Tom Hanks shared his diabetes diagnosis with David Letterman. | CBS
Tom Hanks’ “graduation” makes me mad.
That’s how the slimmer “Captain Phillips” star explained his Type 2 diabetes diagnosis to David Letterman this week.
“I went to the doctor and he said, ‘You know those high blood sugar numbers you’ve been dealing with since you were 36?’ ” Hanks related. “ ‘Well, you’ve graduated. You’ve got Type 2 diabetes, young man.’ ”
Hearing this, that the numbers were something he and his doctor had discussed for TWO decades, makes me furious because it reminds me — a diabetic for 16 years now — of myself at about the same age. If someone had told me, and Hanks, then what I have figured out all these years later, he — and I — might have had a different outcome. We might have dealt with the news differently when we first had a blood sugar problem.
I’m a Type A personality. Bet the uber-successful Hanks is too. We’ll do what we should do to be healthy, if given the right advice.
For me — 18 months ago, after reading a slew of books on lowering carbohydrate intake and what’s now my bible, Gary Taubes’ “Why We Get Fat” — I realized what I had to do. It’s simple, really: cut carbohydrates until they are nearly non-existent in my diet. No bread (and that means you, too, whole grain), pasta (whole wheat, I’m looking at you), rice, potatoes, grains, sweets. Beans? Carrots? Good for others, not for me.
Instead, I eat protein (meat, poultry, fish), non-starchy vegetables, leafy green vegetables, fats (olive oil, butter, avocado); I get my dairy from cheese. One fruit serving a day. A daily chocolate from a co-worker’s candy bowl.
Simple, yet sometimes extremely hard in our carb-soaked society. It’s easy to slip and can be hard to maintain with others eyeing your “weird” eating style.
I was lucky that it was my doctor who suggested I read Gary Taubes. Too many newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetics still get the same tired “acceptable” food list (mine was from a diabetes medicine company) that never suggests cutting out carbs.
If Tom Hanks were my friend, I would tell him to do that instead of the silly advice to weigh what he did in high school, as he says his doctor advised.
My A1C numbers — without any medication anymore — are as low as a non-diabetic now. That number tells what one’s blood sugar has been for the prior six weeks. And no, I do not weigh what I did in high school.
I feel so much better than I did when following a traditional diabetic diary. The morning lows that plagued me for years are gone.
I exercise almost daily because it makes me feel good and eases stress, which is no good for a diabetic. And I reread some part of Taubes’ book almost daily, to remind myself that this isn’t temporary; it’s forever.