One in three American adults has prediabetes, or elevated blood sugar above normal but below a diabetes diagnosis. That’s a staggering 86 million of us. And prediabetes comes with serious health risks, most especially developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
There is good news, though. Unlike diabetes – which can only be managed, not cured –prediabetes can be completed reversed with lifestyle changes that help you lose weight.
Here are five steps you can take immediately to beat this condition before it causes serious health problems:
- Get tested. Nine out of 10 Americans with prediabetes don’t know they have it. And certain risk factors – being overweight, being 45 or older or having a sibling or parent with type 2 diabetes – put you at higher risk of having prediabetes. Have your blood sugar tested so you know your health risks.
- Get moving. Staying active is critical to beating prediabetes. Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity five times a week. You don’t have to run a marathon for it to count; walking is great, too. And you don’t have to log your activity time all at once. Three 10-minute sessions each day are just as beneficial as one long session.
- Track what you eat. It’s hard to change eating habits if you don’t know what you’re putting in your mouth. Keeping a daily log of what you eat, how much and when will help you identify where you need to make improvements. Apps like MyFitnessPal and MyNetDiary make it easy to record your food on the go.
- Choose healthier foods. Cut back on sugar-sweetened drinks;, choose lean proteins like chicken, turkey or fish; and use spices instead of fats and oils to add flavor to your foods. Plan meals with the goal of having more fresh vegetables on your plate than starches or fatty meats, and make a shopping list before you go to the grocery store to avoid impulse purchases. And when you are out to eat, ask how foods are prepared and seek out grilled or broiled options instead of fried.
- Don’t let stress derail you. Stress is a major cause of abandoning weight-loss plans. So take time before stress hits to determine how you will handle it. Come up with plans to deal with stressful moments, whether that means doing a simple series of yoga moves, taking a short walk or prepping and cooking your week’s meals the weekend ahead because of a hectic upcoming schedule.
Eating healthy, being active and losing weight can be a challenge, but you don’t need to do them all at once. Even small, incremental changes can mean significant improvements in your health. Start small, and stay commited.
Diabetes care services are offered through LifeFit Wellness Services. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call (843) 522-5635.