Feltöltés dátuma: 2011.07.12.

Mária Szőke: The recipe for health and weight loss is physical activity

“There are far too many overweight people in America and here in Hungary,” says a young man straight into our eye, and makes no bones about it.

The Diabetes World Champion in Budapest

He’s from America, just like the fashionable expressions ‘fit’ and ‘slim.’ While the words have their Hungarian equivalents, we do not know any Hungarian bodybuilder to have become Mr. Universe. Doug Burns obtained that title, however, with endurance and consciousness.

He managed to turn his huge disadvantage into an advantage: Doug turned out to have diabetes at the age of seven. The treatment of the condition was not on the same level as it is today. Doug, therefore, used to fight diabetes and was not always about to win. At the age of eleven he weight just 30 kilos, his schoolmates used to call him names like barebones and draw apart from him because of his condition. In many cases the ambulance would take him to hospital.

One day he saw a picture of the Bible character Samson which changed his life forever. He wanted to be like Samson: strong, muscular and attractive. Despite his doctor’s protests, he took up weight-lifting and kept up strict training regimes according to a magazine. He gradually became strong and stout, and also watched his diet. By the age of 15 he had broken certain adult weight-lifting records and at 16 he won his first bodybuilding competition. His line of triumphs was crowned by his Mr. America title at the age of 37, pursued by the world champion Mr. Universe title. Since his graduation from the University of South Mississippi he has been a health advisor and the ambassador of healthy lifestyle. In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies and medical appliance manufacturers, he regularly holds forums at international diabetes and health preservation conferences as a fitness-speaker. He had also been invited to Hungary to speak about healthy weight and weight-loss at Slimexpo.

Doug stepped on the main stage of Slimexpo and to everybody’s astonishment he announced, “Losing weight is easier than you’d think.”

The weather-beaten folks of dieting stood still to learn the recipe that could be summarised in a single sentence: Let’s get ourselves in shape.

“I had claimed this even before entering any competition,” Burns says, “anyway I came last in my first fitness competition. Then I decided this wouldn’t be enough, I’m going to come first. My best achievement so far was a second position – but what kind! I was the one admitted to the well-known Hopkins Clinic with the second highest blood glucose reading. I didn’t want to come first in that field as well, therefore, I changed my life.

Many of us should make the same decision. There is a successful young man who leaves the decision on how to change to us.

“I started with lifting weights,” says Doug Burns, “but I claim and teach that all kinds of physical activity lead to the same if done regularly and that’s the secret. Everyone should take it up gradually, according to their age and strength and the goal is nothing but to have less fat in the body than muscles. This way we get into shape, good shape and regain our fitness as well. Losing weight is easier than you’d think,” he repeats, “if you set it out and plan it ahead, you’ll succeed. You must determine whether you want to lose five, ten or twenty kilos. Carve it in your brain then and keep repeating it. I have always determined phases in achieving my aims, also in bodybuilding, and knew there would be triumph at the end. It’s important to know why you want your goal and why you do what you do: to improve your blood glucose levels, to lower your blood pressure or to become physically fitter. I had to work a lot for my results as well, my set-up isn’t genetic, I trained a lot not to have problems with my weight. My muscle set-up and fitness made me win competitions and I also managed to balance my diabetes. Everyone has the chance to happiness, especially those who hold on to their goals, achieved them. Getting into better shape is a very nice feeling.”

“And what if don’t succeed?” the audience wondered.

“You won’t have to face setbacks if you don’t even try,” Burns gives an answer so characteristic of the American way of thinking. “I cooperate with professional sportspeople, such as the American participants in the Olympics to develop the best training programme,” he adds. “They weren’t certain about their success. Alike in losing weight, they also have to set high sports goals. However, they won and even beginners are to win if they are insistent enough.”

“Overweight people compete with themselves and their kilos which is quite a challenge as well, especially for people with diabetes. That’s obvious. And if your aim is set too high, you’ll easily miss it. However, determine your goal again: What do you want to achieve and until when? Make use of certain psychic tricks: Don’t conceal your plans, you should even tell your friends how much weight you’d like to lose. This way you are under obligation and you’ll want to meet the expectations.”

Doug doesn’t say we should look for the reason of giving up in ourselves only. He relates on himself and explains his motivation: He wanted to change. Certainly, he also took care of his diabetes and his diet.

“I believe I’m genuine when I speak about healthy nutrition and activity since I’m neither too thin nor too fat. Many people with diabetes and those not diabetic yet ought to lose weight. That’s what we’re talking about, that’s why we’re here today. I must emphasise the most important thing is to really mean it. I used to need all my strength as well.”

“The world and this exhibition are full of dietary supplements, foods and machines,” Doug says. “You can lose weight transitionally but you’re probable to gain your weight back again. For long-term weight-loss you need to be physically fit and have a conscious and healthy diet. I also consciously keep the diabetic diet myself which is the healthiest diet ever. You have also Hungarian diet and fitness experts. I got to know Norbi Schobert who provided me with diet food while I’m staying in Hungary. I often asked him to go on stage during my lectures.”

“My advice is no novelty, everyone knows it: Don’t eat too much, don’t eat fattening and calorie-rich foods but do train. People with diabetes should also ask their dieticians, consult their diabetologists while on a diet. In order to lose weight, you must make yourself believe that you do it for your health, yourself, your partner and family.”

Although Doug doesn’t compete in bodybuilding any more, he still trains, swims, jogs, plays football or works out in a gym a few times every week. And he also wants to be conscious of why he does so: to stay in shape and this way control his diabetes.

A Diabetes olvasóinak küldött jókívánságokat Doug Burns Mr. USA/Mr. Universe

A Diabetes olvasóinak küldött jókívánságokat Doug Burns Mr. USA/Mr. Universe

Doug Burns publicly confesses about his diabetes and fights for people with diabetes, especially kids. He appears on many public occasions and is on the board of directors for the American Diabetes Association, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Father of the Year. He gives interviews, advice and emphasises will-strength again and again, which has to be developed just as our fitness.

On a tableau he stands behind a group of children with diabetes. Well, he is a humble man. He is probably the best role model for children and adults with diabetes.

Mária Szőke Translation: Attila József

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