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The inner game of diabetes

“You have diabetes,” three words which strike fear into the hearts of many Americans. While a diagnosis of being diabetic does not rank anywhere near a diagnosis of cancer it is still a life changing chronic illness, which brings to mind thoughts of a restricted lifestyle and future health threats.

Diabetes does not have to be viewed as the end of life but as a new beginning. For many being diagnosed with diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes is the ending point of an over indulgent lifestyle. When the pounds pack on the body does not work at a peak level and systems start to break down.

Diabetes is the result of the body not being able to cope with the influx of to many carbs and sugary products. The key to getting control of diabetes is getting healthier, both physically and mentally. Why mentally? The answer is obvious. Getting healthy is as much a mental game as it is a physical one.

In the early 1970's W.Timothy Gallwey wrote a book he thought would only sell a few copies. The book entitled The 'Inner Game of Tennis' was an immediate hit. In the book he talked about how people approach the game of tennis, with self 1, the teller, who is the purveyor of self-doubt wreaking havoc on self 2, the doer. When self 1 is allowed to run free then everything after that point becomes a lot of tension and stress.

Gallwey says throughout his book that self 1 must be quieted so self 2 (the body) can its work and carry out the task at hand.

What does this all have to with having diabetes? Everything.

In tennis the swing of the racket and the hitting of the ball is the process. The more a tennis player focuses on the process and allows self 1 to critique the performance the more they tense up and the less productive the swing of the racket. However as Gallwey states, the more the player concentrates on the ball and, "lets it happen," the more probable the ball will be hit. This is what he calls in his book, "focusing on the ball."

The same is true of creating a healthy lifestyle and getting diabetes under control. In the inner game of diabetes the more you focus on the process of getting healthy, sticking to a diet, counting calories, focusing on scale numbers and so on, the more likely it will allow, if things are not going well, self 1 (the mind) to take over and foul up the process.

Likewise the more a person focuses on the "seams and the ball," letting self 2 (the body) get healthy by eating better, exercising more, the better the numbers will be and the less self 1 (the mind) will get in the way which gives you a greater chance of success. In the same manner getting unhealthy was a learned behavior which was done mindlessly getting healthy must be a lifestyle change not a quick fix diet or exercise program.

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