Wasim Akram is a well known Pakistani Cricketer. He is recognized as one of the fastest bowlers in the history of world cricket.
A lot of sweat and discipline goes into making a successful sports career. But there is an extra mile that Wasim Akram had to walk to be a successful sports icon that he is today.
Wasim was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at an early age of 29 years in 1997. His career was taking off well and the discovery of diabetes came as quite a shock to him. He was young, active and at the height of his fitness levels. Then what went wrong?
He says he was under tremendous stress due to sports controversy at that time for a few months. The stressful situation probably triggered it.
He was under the gloomy side for sometime after being diagnosed with diabetes. “Six weeks is all I took to come out of the depression of living as a diabetic”, he says. He rose to the challenge of managing a life and career with diabetes with great determination. The rest, as you know, is history.
Today he travels across the globe and spreads awareness about the malaise of diabetes. He tells people if he could manage diabetes and live an active life as a sportsman, so could anyone else. He is quite an inspiring role model, isn’t he?
Let us explore how he manages his diabetic condition and still maintains his exemplary fitness levels-
- Bring Acceptance:
Create mental and emotional acceptance for this condition. This will prepare you and your family as well to take steps to evolve a diabetes management plan, with a positive attitude. As stress may further elevate your blood sugar levels, it is best to remain relaxed.
- Watch Your Plate:
Managing your diet is a crucial part of diabetes management. Ask your doctor to give you a list of foods with low glycemic index. Eat small meals every 3-4 hours.
Eliminate sugary and oily food products. While shopping, read the label and avoid items high in calories, trans fats, and artificial sweeteners.
Limit your intake of carbs, especially at night. All the food you eat becomes sugar. By eating sugary or carb rich food, your blood sugar levels will rise. This will put strain on your pancreas. So, the less you eat, the lesser will be the amount of glucose in your body.
If you are tempted to eat restricted food, eat it in small quantities infrequently. For example, if you are fond of apple pie, then eat a a small piece of it instead of large chunks. Indulge in it only once a month or so. This will satiate your taste buds and save you the risk of going overboard with blood sugar levels.
Include lots of salads, fruits, fresh veggies, whole grains, and unprocessed foods in your daily diet.
- Monitor blood glucose regularly:
Check your blood sugar before and after meals, and also at different times in the day. This will make you aware and you will be able to manage better.
If you are too excited, happy or stressed, then your blood sugar will fluctuate from normal. Regular monitoring will give you the red flags so that you can balance your blood sugar by medicines, diet and exercise.
Wasim goes for a walk at night if his blood glucose levels are high after dinner. This brings down the blood sugar under control.
It is normally believed that if you are diabetic, your muscles will not get enough energy and you will feel fatigued. This is not true.
Wasim Akram is an outstanding example of this fact. He has a grueling schedule from 6.30 am to 11 pm. His job as a cricketer required strenuous physical training and practice. He has managed his energy levels by following a regular exercising routine.
Exercise brings more oxygen to your body cells, that in turn keeps you energized. Exercise also keeps your blood sugar levels under control.
It is scary to be diagnosed as a diabetic, but it is not the end of the world. Instead of feeling the blues, it is possible to lead an active and healthy life with diabetes. The key lies in managing it smartly with proper food, medicines, exercise and a ‘never say die’ attitude. Wasim Akram is a shining example of this.