BUT…the comments from the first two segments have convinced me that I need to pause here and do a Q & A. So here are the top 5 comments and my thoughts.
“My sugar [level] was 110, but my doctor didn’t say anything about it.” Doctors have become quite accustomed to seeing abnormalities in lab values and many do not address levels that don’t dictate medical (prescription) intervention. This is very similar to the standard medical approach to overweight and obesity. Many physicians won’t bring up excess weight of “only” 20-30 lbs unless the patient specifically asks about weight loss. Even physicians are sensitive to the issue offending patients and in many cases they can’t offer a real solution, so they don’t bring it up. Additionally, in the presence of multiple abnormal lab values, other areas of concern can be perceived as more critical and/or easier to address. For example, elevated cholesterol levels can easily be address with “dietary advise” and a prescription. If you’ve been following my work, you know that cholesterol is not the enemy and addressing blood glucose levels will have the most significant impact on overall health.
“I don’t really want to go in and get tested because I don’t want to take drugs.” This statement reflects the way that many people feel– completely at the mercy of someones else’s decisions. In spite of popular talk tracks and even the stated mission of healthcare facilities, very few people truly feel that they they are in a partnership with healthcare professionals. And many argue, why bother going to a doctor if you aren’t going to do as he/she says? It’s important to remember that medicine is driven by Standards of Care (and reimbursement codes). Standards of care may dictate that a physician prescribe a medication. For example, certain drugs in certain doses are prescribed for specific cholesterol levels. Even more important to remember is that your decision to take medication is entirely your own. Knowing your body and how it works empowers you and gives you confidence in working with your physician as an active participant in your health. I strongly advocate taking responsibility for your own health. Does it take more effort, yes. Does it put you in control, yes. Is it completely worth it, YES!
“I’m not overweight, so I can’t have type 2 diabetes.” Approximately 15% of individuals diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are not overweight. Inactivity, poor nutrition and genetic predisposition can lead to metabolic disorders in individuals that may otherwise appear healthy. Although optimizing blood glucose levels frequently leads to optimizing body composition, even greater benefits occur internally through optimizing metabolic health. Developing your optimal health formula means understanding not only your body’s response to glucose, but also to sleep, exercise, stress and many other factors.
“I don’t want a diagnosis of pre-diabetes in my permanent medical records.” This is a very real concern for people. When someone receives a diagnosis (Ha! it sounds like a gift!) they will forever have that diagnosis in their medical records. In the traditional medical paradigm, there is no cure for diabetes, it can only be managed and controlled. So regardless of subsequent normal blood glucose readings, “once a diabetic, always a diabetic.” There is also the affect that being diagnosed with a “chronic” illness has on an individual. Living daily with the thought “I am diabetic” does not contribute to overall health, in fact it does just the opposite. It can be extremely challenging to feel healthy when you are constantly being reminded that you are sick. Many of my clients have had elevated blood glucose, they make changes in their lifestyle and optimize their health. There is no value in spending emotional energy on a diagnosis for a situation that no longer even exists. There is tremendous power in taking charge of your own health. You can have that power and you don’t need to figure it out all by yourself.
“My doctor said if I just lose some weight, even 10 lbs my blood sugar will improve. But I just can’t lose the weight.” This is the comment that most frustrates people, especially people that have tried very hard to lose weight, only, in many cases to gain more with each attempt. This statement is frustrating to me because it is completely backwards! It is almost impossible for the body to burn fat in the presence of elevated levels of glucose and insulin. The body is burning the sugar that is needed immediately and then storing the excess–that’s what insulin does, signals the body to store excess energy. By optimizing glucose levels, the body is able to access fat stores for energy resulting not only in weight loss, but more specifically in fat loss.
Thanks to the folks who are brave enough to share! I will continue to respond individually as always and when the comments start becoming common, I will share them with all of you.
Together on this journey,