Holistic Practitioner Spotlight with Mary Sabat, a Nutritionist, who Discusses the Role Nutrition Plays in the Management of Type 2 Diabetes
We are speaking with Mary Sabat, MS, RDN, LD, whose mission is to help people lose weight and get healthy by making lifestyle changes in diet and exercise patterns. Helping people with small adjustments to their current eating habits can lead to significant results in improving their health.
Tell Us a Story About a Client with Type 2 Diabetes and How You Helped
Type 2 diabetes is quickly becoming a health epidemic in our country. Type 2 Diabetes is a condition where the body’s ability to utilize glucose as energy has been impaired either because the cells are resistant or the pancreas is not making enough insulin. The result is high blood sugar that can affect many organs including the heart, nerves, eyes and kidneys.
Over half of all my clients who come to me, regardless of age, have either pre-diabetes or diabetes. Sometimes it gets so bad that doctors have to treat it aggressively with insulin and several medications. This not only alters one’s quality of life but can greatly shorten their life span and increase their risk for so many other diseases.
Jim works full time as an occupational therapist. He came to me in October with a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. At 60 years old he was a Type 2 Diabetic on 33 units of insulin, plus two other oral medications to reduce blood sugar -both with side-effects and interactions. At 6’2″ tall, he weighed 280 lbs. and was focusing solely on exercise to improve his health. He had a great exercise routine but like I always tell my clients – “you can’t out exercise a bad diet”. Jim had seen his wife who has MS and is wheelchair bound, do well on my program using food as her medicine and working with me to coach her through lifestyle changes. So he decided it was time for him to do the same.
What had the client tried before seeking you out?
Before starting with me, Jim had focused on exercise. Despite seeing his wife’s dietary changes, he didn’t put together the importance of making these changes in his own life until his weight and health got so bad he decided it was time to try something new. Jim loved to cook and thought he was cooking healthy stuff because he truly did use a lot of real foods in his cooking rather than processed junk. However, unknowingly, he focused on too many of the wrong foods which made his condition worse.
How did you arrive at your course of treatment?
I met with Jim and took a complete history of his health, weight and food. Once I had a good picture, we did some education explaining exactly what happens in the body at a cellular level with diabetes. He could then understand why he needed to implement the changes in his diet to get his blood sugar and weight down.
I agreed that his exercise was good and that we would put together a custom nutrition plan that he could follow easily. His plan would include recipes that were similar to how he liked to eat but with changes to incorporate lower glycemic foods – like vegetables and some healthy fats – and less of the starchy carbohydrates – like rice, pasta and breads. These changes would make it more conducive to weight loss and blood sugar control.
What modalities or therapies did you implement and what was the outcome of the services you provided?
After considering his age, activity level, likes, dislikes and any food intolerances, I came up with a lifestyle diet plan for Jim that gave him 3-4 choices for all his meals and snacks throughout the day. I then got him connected to me on a coaching APP where he logged his food and I could see his food choices daily and have communication with him to discuss his diet, blood sugar, how he was feeling etc. He continued with his same exercise routine and only changed the diet.
After 6 months of coaching Jim with him faithfully following his lifestyle diet plan, his blood sugar was consistently 100 or less for the first time in years. His blood pressure dropped to 120/90. As a result, he was able to slowly wean off insulin and get off his blood pressure medicine altogether. Additionally, Jim appreciated that he no longer suffered with his gouty arthritis pain and he lost 35 lbs. He felt like his new diet was a lifestyle that he could live with and enjoy a healthy life for years to come.
Why and When Did You Choose the Holistic Path?
Nutrition has been my passion for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a home where my Mother took very seriously the approach to using food as medicine. I attended college for an undergraduate in nutrition and continued to get my masters degree. Over the years, how I treat my clients in regards to nutrition has changed as I discovered what works and what people really need to stay compliant and make lifestyle changes.
What Lessons Have Your Work and Personal Experiences Taught You?
Growing up in a family where what you ate was considered essential to obtaining a healthy weight and body, I became passionate about nutrition. Helping people with small adjustments to their current eating habits can lead to significant results. But people need to want to make a change. That is the first thing I evaluate when they come to meet with me. Once they can recognize this and agree, it is much easier to take the path needed to meet health and weight loss goals.
Mary Sabat owns and operates, BodyDesigns Ltd., a company whose mission is to help people lose weight and get healthy by making lifestyle changes in diet and exercise patterns.
Mary attended University of Delaware where she obtained her Bachelors of Science degree in Dietetics and Nutrition and continued on to complete her Master’s of Science in Human Nutrition with an emphasis on Exercise Science, from Rutger’s University. She would later go on to become ACE certified to add necessary prescriptions of exercise for her clients.
Mary Sabat MS, RDN, LD
BodyDesigns Ltd. Co.
Milton, GA. United States
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