So what is Prediabetes?
That may be a burning question on your mind if you have been recently diagnosed with prediabetes, or if you have known about your prediabetes for a while now. Even if you have not been told that you have prediabetes, you could be worried about it, since 90% of the people with prediabetes are unaware that they have it. You are at higher risk if you are over 45 years old, do not get much exercise or have a family history of diabetes,
Prediabetes is a condition where your blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough for you to be considered diabetic. What’s more is that you are at risk if you are overweight, have high “bad” LDL cholesterol or high triglycerides, or low “good” HDL cholesterol. What these have in common is that you can improve them with diet.
Getting diagnosed with prediabetes is a serious wake-up call, but it doesn’t have to mean you will definitely get diabetes. There is still time to turn things around.
Most people with prediabetes eventually get diabetes, but here’s a secret: it doesn’t always have to happen. You can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes in large part by following a healthy diet for prediabetes. Awareness of prediabetes could be the best thing that ever happened to you. It gives you the chance to find a prediabetic diet that works for your health and for your lifestyle. Once you decide to make those healthy changes, you are more likely to succeed with a support system that works for you.
1. Move More
Becoming more active is one of the best things you can do to make diabetes less likely. If it’s been a while since you exercised, start by building more activity into your routine by taking the stairs or doing some stretching during TV commercials. Physical activity is an essential part of the treatment plan for prediabetes, because it lowers blood glucose levels and decreases body fat. Ideally, you should exercise at least 20 minutes a day, five days a week. Let your doctor know about your exercise plans and ask if you have any limitations.
2. Lower Your Weight
If you’re overweight, you might not have to lose as much as you think to make a difference. In one study, people who had prediabetes and lost 5% to 7% of their body weight cut their chances of getting diabetes by 58%.
3. See Your Doctor More Often
See your doctor every three to six months. If you’re doing well, you can get positive reinforcement from your doctor. If it’s not going so well, your doctor can help you get back on track. Patients like some tangible evidence of success or failure.
4. Eat Better
- Load up on vegetables, especially the less-starchy kinds such as spinach and other leafy greens, broccoli, carrots, and green beans. Aim for at least three servings a day.
- Add more high-fiber foods into your day.
- Enjoy fruits in moderation – 1 to 3 servings per day.
- Choose whole-grain foods instead of processed grains — for example, brown rice instead of white rice.
Also, swap out high-calorie foods. “Drink skim milk rather than whole milk, diet soda rather than regular soda. Choose lower-fat versions of cheese, yogurt, and salad dressings. Instead of snacking on high-fat, high-calorie chips and desserts, choose fresh fruit, or whole wheat crackers with peanut butter or low-fat cheese.
5. Make Sleep a Priority
Not getting enough sleep regularly makes losing weight harder, says Theresa Garnero, author of Your First Year With Diabetes.
A sleep shortfall also makes it harder for your body to use insulin effectively and may make type 2 diabetes more likely.
Set good sleep habits. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Relax before you turn out the lights. Don’t watch TV or use your computer or smartphone when you’re trying to fall asleep. Avoid caffeine after lunch if you have trouble sleeping.
6. Get Support.
Losing weight, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly is easier if you have people helping you out, holding you accountable, and cheering you on, says Ronald T. Ackermann, MD, MPH, an associate professor of medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine.
Consider joining a group where you can pursue a healthier lifestyle in the company of others with similar goals or contact a Health Coach to support you along the way to learn about what you need to do to prevent your prediabetes from becoming diabetes.
7. Choose and Commit
Having the right mind-set can help.
Accept that you won’t do things perfectly every day, but pledge to do your best most of the time. “Make a conscious choice to be consistent with everyday activities that are in the best interest of your health. Tell yourself, ‘I’m going to give it my best. I’m going to make small changes over time.’”
Those changes will add up and improve your health and life.