Paula Deen has been in the media a lot lately. She's always garnered attention for her humor and butter-dripping, guilt-inducing concoctions. I'm sorry her recent spike in the news feeds had to do with diabetes; I wouldn't wish that on anyone. But she's got it, and now she's gonna make some money off it.

She's OK with her decision to endorse diabetes medicine. She believes genetics, hormones, etc., contributed to the development of her disease more than anything, and diet and exercise just help manage it. She does not believe decades of lifestyle decisions played into her disease, nor does she see her continued marketing of high-fat, high-sugar recipes as counter to her plight.

I don't know Deen - I'm surmising a lot, I know. But I encounter these thought processes often among my clients. They live on the blurred end of the "victim" spectrum. They know they need to do certain things to make their current circumstances better - a management issue. They merely see food choice as a little trade off with a higher dose of insulin (or other medication). I've known raging diabetics to eat kids' cereals for breakfast and indulge in strawberry cheesecake for dessert that night. They hand wave past the inevitable glucose spike to follow by increasing their insulin dose - like it's magic, not potentially life threatening.

When medical professionals try to warn people like Deen - diabetes is coming if you don't change - they often don't change a thing. They feel ill-fated and are certain that acceptance is their best course of action - the peaceful route. The easy route.

I have no doubt that Deen feels unfairly ridiculed and castigated. She doesn't believe her condition was, or is, within her control. But I see a little crack in her façade. She keeps saying "moderation." You can have those deep fried, butter slathered, sugar sprinkled dishes every once in a while, which means she knows you shouldn't be having them all the time; they're a treat. But how often is too often? Once in awhile for a triathlete probably means once a year, and only three bites. Once in awhile for Bubba Jr. probably means only at breakfast. I can only guess where Deen fell on that spectrum over the years; maybe she'll ponder it too?

The bottom line is: I think we're beating up on Deen for something she's not ready to hear. The way she frames up her world doesn't align with the criticism she's receiving (and I'm dishing it out with the best of them - my pitchfork's leaning in the corner). I can only hope someone will remind her "to whom much is given, much is expected." Step up. Own it. Help others change - maybe they can avoid or correct the path to diabetes, not just manage it. And Paula, you will have helped them.

NSCA certified personal trainer Shannon Sorrels has a bachelor's degree in chemistry and an MBA. Her Ahwatukee-based company, Physix LLC, works with Valley individuals and groups to improve their overall fitness. Reach her at (480) 528-5660 or visit

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