THE BLOG

Eat, Drink And Watch TV! Who Cares If We're Slowly Killing Ourselves With Our Lifestyle?

09/06/2014 15:09 BST | Updated 09/08/2014 10:59 BST

TAKE a look round the supermarket, your office, the train or even a traffic jam today: You might be surprised to know that of the people you can see, one in 17 has been diagnosed with diabetes. Plus another one or two have it but don't know it.

Why is it that people seem to understand the health risks of smoking and alcohol but appear to be blissfully unaware that a modern lifestyle of fast food and little exercise is doing them just as much harm as cigarettes and booze.

It's Diabetes Week in the UK and the aim is to make people aware of what they're doing to their bodies - and how relatively easy it is to both prevent and treat the problems of type 2 diabetes, which is frequently triggered by a poor lifestyle.

Recent studies show that 3.2million in Britain have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and an estimated 850,00 are undiagnosed. Most experts agree that the problem is simple - our food is often packed with fat, salt and sugar and both adults and children lead an increasingly sedentary lifestyle.

Does this sound familiar? Drive to work, grab a burger and a Coke for lunch, sit around for hours, drive home, make a shop-bought ready meal for dinner, watch TV for four hours, go to bed...

All of these things, which many people do day after day, are prime causes of type 2 diabetes and obesity, with which the disease is often linked. Not all fat people are diabetics, of course, and not all diabetics are fat but doctors tell me that when a patient is overweight one of the first things they check is their blood-sugar level.

So the problem is simple: we eat too much of the wrong foods and we're turning into couch potatoes. If only the solution were as simple.

One national newspaper columnist, angry that the NHS spends 10 per cent of its budget on obesity-related issues, wrote last week that all fat people had to do was eat less and do more.

It didn't occur to him that if it were that easy, maybe they wouldn't be fat in the first place. Making long-lasting substantial changes to your lifestyle requires a whole new mindset and if your brain is hooked on the dopamine pleasure rush that modern food addicts it to then you've got precious little chance of making changes that last.

I recently saw some disturbing research work from Imperial College, London, that showed that drinking just one can of high-calorie fizzy drink a day can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 22 per cent.

How can someone break these habits? Extensive trials we've carried out at Thinking Slimmer with our Slimpod mind-retuning downloads over the past four years have produced some spectacular results. Here's two examples directly related to diabetes:

Darin McCloud weighed over 20 stone and couldn't walk without struggling for breath when he came to us. Three years later he has lost six stone, run the London Marathon, cycled across Cuba and has now been taken off all diabetes medication.

Darin says: "My diabetes consultant has gone from being surprised to amazed to thrilled about how I've been able to tackle my health problems so easily and effectively."

Barbara Greenwood had been on medication for 13 years and reached a size 28. In 18 months she has lost more than 80lb, is down to a size 16/18, has run the London Marathon and her GP has taken her off diabetes medication for the first time since she was diagnosed 13 years ago.

Barbara says: "It's as if the Slimpod has reached into my mind and turned down the volume on my appetite."

By retuning your mind to have a different attitude to food it is possible to create a whole new lifestyle for yourself. Food becomes a fuel to burn to power an active lifestyle, not something to cram down your throat for comfort, reward or to ease boredom. In turn, exercise becomes a joy not a chore.

As an official national partner of the Department of Health's brilliant Change4Life campaign Thinking Slimmer is providing daily evidence of the ability of unconscious persuasion to nudge people towards making healthier lifestyle choices for themselves without even having to think about it.

But as well as persuasion we need prevention - and that means giving people much more education about the healthier lifestyle they need to adopt, which is what Diabetes Week is all about. For everyone's sake, let's hope the message finally starts to get through.