For more than 20 years, Kathy Smith has stood at the forefront of the fitness industry, with a collection of bestselling books and DVDs covering topics from yoga and menopause to weight lifting and Pilates. She serves on a Board of the Women’s Sports Foundation and the University of Southern California’s School of Gerontology. A member of the Video Hall of Fame, Kathy received the “Lifetime Achievement” award from IDEA, the world’s largest professional fitness organization, and gave this year’s keynote address at Can-Fit-Pro, North America’s largest health and wellness conference.

Kathy’s commonsense approach to fitness inspires millions around the world. She is recognized for her practical, down-to-earth methods that anyone, regardless of fitness level, can use everyday. She is a trusted motivator who has sold more than 16 million workout videos worldwide.

Kathy contributes to a number of health related causes on a local and national level. Her latest project is an alliance with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and leading in-home fitness marketer Beachbody in an effort to prevent and help manage type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes with the creation of a new lifestyle DVD program called Kathy Smith’s Project: YOU! Type 2.

Project: YOU! Type 2 is an all-in-one nutrition and DVD exercise program developed to help people with type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes, reduce diabetes complications and help prevent the disease. This user-friendly nutrition and in-home exercise program is appropriate for every fitness level, even beginners.

The program was developed with the support of the American Diabetes Association and a portion of the proceeds supports the Association’s mission to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of people with diabetes. Further information regarding Project: YOU! Type 2 is available through the Web site: Kathytype2.com.

TH: Kathy, it is a distinct pleasure to welcome you back to the cover of totalhealth.

KS: Thank you.

TH: Please give us an overview of your new program Kathy Smith’s Project: YOU! Type 2.

KS: For quite some time I have been concerned with the alarming growth of this insidious disease and its potential threat to both adults and children in our society. Recognizing the devastating complications of diabetes prompted me to develop Kathy Smith’s Project YOU! Type 2, a user-friendly nutrition and exercise program that combines walking, fat-burning, strength training and core flexibility workouts with an easy-to-use carbohydrate counting system for no-fuss meal planning. Online tools that track results, plus assistance and motivation from an independent personal coach are added components of the program.

TH: I understand the American Diabetes Foundation is supportive of the “project” and a portion of the proceeds is donated to their programs.

KS: Yes, I teamed up with Dr. Francine Kaufman, past president of the American Diabetes Association an international authority on diabetes, to sound the alarm against this disease. With the help of educators, physicians and the ADA I created a simple but effective program to help people manage the disease. The numbers are staggering: it’s estimated almost 24 million people are currently living with diabetes, with 57 million estimated to have pre-diabetes, a condition that puts people at increased risk for diabetes. There’s no easier-to-follow healthy eating and exercise program designed for this specific population. This program can help people lose weight, get healthy, and feel great. It’s time to prevent the growth of this epidemic and give people tools to fight back and regain control of their lives.

Studies have shown people with pre-diabetes can prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes through changes to their lifestyle that include weight loss and regular physical activity. Experts recommend people with pre-diabetes reduce their weight by five to 10 percent and participate in some type of moderate physical activity for 30 minutes daily, at least five time per week. For some people with pre-diabetes, intervening early can actually turn back the clock and return elevated blood glucose levels to the normal range. If early action is taken to manage blood glucose, the onset of type 2 diabetes can be delayed or even prevented.

The Project: YOU! Type 2 is really the perfect thing for people with type 2 diabetes. It gets people moving so they can be slowly transformed from living a sedentary existence to living a physically active life. This is a huge endeavor, but this is what needs to get done.

TH: Is there a broad spectrum of individuals who this program benefits besides diabetics?

KS: Absolutely. Pre-diabetics—anyone who is beginning to gain weight. Individuals who realize they need to lose weight; however, who have difficulty shedding weight and stabilizing their system.

Fifteen million people have pre-diabetes. That borderline group is at risk of contracting diabetes. However, with simple actions like losing 10 to 15 pounds, becoming physically active, monitoring your food intake, discovering where your carbohydrates are coming from and how you consume them throughout the day you can decrease the probability of contracting diabetes type 2.

TH: Syndrome X is a manifestation of poor diet, obesity and sedentary lifestyle. You address all of these. One of the points you stress is to share your involvement in this program with your health care provider. In my opinion that is a great step forward. It brings the health care professional from a reactive diagnostician to a proactive participant in the patient’s general well-being—unfortunately, something very much lacking in today’s 15 minute office call.

KS: Yes, however by committing to Project: YOU! Type 2 you have made a positive decision to take control of your life by following the program. As you’ll find out, you don’t have to do it alone. Talk to your doctor about this exercise and eating program before you get started. Your health care team can help you tailor this program to suit your current abilities, daily needs, and medication schedule.

TH: Where do you start?

KS: Dealing with so much new information about your life can be pretty overwhelming. But don’t worry. This comprehensive program will be your adventure to good health. The planning is done for you. Before long, you’ll have all the tools and knowledge you need. With the Good2Eat! Cookbook, you will become what I call an “independent healthy eater,” so you can leave that “diet” mentality behind, and enjoy food for life.

That brings us to the next topic, and one of my favorites—exercise. Are you wincing already? But the simple truth is exercise works, and it can change your life. You may be asking, “How can I exercise when I’m always tired or haven’t done any exercise in a long time? Can exercise really help?” You bet it can. Working out has a positive effect on both physical and mental well-being. The Good2Move! Workout Guide is an exercise plan that makes exercise doable and fun, and it’s appropriate for people of all fitness levels.

My mission in life is to inspire the best in all people. Project: YOU! Type 2 isn’t just about controlling your glucose levels; it’s about taking control of your life. With obesity and diabetes skyrocketing, it’s time to turn the tide. We don’t need a quick fix. We need a revolution. And it all starts with YOU.

This program is dedicated to the most important element of a healthy, active, and fulfilling life: YOU.

TH: You mention the Good2Eat! Cookbook and Good2Move! Workout Guide, which are both part of your comprehensive program. What other tools are included?

KS: Good2Move! 12-Week Workout Guide is a guide to get moving. It gives you an in-depth explanation of each of the 10 workouts and how they fit together, plus innovative Fit Tips to help you get the most out of your workout.

Good2Move! Workout Wallet, with DVDs and CD are eight workouts plus two audio walking programs to provide a balanced progression incorporating the most effective fat-burning, strength-training, and core/flexibility moves.

Good2Move! Program Guide and 12-week Food & Fitness Journal is a motivational guidebook that takes the fear and confusion out of diabetes by explaining it in non-medical terms. From beginning to end, it takes the guesswork out of how to live a healthy lifestyle.

Good2Move! 12-week Workout Calendar explains step-by-step which workouts to do, and which days to rest. It provides a daily checklist, plus it links you to Kathy’s Corner, where you will find all the support you need to reach your goals.

Good2Eat! Cookbook helps you take charge of weight control and blood glucose management, and helps you get to know the many healthy food choices you have with mouth watering real food. Learn when to eat as well as what to eat.

Good2Eat! Mix-and-Match Meal Cards is a set of color-coded cards with delicious meals and simple snacks that you can shuffle and mix and match to create a meal plan to satisfy the tastes and nutritional needs of a person with type 2 diabetes.

TH: Kathy, thank you for creating a program which works for everyone who can be categorized as pre-diabetic, afflicted by diabetes type 2 or simply want to establish and maintain optimum health. And importantly the suggestion we dialogue with our physicians regarding establishing good health and hopefully avoiding the potential consequences of poor diet, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle

KS: You’re welcome. I look forward to my next visit with your readers.