World Diabetes Day is coming up on the 14th of November – each year on this date awareness is raised about the disease, the impact on people’s health and wellbeing and also effective strategies that can be used to prevent and control diabetes are discussed by the medical fraternity and other stakeholders.

According to Business Day, the number of SA adults with diabetes has increased to 4.5-million people (double the figure of 2017). 

AoS CEO Olwethu Leshabane, will be hosting an Instagram live on her handle @olwe2lesh in partnership with SANOFI at 4PM today to speak about this year’s World Diabetes Day. 

Today’s Wellness conversation is focused on understanding the role that health and fitness play in regards to diabetes and the difference between health and fitness with health, wellness and fitness enthusiast Laurelle Ogle. 

Fitness vs. Health

Fitness describes the ability to perform a given exercise task at a specific level while health on the other hand points to a person’s state of well-being. 

‘’Health can be broken up into physical, mental and emotional. Health is caring about the quality of your body and the internal matters such as cholesterol levels, sugar levels, water levels, glucose levels, etc,’’ says Ogle. 

We all have different body types therefore, the idea that fitness or health looks the same on everyone is a misnomer. 

Ogle adds that, ‘’fitness varies from one person to another. One person’s definition of fitness might be being able to run a marathon or being able to compete in body composition competitions, while another person’s definition of fitness might be being able to complete an aerobics class, and another person’s definition could mean being able to take a walk around the block. This is where the concept of own pace, own race comes into play.’’

Ogle says that if you would like to achieve your fitness goals, don’t set unrealistic goals. You need to start where you are with what you have. 

Health on the other hand, begins  with the way you view yourself. What do you consume? — this can be broken up into foods you eat, or the social media content you consume. Ogle points out that health is affected by various factors. It is more than just consuming food. 

Proper nutrition is vital in taking care of and building one’s immune system. People who eat a well-balanced diet tend to have a stronger immune system and lower risk of chronic illnesses and infectious diseases. Eating a variety of fresh and unprocessed foods every day is pivotal in getting the vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, protein and antioxidants our bodies need.

Remember that a healthy immune system protects us by creating a barrier that stops those invaders, or antigens, from entering the body. Maintaining a healthy diet keeps the immune system balanced and ready to fight against infection and viruses.

In a blog post about trusting your gut, Olwethu Leshabane shares how our gut affects everything from our weight, to our mood, to our cognitive ability. It can be the reason for our back pain, the root of our depression, and of course, the cause of our digestive issues.

There is also a link between our  gut health and mental well-being. It  also is rather difficult to achieve brain clarity when our gut is unhealthy. To learn more about the connection between our gut and mental health watch this episode of The Sit Down With Olwe2lesh.

Tips To Setting Realistic Health Goals

It is all well and good to set high standards for your health goals, however,  Ogle says that we must be realistic about our health goals. We must ask ourselves how we will achieve our goals, and we must implement timelines. Always ask yourself, when  will you  achieve said goal?  

Here are some tips on how you  achieve realistic health goals:

  • Prioritize.

Look for one “big” area to work on that will make the biggest impact towards your overall health goals.

  • Celebrate along the way.

Change doesn’t happen overnight. Give yourself permission to take baby steps toward the change you want to make, do not be afraid to give yourself credit when it is due!

  • Play to your strengths.

You need to keep your first goal simple. Do what excites you. What do you find satisfying? Learn that about yourself and focus on it. 

  • Go for medical check-ups.

If you have any kind of health condition, be sure to check with your doctor for advice first—especially before you change your diet or exercise routine.

  • Have long term goals.

You must ask yourself, “Why do I want to make this change?” Your answer can help you stay motivated when the going gets challenging. 

Obesity and an inactive lifestyle are two of the most common causes of type 2 diabetes according to dietary and lifestyle coach Michael Dansinger. So, it is important to maintain a healthy, active and fit lifestyle to lessen the chances of getting diabetes. 

The big difference between the two types of diabetes is that type 1 diabetes is a genetic disorder, while type 2 is largely diet-related and develops over time. However, an in-depth conversation will be published right here on Sunday, 14 November 2021.   

The theme for World Diabetes Day 2021-23 is access to diabetes care. 100 years after the discovery of insulin, millions of people with diabetes around the world cannot access the care they need according to the United Nations

People with diabetes require ongoing care and support to manage their condition and avoid complications. Watch today’s Instagram live with Olwethu Leshabane in partnership with SANOFI at 4PM today.