Would you like some diabetes with that belly?

A controversial guide to getting the best out of your disease. 


By Douglas Pieterse, Co-Founder & Head Personal Trainer
"It may be simple but not always easy"

What is Diabetes?

Growing up, I had frequently heard the term thrown around but it was years later, after some research, that I learnt that this metabolic disease is caused by hyperglycemia (too much sugar). Simply put, it’s when your body is not able to control your blood glucose levels by itself. 


There are two types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2. 


Type 1 is predominantly genetic and can have a sudden onset in both children and adults. This occurs when the pancreas decides that it’s not going to produce any more insulin and leaves you hanging. This is not good as it means your blood glucose levels will go unchecked and as this has a toxic result on the body, it can leave you in a bad predicament.  


Some of the common effects of having high glucose levels in your blood are damage to your eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart, and blood vessels to name just a few. 


Type 2 is a lot more common and makes up about 90% of the diagnosed diabetics. 


Being the most common and popular one on the market, you’re most likely to pick this one up and there is a variety of ways you can get your hands on it.


For example, being obese or having high abdominal fat increases the likelihood of you developing diabetes, especially if you throw in a sedentary lifestyle. There are some strong genetic predispositions to getting it, so it may not always be your intention. One example is women who have had gestational diabetes – they’re at a higher risk. You may choose the route of Metabolic syndrome or a more fancy one like PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) but it really depends on your own preference. 


How to qualify

Let’s say your life has not been busy enough and you would like to increase your chances of getting type 2 diabetes then here are a few things you can try improving on. 


Being older than 40 is a big plus, especially if you can get your BMI higher than 25kg/m2


Look at elevating your Triglycerides, Blood Pressure and LDL Cholesterol while keeping your activity levels and HDL Cholesterol down. ‚Äč


You could take up smoking and if you have a family history of Cardio Vascular Disease or strokes then this will help you along as well. One final factor that is not in your control: give yourself an added bonus point if you are of South Asian, Chinese, African-Caribbean, or Black African descent. 


Let’s have a quick look again at everything you can get when you climb aboard the Type 2 Diabetes train wreck. 


  • You get a greater risk of Coronary Heart Disease
  • Damaged hearing and blood vessels
  • Kidney damage to not only one but both (Nephropathy)
  • Eye damage, but face it, vision is overrated (Retinopathy)
  • You could even have your foot turn black
  • Gastroparesis is another bonus if your stomach muscles are not needed


Along with all of this you may have the opportunity to enjoy some poor mental health through depression and anxiety. 


How do I know if I already qualify as a candidate?

Now just because you are not experiencing any of these symptoms doesn’t mean you are out of the race for winning some diabetes but these can be some great clues to let you know that it’s time for a blood test. 


  • Being constantly thirsty – Polydipsia- basically your body is trying to dilute your blood glucose levels with water (damn body buzzkill)
  • Going to pee all day long – Polyuria – why body why!!
  • Blurry vision, numbness, tingling in your feet or hands as the blood struggles to flow through your body.
  • Headaches as well as unexplained nausea (don’t panic if you just fell pregnant and feel nauseous, hopefully it is yours)
  • Look out for recurring infections along the likes of kidney, UTI’s or thrush. The body loses its ability to heal quickly.  


Contractors remorse

Let’s say for some reason you are not completely satisfied with your diabetes and figured it’s not all that it was cracked up to be. There are a few steps you may implore to try help reverse the process and get back to being healthy, sexy and alive a bit longer.


  • Reducing excess body fat would be at the top of the list, you can do this through proper nutrition and setting yourself up with some exercise.
  • You need to reduce your HbA1c levels (i.e. how much glucose you have in your blood) and one way exercise can help with this is by pushing excess glucose into the muscles. This will happen with high intensity exercise or weight training. Cardio is great for burning calories but you still need some glycolytic work (the lung burners).
  • Normalising cholesterol as well as getting your blood pressure in check will do wonders for you: nutrition nutrition nutrition.


Hope this guide helps you on your journey exploring the unpleasant human disease of type 2 diabetes. At R3, we know how important it is to adopt a healthy approach to life in a way that is relevant to your preferred lifestyle and habits, in order to work sustainably towards your goals. Be sure to come see us if you need assistance in attaining the lifestyle, fitness and nutrition results that you are after.