Defeating T2 diabetes

November 20, 2020  //  FOUND IN: Announcements

Former University of Michigan football player and current ESPN analyst Desmond Howard has teamed up with U-M endocrinologist Amy Rothberg, M.D., Ph.D., to help combat the effects of Type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes and Turkey Day

Since it’s Diabetes Awareness Month, people may be thinking about diabetes as they plan the year’s favorite food holiday. Did you know that about 1 in 10 Americans have type 2 diabetes, and as many as 25% of them don’t even know they have it? And did you also know that the CDC has projected that 1 in 3 adults could have type 2 diabetes by 2050?

Michigan Medicine is helping to reframe that future. Recently diagnosed type 2 diabetes (T2D) can be reversed, as Rothberg, associate professor and director of the U-M Weight Management Clinic) has proven.

Rothberg and her clinic have been helping patients with obesity and diabetes for more than ten years, treating over 3,000 patients. With her proven clinical program, patients are able to safely lose weight, and in many cases ‘rewind’ the underlying physiology of T2D. 

Rothberg and Desmond Howard have joined up to help folks in the Michigan community defeat type 2 diabetes. Together, they’ve come up with a few key skills and tips for navigating the holidays with T2D:

Tip #1: Never show up to a party/feast hungry

Rothberg’s expert take:

Research shows that ‘saving up’ calories for the big feast often ends up with more caloric intake overall. You’re better off having a healthy snack (like a piece of fruit, some carrot sticks, or even a small container of greek yogurt) before a holiday meal, so you can approach the buffet line with reasonable expectations.

Desmond’s Pro Tip: “If you are traveling, think ahead and bring a few simple snacks to stay full and avoid some of the less healthy temptations. One of my favorites when I’m on the road for College Gameday and trying to avoid all those M&Ms in hotel rooms might surprise you: sliced cucumbers with a special spice I sprinkle on top.”

Tip #2: The Healthy Plate Plan prevails

Rothberg’s expert take:

The simple technique of loading your plate with ½ plate non-starchy vegetables, ¼ protein, ¼ starch is an easy win; it offers great nutritional balance, and generally makes you feel both full and satisfied. If you’re not sure about your options, you’re always safest to reach for more veggies.

Desmond’s Pro Tip: “Try to make sure some of the right food options will be at the event/dinner. Thanksgiving is easier since Turkey is a great example of a lean protein. You might volunteer to bring a certain food if you’re not sure what your host will serve.”

Tip #3: Prioritize. You can have anything, just not everything

Rothberg’s expert take:

If there’s a favorite item at your Thanksgiving feast that you seldom see (we’re looking at you, stuffing and pumpkin pie), choose this item over those you see more regularly. We might have an emotional connection to some special holiday dishes, and that’s fine. It just helps to indulge in the right dishes versus all the dishes

Desmond’s Pro Tip: “I’ve never tried to deprive myself of too many foods altogether (although there are some that I just tend to avoid). For me, it’s all about moderation, especially during the holidays.”

Tip #4: Load up on activity, the day before, day of and the day after

Rothberg’s expert take:

Trying to beat diet with exercise may not always work, but you can plan activity to help offset calories. If you know you’re indulging at the feast, add intentional activity/exercise the day before the holiday, the day of the holiday, AND the day after the holiday. By doing this, you’ll raise your awareness of every calorie you consume, plus the exercise will reduce the overall caloric load.

Desmond’s Pro Tip: “Stay active in a way that fits into your Holiday plans. Personally, I love a high intensity workout. But don’t feel guilty if that’s not for you. Before or after a meal, take a walk with your family or friends. Or try to get a few people together and go outside and throw/shoot/kick the ball around! The Holidays can be a great time to be active with people instead of by yourself.”

Tip #5: Alcohol calories count too

Rothberg’s expert take:

Alcoholic beverages can contribute to overall calories (and sugar/carbs), so coming up with a gameplan helps! Some ideas: 

  • For every alcoholic drink, alternate with a glass of water after
  • Instead of cap on total alcohol, restrict yourself by time (1 drink per hour)
  • Experiment with lower calorie alternatives (light beer; wine spritzers – ½ wine, ½ sparkling water)
  • If you had to choose between dessert + alcohol, which one would you choose?

Desmond’s Pro Tip: “Don’t forget to drink lots of water. Personally I shoot for at least 40 ounces per day, and tend to always keep a bottle with me wherever I am.”

Tip #6: Keep busy!

Rothberg’s expert take:

If you offer to help your hosts (or you’re hosting yourself), you might keep busy enough to avoid grazing the appetizers, lingering around the buffet table, or reaching for a second helping of food. By offering to serve drinks, take pictures, or even clear the table/wash dishes, you might find yourself occupied and still having a great time!

Desmond’s Pro Tip: “Sometimes just chewing sugarfree gum can take my mind off of food, or at least help me avoid certain food temptations. Not even sure why, but for me in certain situations it can help.”

For more information on helping yourself or loved ones rethink obesity and/or T2D, get support today from the U-M Weight Management Clinic.