life and may be able to better control your type 2 diabetes with small changes in diet and exercise plans. These changes can become habitual if you continue on the program for 30 days.

Always check with your physician before incorporating any changes in exercise or diet.

The big question remains: are you willing to try?

Clinical adviser’s note: This same 300/200 strategy can also be applied to the more than 16 million Americans with pre-diabetes, a condition also known as impaired fasting glucose. The “Follow-up Report on the Diagnosis of Diabetes Mellitus,” prepared by the Expert Committee on the Diagnosis and Classification of Diabetes Mellitus and published in the November 2003 issue of Diabetes Care, defined pre-diabetes as a fasting plasma blood glucose in the range of 100 to 125 mg/dl. (This latest definition lowered the bottom limit of the pre-diabetes range.)

People with pre-diabetes face not only the risk of developing diabetes but also an increased cardiovascular risk similar to that of individuals already diagnosed with diabetes. The results of the Diabetes Prevention Program indicate that lifestyle changes such as greater physical activity—for example, walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week—and reasonable weight loss can significantly delay or prevent the progression to diabetes. This is one more good reason to get started on a 10,000-step program with a pedometer.

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Categories: Blood Glucose, Columns, Diabetes, Diabetes, Exercise, Fitness, Type 2 Issues

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