How can I reverse type 2 diabetes?
Yes it’s true you can reverse type 2 diabetes or reduce the severity of the symptoms by following a few simple lifestyle changes. There’s research out there to prove that these techniques work so why not give these few things a go
Sounds simple but actually getting to the gym or going to the park for a run can be a daunting prospect for some of us. It’s all about finding something you enjoy, maybe mixing things up to generate and keep an interest. Setting goals or targets can also improve our desire to keep going. As little as half an hour of moderate-intensity exercise, 5 times a week can help, that isn’t that bad is it? And if you don’t fancy paying those hefty gym fees or venturing out into the cold then you could always make space in your living room in front of the tele. There’s also loads of youtube workouts for you to follow. If I’m low on time I like to switch on a Joe Wick’s 15 minute HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) sessions, nice and short but you really get a sweat on! And the science? Experts say that exercise can reduce the your chances of type 2 diabetes by up to 40% (Diabetes UK). You could also make subtle changes to your everyday life such as taking the stairs instead of the lift, cycle to work, walking instead of using the car for those 5 minute journeys etc.
Research has shown that you can significantly reduce type 2 diabetes by adopting ‘healthier’ eating habits. These habits include reducing sugar, saturated fat, trans fats and alcohol consumption (Hu et al, 2001).
Personally I’m not a fan of going on a ‘diet’ as they usually are a short-term unsustainable fix. It’s all about making those better life choices and ensuring you don’t restrict yourselves from those ‘guilty pleasures’ too much. Sure, in the beginning it won’t be easy but 3 months down the line making these type of choices will come naturally. Simple swaps can make a huge difference in the long run, whether it’s swapping the sugary cereals in the morning for a warming bowl of porridge, swapping a side of fries for a salad or using lo han guo in your baking/cooking/tea or coffee instead of sugar can all help.
We’ve all heard that we should get about 8 hours of sleep right? But why is this? Well studies have shown that those of us who get less than 5-6 hours of sleep a night are at a higher risk of become obese or type 2 diabetic. If you find it difficult to get to sleep then this increases your chances of type 2 diabetes by 55% and if you are one of those who find it difficult to sleep throughout the night then this increases your risk by 74% (khandelwal et al., 2017).
For those of us who suffer from insomnia there are a few techniques we can do to help us nod off. No not counting sheep (although this may work for some), but again make slight changes to our lifestyle. For most of us we never really ‘wind down’ before bedtime. And by this I mean cutting ourselves off from the world by turning our phones off or leaving it downstairs instead of taking it to bed with us. I have recently used this tactic and I can hand on heart say my quality of sleep has vastly improved, no more 3am wakeup calls checking the work emails. Something a little more difficult to do could be to get rid of the staple TV in the bedroom. The morale of the story is to try to avoid bright lights at least 1 hour before bedtime. Scientists have found that by doing this can immensely help us get off to sleepy land.
Hu. F.B., Manson. J.E., Stampfer. M.D., Colditz. G., Liu. S., Solomon. C.G., Willett. W.C., (2001) Diet, Lifestyle, and the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Women, The New England Journey of Medicine, 345:790-797
Khandelwal. D., Dutta. D., Chittawar., Kalra. S., (2017) Sleep Disorders in Type 2 Diabetes, Journal of Endocrinology & Metabolism, 21(5): 758–761