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Weight Gain, Type 2 Diabetes, CPAP, and my Lovable Dutch Friend

posted Oct 25, 2014, 8:00 AM by Ivan Kropyvnytskyy   [ updated Nov 23, 2014, 7:11 AM ]

Today I want to write a post about (and for) a long time friend of mine from Holland. We were out of touch for a while and I have just found that he developed type 2 diabetes.

He told me that he gained lots of body weight (and although recently he lost 10 kilos he is still at 135). He started losing weight by working on his diet (less fat, less 'evil' sugar, 'more fruits, but not fructose', and more vegetables). For exercise he walks his dogs. He takes medication (Metformin) to control his blood sugars. He also tells me that his sleep is not very good, and that he has a CPAP machines that he is not able to use, because it is uncomfortable and he removes it unintentionally at night. He thinks that he needs a new CPAP machine. He appears to be open to suggestions on how to improve his health, and has some motivation to do something about his lifestyle to be healthier.

A couple of days ago we had a lovely chat on Skype, catching up on news about family and friends. He was very proud to tell me about his daughter who is now studying towards a Masters in Psychology. My friend is a very cheerful and lovely person, very social and lovable. He did a lot of voluntary work in his life. He supported me much and I stayed at his house many times during my study and work days in Holland. Now I really want to help him. So, the question is how?

First of all, can you see the connection between nutrition, exercise, sleep/recovery and mind in this case?

Secondly, what would you do or say to a person in a situation like this?

Apart from all the usual stuff one can find on the internet in lines with "continue medical management, and improve your diet and exercise" here's what I would add:

1. Low fat is a great approach for type 2 diabetes. Low fat 'whole food' plant based is probably even better.
2. Don't be scaried of carbs. Carbs are just polimers of glucose and cells in our body (especially in our brain) run on it. We need lots of slow, low glycemic index (GI) carbs (but not fast, high GI carbs). In a nutshel to achieve this we need to get a lot of fiber with carbs in our diet, and that should help.
3. Loosing weight by diet modification is best. Do not exercise to burn calories, exercise to build muscle (including heart and lungs).
4. Walking for excercise is all he can handle for now. Do not do high intensiy exercise until sleeping well. Exercise without proper recovery (sleep) can really burn us out. And proper sleep means not just quantity, but also quality.
5. Rather than getting a new CPAP machine, I think it is more likely that the old one will have to be adjusted and set up properly in a sleep clinic.

These would be my starting points. To achieve meaningful long term results he would need to stay motivated for long time (at least a year).

Do you have someting you'd like to add? Discuss it on Facebook or LinkedIn.