I was so excited to receive a copy of Healthy at 100: 7 Tips to a Century of Great Health, written by Dr. Robert D. Willix, Jr., one of our newest Advisory Board members. As an author, I always like to read a book’s acknowledgements, foreword and list of contents and then just speed through the chapters before reading its full content. In the midst of doing so with this book, I was stopped in my tracks at page 22 when I saw the line… “How long do you want to live?”
This simple but powerful question was so thought provoking that it brought visions of both my past and future squarely into the present. Do I want to live as long as my parents? They were both so sick for years. At the end of their lives, they were in and out of hospitals, in rehab centers and then assisted living facilities…leaving me with some of the hardest and most gut-wrenching decisions I ever had to make. My dad died at 85 and my mom at 93. Will I live to that age? Do I even want to? And if I do, will I be healthy and independent or ailing so that my children will be burdened with making life and death decisions about me?
If there is a way to circumvent or alleviate the pains of growing old and sick, then I’m all for it! I will wholeheartedly do everything I can to live a full and productive life. But as with any journey undertaken, I need a blueprint, map or guide to show me the way. The internet is one of many readily available tools that can provide a lot of the information I need.
Where does hypoglycemia fit into this equation? According to Dr. Seale Harris, the original and foremost researcher in this field wrote years ago…“The Hypoglycemia of today is the diabetes of tomorrow!” And as many of you know, diabetes can lead to health complications such as heart and kidney disease as well as vision loss. Not an ideal way to begin the latter years of your life, especially when changes made today can impact the quality of the life you lead tomorrow and possibly determine how long a life that will be.
The following 8 simple rules can be implemented by anyone and may be beneficial even for those not suffering from hypoglycemia.
1. Since we now know that diet plays a major role in health and healing, evaluate your dietary habits. Eliminate the big offenders: white sugar, white flour, alcohol, caffeine and tobacco. Check out our website at www.hypoglycemia.org for more on how to do this without harmful consequences.
2. Exercise! According to Dr. Willix, “Exercise is the breath of life and is a preventive and healing medicine for both the mind and body”…and it’s free! Start slowly with walking or swimming and increase according to your specific needs. Anything more strenuous needs a doctor’s approval first and/or close supervision by an exercise specialist or instructor. Remember, excessive exercise will bring on hypoglycemia symptoms, so don’t push your body too hard!
3. Vitamins have a positive, supportive and therapeutic effect in the treatment of hypoglycemia. Just don’t take them indiscriminately! Be evaluated by a healthcare professional before taking anything other than a multivitamin.
4. Positive attitude…healing won’t happen without it! It is difficult to be positive if you’re constantly surrounded by negative people, places or situations. If it gets to the point of affecting you physically and emotionally and hinders your healing process, seriously consider some kind of group or individual therapy. You have a wide range of specialists to choose from — psychiatrist, psychotherapist, social worker, hypnotherapist, clergy, family physician or even a close friend are all possible options depending on the severity of your emotional distress.
5. Partners in health…start building your healthcare team now while you are healthy. Don’t wait for an emergency situation to arise. If you are having a difficult time finding a doctor who tests and treats hypoglycemia, check out our website at www.hypoglycemia.org. Click on the tab at the top of the first page labeled “Learn About Hypoglycemia” scroll-down the menu to “Helpful Links.” There you will find organizations/foundations that have referral listings in your area. Seek the advice of a chiropractor or licensed nutritionist/dietitian if you’re more comfortable going that route.
6. Stay informed! Visit the HSF’s website and Facebook page. Sign up for our special announcements or our monthly blogs that go back almost four years and probably address most of your questions, fears and concerns. I can’t overemphasize the importance of being connected to the HSF’s Facebook page, where hypoglycemics share and open their hearts to help others. This is also where I post articles — discovered through hours of research — to educate, support and encourage those with hypoglycemia.
7. Preparation is the key ingredient for success in controlling hypoglycemia symptoms! You must have proper food available at all times. If not, you’re sabotaging your own health. Take one or two nights to prepare your allowable vegetables and proteins such as chicken, turkey, fish, lean meats, nuts and legumes. They should be ready to take with you at a moment’s notice as you head out the door for work, school or other events. A whole chapter in my book, The Do’s and Don’ts of Hypoglycemia: An Everyday Guide to Low Blood Sugar, is dedicated to teaching you how to make this process as easy as possible. Many of my blogs also provide simple diet and snack suggestions.
8. Commitment! I saved this for last because it is the most important and yet the most difficult for many. You must put yourself first and love yourself unconditionally before you will able to implement the first seven suggestions. Yes, you can do them halfheartedly and achieve some success, but until you really believe you are worthy of optimal health…true victory will elude you!
Remember, guidelines can be changed, altered and reevaluated. However, if no rules or strategies are applied, no positive changes will take place. So ask yourself… How long do I want to live? And then take positive steps to achieve quality health for your future. You’re worth it!
Here’s to your health,