Diabetes is a serious condition, but that doesn’t mean you have to take drastic measures. We hear from a lot of people who have been diagnosed and wonder if they need to have surgery to get the excess weight off fast. There are certainly a lot of options, including surgical procedures, and the people who promote surgery can make it sound like it’s a life-or-death situation and your only option if you want to survive.
We have to give that one a big “Whoa, there, Nelly!” You’ll need to work with your doctor and start taking care of yourself immediately—no more, “next month,” “next week,” or even “I’ll start on Monday.” If you are diabetic, or even if you’ve been told you are pre-diabetic, start right now! The good news is that it’s very easy to get started. And when you get fully on track with our healthy lifestyle recommendations, we absolutely believe you can achieve a normal healthy lifestyle and, in most cases, manage your diabetes without daily medication or shots.
Depending on where your body is at now with insulin and blood sugar levels, you may need medical support to stay well, and if that’s the case you must follow your doctor’s instructions, but let them know that you are committing to a healthier lifestyle and it is your goal to get off medication as soon as it is safe to do so. Don’t worry if they don’t share your faith and just give you the “uh, huh, sure you are” nod—that just makes it SO much more fun to see their jaws drop when you come in with amazing test results later on. We believe you can do it, and that’s what Beyond Blood Sugar is all about. We’re here to support you.
Here are five steps you can take right now to start losing weight without having surgery, or increasing your health risks. The great thing about it is that whether you are on medication or not, they will get you on the road to recovery and feeling great again.
1. First the obvious—cut out sugar.
Everybody knows you have to cut sweets and generic candy if you are diabetic. No more grabbing a bag of M&Ms at the supermarket checkout or whipping through the drive-through for a mid-afternoon milkshake. And forget about indulging in a half of a pint of Java Chip Haagen Dazs—that’s 56 grams of sugar in one little bowl.
But if you are going to cut out sugar, you also have to start paying close attention to the sugar content of other foods. You might think that the all-fruit smoothies in the produce section at your grocery store are a healthy alternative to the milkshake, right? Sadly, no! One of those single-serving, 15 oz. bottles contains 54 grams of sugar. Wait, you say—why does that number sound familiar? It’s almost the same as the amount of sugar in two scoops of Haagen Dazs!
Of course, there’s some variation between flavors and brands, but you get the idea. Sugar hides in plain sight, so start reading labels and avoid foods with a high percentage of calories from sugar. You can still indulge in sweet treats, just look for those that are sweetened with pure stevia or a little unfiltered, raw honey. If you can find local honey, you’ll benefit even more.
2. Junk the junk food.
Sugar isn’t the only ingredient that will mess up your blood sugar. Refined foods are stripped of nutrition and have all kinds of chemical additives. A common approach is to refuse to eat anything if you can’t read the ingredient label. But don’t stop there.
Wheat flour is highly processed, non-nutritious and one of the most common ingredients in the grocery store. It’s in bread, cookies, crackers, breakfast pastries, even vegetables in pre-made sauces. Sorry to yet again be the bearer of bad news, but whole wheat isn’t much better. It has more fiber, but otherwise it’s the same wolf, just in sheep’s clothing and looking like a healthy alternative this time.
Instead of wheat-based products, eat vegetables for healthy carbohydrates. Fruits are also great sources of carbs, but most are high in sugar, so eat them in moderation. Sweet potatoes are another delicious carb to be consumed in moderation. They should be eaten sparingly, but sprouted oatmeal, sprouted quinoa, rice pasta, quinoa pasta, and sprouted whole grain bread can also be eaten while losing weight in a healthy way.
3. Load up on protein.
After a couple of “don’ts” here is a big “do” for you, and many of you are going to love it. Eat lots of protein. We are strong advocates of grass-fed beef and free-range chicken and eggs. Meat is an animal product, so it makes sense that you only want to eat meat from healthy animals that are on a healthy diet. It can be more expensive than commercially raised meat and eggs, but way cheaper than hospital visits and a lifetime of an increasing number of medications.
Eat protein at every meal, along with carbohydrates such as vegetables, and healthy fats, such as avocado, coconut or extra-virgin olive oil. These foods work together to provide the nutrition you need, keep you feeling full longer, and trigger your pancreas to produce the hormones that will balance your blood sugar level.
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4. Drink water.
It’s not just athletes who need to drink lots of water. We all need to indulge in generous amounts of water throughout the day. Dehydration is clearly a problem, but long before it becomes obvious that you don’t have enough water in your system, your liver function will already be inhibited. The liver is a key organ in the process of storing or burning fat. If your liver isn’t able to do its job, you can’t use your food for energy effectively or lose weight like you should. There’s no way you want to let something as simple as not enough water stop you from succeeding, so drink up! We recommend half of your body weight in ounces—so if you weigh 140 pounds, you should drink 70 ounces of water each day.
5. Be kind to yourself.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you have to give up all the good stuff. That will make you feel deprived, and then you’ll be less likely to succeed. There are many delicious ways to prepare whole, natural foods that will feed you in a way that keeps you healthy, losing weight, and feeling satisfied.
Look for other small pleasures to indulge in instead of desserts and sugary treats when you need a little emotional pick-me-up. Get a chair-massage, buy a cute pair of earrings, or take yourself out to a movie. At home, instead of curling up with a cup of hot cocoa, cozy up with a fragrant tea. Close your eyes and breathe in the warm vapor and feel your shoulders relax, knowing you are on the road to wellness.
Beyond Blood Sugar is a program designed to give you all the information, meal plans and support you need to make these changes in your lifestyle and get your blood sugar under control.