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Exercise and Reversing Diabetes

Salam everyone! Today we'll be discussing on how we can 'cure' what most of us think is an irreversible disease due to genetics. But is it really?

Word of the day: Insulin Resistance Goal: Insulin Sensitive

Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes develops over time due to the body becoming insulin resistant.

Question: How do we become resistant to anything?

***This is easily seen by how kids react to constant nagging or caning. Do they become more sensitive to the scolding, or MORE stubborn? After some time, even the hardest corporal punishment has little to no effect...***

Same thing happens to our bodies. The beta cells of the pancreas secretes insulin (a hormone) in response to glucose levels in the blood. Insulin signals the cells in the body to upload blood sugar, especially into the liver and muscles. When they’re full, the liver sends the excess blood sugar to fat cells to be stored as body fat.

But what happens when you keep taking in sugar? Example: 2 prata kosong and teh tarik for breakfast, mid morning coffee with epok2, rice set for lunch with cold lime juice, tea break with 1 or 2 kueh, full dinner and maybe a snack right before bed. Or once a week, go for a drive for some midnight supper with the family...

We may think the above is a perfectly normal eating pattern and for many of us, it is! It's what we grew up with and looked forward to every day. Even if we totally skipped the in between meals, there's still too much sugar in that typical daily diet.

When sugar is constantly coming in, and insulin is constantly being pumped out, the cells become more and more resistant to the effects of insulin. We then eat more because less sugar is now uploaded into the cells, resulting in a vicious cycle that contributes to weight gain, obesity, high triglycerides, high LDL (bad cholesterol). And high levels of blood sugar that causes inflammation and cell damage in the body.

People with insulin resistance have up to a 93% greater risk of heart disease.

Other illnesses, including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer, are also linked to insulin resistance.

When we're diagnosed with diabetes, we're given medication or in worse cases, daily insulin injections. Of course your doctor has your health and best interests in mind. But the logic here is giving MORE insulin to cells that are already RESISTANT in the hope they will finally listen to a HIGHER and HIGHER dose?

So, is there a more sustainable solution?

Yes, becoming insulin sensitive again. Less sugar less insulin more sensitivity.

***Again, using the analogy of the child. What if you stopped the beatings? Allow him to heal, have quiet space and calmness. Would he then listen better? ***

Physical activity makes you insulin sensitive. During exercise, your muscles will use up glycogen which will replenish from the blood sugar.

If you've been sedentary, start walking, eventually achieving that 10 000 steps as a daily goal. If you've been walking, you can now step it up with a higher intensity exercise, cos that's actually what's needed.

In fact any type of physical activity will do, dancing, swimming, cycling (yes!) playing badminton etc. Combining aerobic activity with weight/resistance training gives the best benefit. Aerobic activity burns more calories and glucose but resistance training builds muscles. And more muscles burn more glucose.

Alternating between challenging exercise one day and easier/moderate activities the next day is preferable. This method helps you achieve insulin sensitivity, prevent over exercising and sports related injuries and eventually helps to incorporate exercise permanently into your lifestyle.

Hope this helps guys. I hope you keep at it, don't give up and insya Allah you will see results.

Take care, happy sunnah fasting and have a great week!

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