Rufus Dorsey’s DForce for Life Diabetes Strategy

When type 2 diabetes caught actor Rufus Dorsey by surprise, he vowed to control the disease—rather than let it control him!

Linda Childers
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Rufus Dorsey, DForce, Diabetes, The L Word, Actor
Photograph by Dana Fineman

A high school athlete who excelled in football, basketball and baseball, actor Rufus Dorsey—you’ve seen him in everything from Rise of the Planet of the Apes to Showtime’s The L Word—was shocked when he left a routine physical with a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes (later discovered to be type 2 diabetes).

Just 17 years old at the time, he had attributed his symptoms—excessive thirst, a voracious appetite and fatigue—to his active lifestyle. He never realized these could be signs of diabetes.

“I started learning everything I could about the condition. I wanted to have a plan and control my diabetes rather than allow it to control me,” Rufus says.

Now an actor, producer and personal trainer in Los Angeles, Rufus, 42, has a singular mission: “I want to help others with diabetes turn their diagnosis into an opportunity to live healthy,” says Rufus. “I can honestly say I’m now in the best shape of my life.”

With an upcoming movie, Gimme Shelter, and a screenplay in the works, Rufus took a break from his schedule to share tips from the strategy he calls D-FORCE for Life: 

Face your diabetes. “When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, I thought my life was over,” Rufus admits. “After I got past the denial, I wanted to turn my diagnosis into something positive.” Rufus credits his late mother, Elsie, with giving him the support and motivation he needed to accept his condition.

Try this: Lean on others. When diabetes patients with high blood sugar levels buddied up, they were more successful at remembering to take medications, following a diet and keeping up with lifestyle changes, says a study in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Own your health. “Doctors give us information and tools to help maintain good health, but ultimately we’re responsible for managing our diabetes,” Rufus says.

Try this: Make small, healthy changes every day. Over time, they’ll add up to big improvements in your overall health. Take a 15-minute walk after lunch. Experiment with brown rice instead of refined grains. Or try paring just 5% to 10% of your total weight to help lower your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

November 2013