tom hanks: Tom Hanks on managing Type 2 diabetes – ‘I watch what I eat to a point of boredom’

Forrest Gump actor Tom Hanks has come a long way from eating unhealthy food like cheeseburgers, to ensuring he eats a healthy diet so that he can manage his diabetes. The 65-year-old actor first opened up about his Type 2 diabetes diagnosis on The Late Show with David Letterman in 2013.

According to Hanks, the doctor suggested he should get down to a similar weight as he was as a teenager to rid of the disease. Hanks replied: “Well, I’m going to have Type 2 diabetes then, because there is no way I can weigh [what I weighed] in high school.” However, with time, the star has made several life adjustments over the years.

In a 2018 podcast, the Cast Away star opened up about how he deals with the condition in his everyday routine and explained what caused it in the first place. He said: “Part of it is because of my genes and part of it is because of the horrible lifestyle that I led of eating anything. So now the first thing that I do is I try to take care of that.”

Apart from keeping a check on his diet, he ensures to get some exercise and mobility everyday. “I try to get, every single day, one hour of activity. That can be anything from a treadmill or a walk or a hike with a dog but it has to be one hour every single day.”

In a past interview with the Radio Times, Hanks admitted he had been a “total idiot” about his weight and relationship with food. “I’m part of the lazy American generation that has blindly kept dancing through the party and now finds ourselves with a malady. I was heavy. You’ve seen me in movies, you know what I looked like. I was a total idiot. I thought I could avoid it by removing the buns from my cheeseburgers.”

Now that he watches his diet, he added that sometimes he has a few slip ups. But, he makes sure to get back to workout and a disciplined diet.

“I watch what I eat to a point of boredom,” Hanks said. “Every now and again I cheat to the point of self-loathing. That’s it. So after that, have some coffee, read the paper. Get up, get the workout out of the way, take a shower.”

Tips to prevent diabetes

If you’ve received a diagnosis of prediabetes, healthy lifestyle changes may slow or stop the progression to diabetes. A healthy lifestyle includes Eating healthy foods which are lower in fat and calories and higher in fiber. It is important to get some activity everyday. Aim for 150 or more minutes a week of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity, such as a brisk walk, bicycling, running or swimming. If you have prediabetes, losing 7% to 10% of your body weight can reduce the risk of diabetes. Also, avoid inactivity for long periods. Sitting still for long periods can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. So try to get up every 30 minutes and move around for at least a few minutes.

These are the answers to few commonly asked questions about Type 2 diabetes:

  1. What is Type 2 diabetes?
    People develop Type 2 diabetes when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, the hormone which removes sugar from your blood. The condition can become dangerous as the sugar builds up and can increase blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.
  2. What are the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes?
    Feeling really tired, losing weight unintentionally, always feeling thirsty and urinating more than usual, especially at night, are some of the key symptoms associated with Type 2 diabetes.
  3. What are the risk factors?
    Factors that may increase your risk of type 2 diabetes include weight, fat distribution in body, how active you are, your age and family history of diabetes. Pregnancy-related risks and polycystic ovary syndrome may also increase diabetes risk.

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