Diabetes is Expensive… But the Fixes Can be Cheap, Even Savored
The American Diabetes Association reports that the cost of diagnosed diabetes has increased 41% since 2007. In 2013 the cost rose to $245 billion per year, up from $174 billion in 2007. The individual person with diabetes will incur about $13,700 in medical expenditures a year, about twice the amount incurred by someone without diabetes.
Although the dollar cost is spread widely across insurance plans, there are personal intangibles that aren’t included in these numbers: the pain of neuropathy, the inability to work, the need for caretaking, and more.
Avoiding or managing Type 2 diabetes is less complex than we sometimes make it. It begins by taking time out of our busy lives and focusing on simple techniques to eat a little less and move a little more. Here’s an example of a simple way to start.
Savoring food is an ancient device for increasing the reward of eating. It involves three steps: anticipation, in-the-moment awareness of pleasure, and recalling the moment later.
- Decide on a treat to savor. By this, I mean spend time actively looking forward to it. One example might be: “Tonight I will have three Hershey’s kisses. I can’t wait! “
- Then as you peel off the foil and be in the moment with it. No TV or texting! Sit down and be attentive. As you put the chocolate in your mouth, say “Ummmm”. Do this for seven seconds or more per piece.
- Later, give full attention to recalling the event. You might say, “Last night I had three Hershey’s kisses and they were “
The slow and thoughtful enjoyment of eating a little chocolate is the opposite of what we tend to do: grab something and eat it distractedly. We eat much less and enjoy it much more when we savor food.
Diabetes.org. (2013) “The Cost of Diabetes.” American Diabetes Association. Retrieved February 13, 2014 from http://www.diabetes.org/advocacy/news-events/cost-of-diabetes.html