One thing I hear over and over again in the media is that people with type 2 diabetes just need to make a few "lifestyle changes" and they'll be cured.
Well, I'd love to be cured, so I sat down and tried to figure out how I could change my lifestyle, which is now pretty dull.
First I went out and bought a motorcycle. Then I got a few tattoos. I joined a gang, and we spent many happy hours racing back and forth on a highway, making as much noise as we could. Of course I didn't wear a helmet. I'd always been a sensible person, and I decided it was time to make a lifestyle change. I was terrified as we roared down the highway, but I knew the lifestyle change was good for me, so I didn't give up.
We occasionally stopped for snacks, and of course I joined in and ate the pizza they were all having. It didn't taste very good. I was craving kale. But I didn't want to be different, so I washed the pizza down with beer.
After a couple of weeks of my lifestyle change, I went to see my doctor.
"Your diabetes is worse," she said. I told her I'd made some lifestyle changes and was expecting it to be better, and she told me the lifestyle changes weren't working and doubled my prescriptions for powerful drugs.
Next I bought a long-haired wig, a lot of beads, and a gypsy costume and joined a group of similarly garbed people in town. We sat in stuffy rooms and smoked joints and said, "Like wow!" a lot. It was pretty boring, but no sacrifice is too great if I can cure my diabetes.
Oddly, this lifestyle change didn't work either. Maybe it was my diet.
I'm on a low-carb diet, and I love vegetables, especially kale and broccoli doused in olive oil and lemon juice. But if I make lifestyle changes, those foods will have to go. I substituted muffins and fat-free jam for the vegetables. Instead of organic lamb chops, including the fat, I substituted chain-store subs, which I had delivered to my house. They were so large it was difficult to choke them down, but I reminded myself that my diabetes would be cured by lifestyle changes and kept on eating.
For dessert, instead of my usual homemade kefir, I substituted low-fat cheesecake. It tasted too sweet, but I ate it all.
Then I saw my doctor again and told her I'd made lots of important lifestyle changes and I was sure I'd be cured by this time.
"You're not," she said. "In fact, your diabetes is the worst I've ever seen it. Here, try even more powerful medications."
I couldn't believe my ears. The media promised me that lifestyle changes would cure my diabetes. I'd certainly changed my lifestyle. So why wasn't I cured?
Is it, perhaps, time that we discarded this hackneyed phrase and substituted a more useful term?